Should conservatives back the 9-9-9 plan?

posted at 8:45 am on October 13, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Herman Cain got what he wanted from this week’s debate — he drew attention to his 9-9-9 plan for tax reform, and he proved that he could handle attacks from the field and maintain his aggressiveness.  But now that Cain has drawn attention to the plan he says will jump start the economy, he will find more questions and challenges as well as supporters.  In the latter camp, Art Laffer has given his supply-side stamp of approval:

Famed supply-side economist Art Laffer told HUMAN EVENTS that Cain’s “9-9-9″ plan was a pro-growth plan that would create the proper conditions for America’s economy to grow and thrive again.

“Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan would be a vast improvement over the current tax system and a boon to the U.S. economy,” Laffer told HUMAN EVENTS in a statement. “The goal of supply-side tax reform is always a broadening of the tax base and lowering of marginal tax rates.”

Added Laffer: “Mr. Cain’s plan is simple, transparent, neutral with respect to capital and labor, and savings and consumption, and also greatly decreases the hidden costs of tax compliance. There is no doubt that economic growth would surge upon implementation of 9-9-9.”

Laffer also said that “such a system provides the least avenues to avoid paying taxes, yet also maintains the strongest incentives for work effort, production, and investment.”

On the other hand, ABC News walked through the implications for a household of four earning the average national wage of “just under $50,000,” and finds that these middle-class voters will get squeezed, and squeezed hard.  That’s largely due to the third “nine,” the new federal sales tax that Cain’s proposal would create in tandem with flat taxes on personal and corporate income (also see update below):

If you have a family of four with an income of just under $50,000, they would pay more under the Cain plan. Currently, they are taxed at just less than 7 percent and pay $3,400 in income tax. Under Cain’s plan, they would be taxed at 9 percent or pay $4,500.

That’s $1,100 more.

Although the family would save almost $4,000 in Social Security taxes, it would have to give up the child tax credit of $4,000. Furthermore, it would pay an additional national sales tax of 9 percent on everything purchased, including groceries and clothes, which totals about $2,000.

That means under the Cain plan that family would be almost doubling its taxes, going from $3,400 to $6,500.

Most of the damage in this case comes not from the flattening of the tax code and the elimination of deductions — which would be almost entirely offset by the elimination of other tax streams, as Cain promises — but from the national sales tax.  In my column for The Fiscal Times today, I question whether conservatives want to champion a new tax that almost by definition will have a regressive impact on voters — and could open a constitutional Pandora’s Box that will undermine arguments against creeping federal encroachment.  But first, let’s be clear as to what exactly 9-9-9 is — and isn’t:

It is not a comprehensive economic plan. It’s actually not even a budget plan. That’s why Cain’s challenge to Romney in the debate was somewhat unfair; Romney’s 160-page proposal is a broad economic plan with specifics on deficit reduction and entitlement reform, trade and energy policy. 9-9-9 is more properly categorized as tax reform.

9-9-9 is also transitional tax reform, not the end goal. On Cain’s website, he describes 9-9-9 as merely Phase 1 of tax reform. The final stage of Cain’s tax vision is the Fair Tax proposal pushed by Mike Huckabee in the 2008 election cycle, which is a consumption tax modeled on the European value-added tax (VAT). Cain developed the 9-9-9 plan to “unite the ‘Flat Taxers’ with the ‘Fair Taxers.’”

That’s a laudable goal, but instead of uniting the two camps by using a flat tax as an intermediate step, Cain adds the federal sales tax while the income taxes are still in place.  That creates a new federal income stream rather than replacing the existing income-tax stream.  We’d have to hope that Congress could repeal the 16th Amendment shortly after implementing 9-9-9, but that’s a time-consuming process.  Cain is going to have a hard time finding two-thirds of the politicians in Congress willing to give up their ability to use the income tax as a spoils system, either now or in the future.  In the meantime, the federal government will be inserting itself into every retail transaction in the country.

And just how do conservatives feel about that?

Finally, without a specific constitutional amendment authorizing it, a federal sales tax on general purchases would get challenged by small-government federalists on principle. Unless the sale crosses state lines, it is difficult to see federal jurisdiction at the cash register for most transactions. Accepting that Congress can impose a sales tax on transactions at the local grocery store without a Constitutional amendment granting such authority would require conservatives to embrace a Wickard v Filburn philosophy of interstate commerce. Since a rejection of that philosophy is at the heart of conservative opposition to ObamaCare and its mandate, don’t expect conservatives to leap for joy at the thought of a new definition of interstate commerce that fits the final “nine” in Cain’s plan.

