With Herman Cain rising in the polls, more attention is being given to his 9-9-9 tax plan. He would scrap our current tax code (save specific excise taxes such as gasoline) and replace it with a 9% income tax, 9% business transactions tax, and a 9% sales tax. It resonates with the Republican voter because of a few reasons:
1. The tax code is confusing as hell. Scrapping it and replacing it with a much simpler one makes sense.
2. 9 is a low number.
Even as articles are starting to pop up showing that this plan would bring in less than what we currently do (as opposed to revenue neutral like Cain claims), I think people are largely ignoring the most significant part: the sales tax. This would be 9% added on top of what you already pay in state and local sales taxes. When I was working retail in Chicago I would hear complaints from tourists about the 9.75% sales tax in the city. Imagine if that went up to 18.75%. There are some states that charge no sales tax on items such as food and clothing. Now it would cost everyone an additional 9%.
Paying 9% more for every transaction because of Herman Cain is not going sit well with voters. Even if the plan lowers their income tax rate, the negative emotion that will come with knowing every single purchase costs more because of Cain’s plan will outweigh the positive. Once 9-9-9 has a chance to be closely examined and explained, I think public opinion of it will take a sharp dive.