Economics, Taxes and Spending

Herman Cain defends his 9-9-9 plan

Herman Cain showed up today at AEI to chat with tax guru Kevin Hassett, answer a few questions from me, and then take a few queries from the audience. I’m not sure I learned a whole lot more about the 9-9-9 plan from the candidate himself, though he did say he would soon be announcing detailed energy and Social Security reform plans.

But Cain did make it clear, I think, that he would not be fundamentally altering the plan to deal with criticisms leveled against it. For instance, don’t look for Cain to swap the 9 percent sales tax for a 9 percent payroll tax as some have recommended.

I was more interested by what I learned about Cain economic adviser Rich Lowrie. He is a true-blue believer in supply-side economics, Reaganomics, Jack Kemp, Jude Wanniski, the Laffer Curve — the whole shebang. Great stuff. And perhaps that is why skepticism about 9-9-9 from many conservatives hasn’t hurt Cain’s popularity. Whatever the details of that plan, they like Cain’s instincts and boldness. Indeed, he and Lowrie have put supply-side tax reform back on the national agenda. Flat tax fair tax, consumption tax — it is a great conversation to have.



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