The federal sales tax, at least without a Constitutional amendment, makes the limitation of federal authority to interstate commerce absolutely dead.  If they have tax jurisdiction on any retail sales transaction in America, then Congress has the explicit power to regulate all commerce, not just the encroachments we’ve seen through Wickard.

Cain’s a smart man who knows how to adapt when a business plan doesn’t work out.  I’d prefer to see his 9-9-9 plan modified to a 15-15 plan, or a plan to just transfer to a constitutionally-based (and constitutionally-limited) Fair Tax without the intermediate steps at all, rather than a hybrid that ends up with Americans paying taxes in two streams, and Congress still able to manipulate both for their own political purposes.  Cain has proven that he thinks out of the box, and he’s absolutely right that we can’t pivot to long-term growth and economic stability by tweaking the systems we currently have — but a new federal sales tax on top of an income tax would be a Pandora’s Box conservatives should not want to see opened.

Update: HA reader Bill C says ABC’s computation is in error:

The first step is fine … $3400 vs $4500.  However, the $4000 from Soc Sec. taxes is direct return, but the $4000 tax credit is an adjustment to the amount to be taxed, to the amount they pay MORE would be 9% of that or $360.  $4500 – $4000 + $360 = $860.  If you then add the $2000, you end up with $3400 vs $2860.

So it is not almost doubling the tax, but reducing it by a little more than $500.

I’ll drop ABC a note to ask them to review this, but I believe Bill is correct.

Update II: However, the Tax Policy Center says the Cain calculation is also overstating current tax liability for a family of four at $50,000 (via Jen Rubin):

In fact, a family making $50,000 a year with two children would only pay about $776 in income taxes when standard deductions are factored in, based on 2010 Internal Revenue Service levels. (In fact, not factoring in deductions, a married couple filing jointly making $50,000 a year would pay $6,666 in income tax, not $10,000. But what’s important for tax purposes is “taxable” income.)

Here’s the math:

- Gross Income: $50,000
- Subtract the 2010 standard deduction: $11,400 (2011 is $11,600)
- Subtract the personal exemption (essentially the number of people in the house): $14,600 ($3,650 x 4)
- That brings us to a taxable income of $24,000
- The tax on a married couple filing jointly at $24,000: $2,766
- Then, deduct an additional $2,000 ($1,000 child tax credit x 2)

That comes out to just $766. And that doesn’t include other potential exemptions, like educator credits, moving costs, student-loan interest, health-savings accounts, etc.

ABC also got the child tax credits wrong; it’s correct in this analysis.

Update III: More analysis from reader David P, using three scenarios for baseline assumptions:

Summarizing the end results (the math is later), there are 3 scenarios about what would happen to this family under the 999 compared to 2010 rates (which is what everyone has used in their calcs): 1. the family is self-employed, 2. the employer gives the SS tax to the employee, and 3. the employer keeps the SS tax.

1.  A self-employed family paid $8400 in federal taxes in 2010 and had $41600 left, compared to $6500 under 999 with $43500.  That’s $2000 less in taxes and $2000 more in their pockets.

2. The family paid $4575 in total federal taxes in 2010 and had $45425 left, compared to paying $6850 under 999 with $46975 left.  That’s $2000 more in taxes, BUT its $1500 more in their pockets.

3. The family paid $4575 in total federal taxes in 2010 and had $45425 left, compared to paying $6500 under 999 with $43500 left.  That’s $2000 more in taxes, and $2000 less in their pockets.

Under the current 999 plan, only scenario 3 is worse for the family.  999 isn’t perfect, but it won’t take too much tweaking to get it nice.  For example, the new code says all taxes that were paid by the employer are now given to the employee, forcing scenario 2 and eliminating scenario 3, with no net negative effect on the employer. …

Here’s the math, roughly typed.

Family of 4 @ $50k gets 2 deds @ 5700 and 4@3650, giving a taxable income of 24000, and they pay an SS/Medi rate of 7.65%
Their taxes are then 16750*10% + 7250*15% = about 2750, and SS/Medi is $50k*7.65% = 3825
Their total federal tax is 2750 income + 3825 SS – 2000 child = 4575

If they are self-employed, their SS/Medi rate is 15.3% (7.65*2)
Their taxes are then 2750 income + 7650 SS – 2000 child = 8400

Under 999, they pay $50000*9% plus roughly 2000 in sales tax, for $6500 in total federal tax.

If the employer gives them the 3825 that the employer no longer pays to the Fed, then their new income is 53825, and they pay 4850 in income and 6850 total.  This isn’t much more than they paid if the employer kept it, but its significantly more in their pocket.

This does make Cain’s “simplicity” argument more supportable, considering all of the gyrations it takes now to get to the math.  My objection is less about this and more about adding a federal sales tax while still taxing income, though.

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Comment pages: 1 3 4 5

greeneyedconservative on October 13, 2011 at 5:18 PM

That is exactly what 9-9-9 is. No deductions, and a consumption tax. There is no guaranty ever that the rate is permanent.

jdkchem on October 13, 2011 at 5:45 PM

Ah, but so far in this post alone I’ve read several different interpretations of what 999 really is. Which is it… really? If the brainiacs on HA are in disagreement and arguing over its full intentions, how do you think the general populace are going to take to it?

greeneyedconservative on October 13, 2011 at 9:52 PM

No, Jason, I’m not confused… I was just free-balling and in a hurry, trying to share many random thoughts in a minute. Sorry if I offended you.

greeneyedconservative on October 13, 2011 at 9:50 PM

You didn’t offend me at all, in your free-balling you cross referenced fed and state/local taxes.

Hence I asked if you would like to revise.

Jason Coleman on October 13, 2011 at 9:52 PM

greeneyedconservative on October 13, 2011 at 9:52 PM

http://www.hermancain.com/999plan

Probably better to start at the source, rather than rely on intra-partisan statements, mine included.

Fairtax dot org is also a good resource for Phase 2.

Jason Coleman on October 13, 2011 at 9:57 PM

I am unable to find any reference to the “prebate” you mention on the Herman Cain 999 web page. Can you please tell me where that comes from?

HTL on October 13, 2011 at 9:34 PM

Fairtax.org can answer questions on the prebate options.

Jason Coleman on October 13, 2011 at 9:59 PM

I’ve read enough comments to see that this 999 is a very complicated idea. I thot it was to be simple. The National Sales Tax is going to increase taxes since it’s on spending. I can’t imagine paying that kind of tax on food and other living necessities. Those on Fixed Incomes and the working poor will suffer the most. State sales tax Plus 9%? WOW, that is a deal breaker right there without all of the other.

I don’t know who put this idea together, but they need to rethink it and make some revisions in my opinion.

bluefox on October 13, 2011 at 8:56 PM

It is simple. VERY simple. Compare it to the 17000 pages of current tax code and that will become clear.

Cain’s plan probably won’t actually increase the taxes you pay, BUT, it will allow you to see almost every dollar you spend in taxes so it will feel like you are paying more when you actually won’t.

Here’s a simple fact for you. I used to own a brewery. It cost me .17 to .22 cents to brew a pint, I paid over .40 cents in taxes on that same pint. When I put it in a bottle, it cost me an extra 20 to 23 cents per bottle, and an additional 27 cents in taxes. When I shipped that pint to the liquor store a block away it cost me another 10 cents on that pint.

That is JUST the federal taxes on that pint. The state and in some cases the locality jumped in too.

You already pay taxes on food and drink, you just don’t know it.

A FairTAX (Phase 2) of Cain’s plan cuts those taxes I listed by 90% and under that scenario, I would pass those savings along by being able to cut the price of that pint by at least 50 percent. That’s why a FairTAX, and Cain’s 999 plan which brings us to a FairTAX is such a fave of manufacturers.

Our companies have also built and operated TFE (Tetrafluoroethylene) plants both here and abroad. Our plant in India makes money hand over fist, our plant here is used for testing and development (we CANNOT make that plant profitable because of double/triple/quadruple taxation.) A FairTAX would allow us to make money on that plant and we could more than triple the amount of workers at that plant if we weren’t taxed and taxed again at every stage.

Each of those businesses wastes over 50K a year just in tax prep!!!

A FairTAX or even the 999 could probably allow us to bring tax prep in house with the accounting staffe we already have/had.

AS for Seniors and those on Fixed incomes, the FairTAX and the 999 plan would be a great bonus to them. Here’s a whitepaper on it, it’s easy to read and may open your eyes to how simple it actually is.

http://www.fairtax.org/PDF/The_FairTax_benefits_seniors_11-7-06.pdf

/b

Jason Coleman on October 13, 2011 at 10:03 PM

Jason Coleman on October 13, 2011 at 9:57 PM

Meh… it doesn’t really matter. I can’t stand Cain and I don’t trust him and I certainly won’t vote for him, so his 999 to me is pretty much meaningless at this point. If he gets elected (right…) and 999 becomes a remote possibility, I’ll look into it then. But thanks anyway for the link and the info.

greeneyedconservative on October 13, 2011 at 11:41 PM

Which is it… really?

Herman is planning on the full 15% of FICA going to the employee for one thing. He’s also made clear the Fed Sales Tax will only be on new goods. If you buy a used car for example there will be no Fed tax levied so that family of 4 grossing $50K their sales tax burden is overstated in most analysis.

Herman has said he’ll be publishing the details soon due to all the ridiculous scenarios people are throwing around. We’ll just have to wait for the details. I doubt a guy with a math degree, who’s been a corporate CEO and Fed Reserve Chairman is going to put out a phony POS analysis like we usually get from candidates.

rcl on October 13, 2011 at 11:58 PM

greeneyedconservative on October 13, 2011 at 11:41 PM

Well, I appreciate your honesty in stating that your issues are personal rather than engaging in some misrepresentation or other false argumentation.

Wish more people would do the same, sure would save everyone a lot of time and headaches.

Salut!

Jason Coleman on October 14, 2011 at 12:07 AM

Seems to me some here talk 999 out of one side of the mouth and fair tax on the other when it benefits. I’d much prefer a fair tax to 999 and to say that 999 is phase 1 to fair tax (phase 2) is a stretch. Hey if you want a fair tax, let’s find a candidate who will support a fair tax right out of the box. And failing that, let’s lobby for the fair tax with tea party conservatives in Congress. Cain’s 999 is not the fair tax plan and has no guarantees of turning into a fair tax plan.

Christian Conservative on October 14, 2011 at 12:30 AM

Christian Conservative on October 14, 2011 at 12:30 AM

I think the logical reason for Phase 1 and Phase 2 is in order to GET to a FairTAX.

Just setting a day for the switch would be a nightmare, as while individuals normally all settle up on April 15, fiscal years for institutions and businesses are all over the calendar.

You’ve also got to take care of the transition for products and services that were bid contracts, works in progress, goods being shipped and inventories calculated.

There has to be a route from A to B, you can’t just teleport from one to the other or it would bankrupt businesses holding inventory, and create accounting nightmares for the business having to pay part of a year on one system and part on another. The developer building a building would suddenly have all of his costs and contracts invalidated and on-going service contracts would skew unfavorably to one side or the other.

Phase one starts the process and allows for transition and planning for the big switch to a FairTAX (Phase 2).

Jason Coleman on October 14, 2011 at 12:58 AM

I’m really looking forward to Phase 3… wow, getting to pay a 30% sales tax everytime I go to buy something has me so excited! Especially because it’ll be on top of my nearly 10% state sales tax. Woohoo!

///

-Aslan’s Girl

Aslans Girl on October 14, 2011 at 8:31 AM

I’m really looking forward to Phase 3… wow, getting to pay a 30% sales tax everytime I go to buy something has me so excited! Especially because it’ll be on top of my nearly 10% state sales tax. Woohoo!

///

-Aslan’s Girl

Aslans Girl on October 14, 2011 at 8:31 AM

You are ALREADY paying that 30% now!! It’s embedded and just because you don’t see it on your receipt doesn’t mean you aren’t paying it. Corporations don’t pay taxes. The consumer does. When the embedded taxes are removed the prices will drop.

Socmodfiscon on October 14, 2011 at 9:17 AM

I’m really looking forward to Phase 3… wow, getting to pay a 30% sales tax everytime I go to buy something has me so excited! Especially because it’ll be on top of my nearly 10% state sales tax. Woohoo!

-Aslan’s Girl

You are ALREADY paying that 30% now!! It’s embedded and just because you don’t see it on your receipt doesn’t mean you aren’t paying it. Corporations don’t pay taxes. The consumer does. When the embedded taxes are removed the prices will drop.

Socmodfiscon on October 14, 2011 at 9:17 AM

Your comment is based on the incorrect assumption that consumer prices are based on producer’s underlying costs. That’s not how it works- prices are determined by the supply – demand curve. Except for a few highly competitive categories, the goal of manufacturers is to maximize profits. If a company can increase its profit margins and retain market share, it will do just that.

If you claim that moving taxes from companies to individuals will result in lower price adjustments to offset those taxes, I’d like to see hard data to back that up.

bayam on October 14, 2011 at 9:46 AM

If you claim that moving taxes from companies to individuals will result in lower price adjustments to offset those taxes, I’d like to see hard data to back that up.

bayam on October 14, 2011 at 9:46 AM

You realize that corporations actually pay zero taxes right? Yes, they collect and remit them, but the ONLY thing that can actually be taxed is the productivity of a human.

Every red cent of a corporation’s income (and the taxes they pay from that income) comes from payments that originate from a human.

Let’s look at beer: My brewery makes a pint of beer, now I’m required to remit more taxes than it actually cost to make the beer to the federal government. I can’t do that unless I sell the beer to someone else. Now my beer might travel through three to ten different hands before it winds up at the end consumer, but when it does, the end consumer pays ever red cent of A) the cost of the beer to make and transport and handle, and B) the cost of all the taxes along the way.

The consumer doesn’t see all of the taxes that were paid along the way for that beer to reach him, he might only see the last sales tax, but he has still paid all of the taxes that went into that beer.

All corporations and small businesses do is collect, organize and remit taxes, the corporation in and of itself doesn’t just generate money out of thin air, it’s and organized collection of labor that produces a good or service and it requires someone else to buy it’s product and pay the taxes embedded within before it can “pay/remit” taxes.

Take all those embedded taxes out and put them into a FairTAX and the cost of the beer to the consumer will actually be about the same or less (because of efficiency) but most importantly, the consumer can actually and easily

see

the amount of tax that is associated with the product.

A flat tax is similar, but instead of seeing the tax with every associated purchase, you know that everyone is paying the same rate on/for labor.

In my opinion the advantage of a FairTAX (over a Flat) is that it rises as you “use” the economy, if you’re a hermit who only goes out to work and then come home and grow your own food and make your own products, you pay less than the person who is out there running the roads, consuming more products and utilizing more services. A FairTAX allows you control of how much you pay in taxes based on your activities, where a FlatTAX is levied strictly on your labor regardless of how much you consume from the economy.

Jason Coleman on October 14, 2011 at 11:12 AM

If you claim that moving taxes from companies to individuals will result in lower price adjustments to offset those taxes, I’d like to see hard data to back that up.

bayam on October 14, 2011 at 9:46 AM

Firstly, competition takes care of that, if, upon implementation of a FairTAX, a company does not lower it’s prices once it is no longer embedding, collecting and remitting taxes, someone else will come along as a competitor and undercut them.

Second, the goal at implementation is not to result in a lower tax burden but rather be revenue neutral and increases in future tax collection would have to be the result of the speed and volume of the the economy writ large.

Third, there will be an efficiency effect that may force prices down slightly from the the pre-implementation levels for a short period of time that will eventually be eaten away by inflation, but for a short time there will be an efficiency to be had as companies can rid themselves of tax compliance costs.

Countries that shifted to a Flat Tax saw this efficiency materialize in the short term as compliance burdens were lifted, but again, over time inflation eventually renders that efficiency moot in terms of actual dollars paid.

There are plenty of whitepapers at FairTAX.org with data and more detailed explanations of these effects.

Jason Coleman on October 14, 2011 at 11:19 AM

Jason Coleman on October 13, 2011 at 8:48 PM

As I said, Jason I wasn’t proposing an actual plan but just illustrating a principle, a way to get where we need to go in steps that do not disrupt the economy more than necessary, and provide the opportunity to change course or make adjustments as needed.

Businesses and people make economic plans the project years into the future. As I also said before, one of the main reasons the economy isn’t improving is that businesses and investors can’t predict what their costs and taxes will be as the Obama administration keeps threatening to increase taxes, punish investors, and choke the economy with regulations that spike energy and compliance costs. But changing everything instanter disrupts all those plans too. It is no different for a business that has to project their tax planning years into the future in consideration of the gradual depreciation of assets or for people who planned for decades to rely on Medicare and Social Security in their retirement.

When I first studied the tax code and regulations many years ago the code and regs constituted 4 huge books. Today it is much worse. I agree completely with you that massive simplification and overhaul of the tax code is necessary, I just disagree on how we get there. I believe that there is less disruption and more certainty if the ends are clearly laid out but the transition is taken in steps.

It has been a very interesting discussion.

Regards,

novaculus

novaculus on October 14, 2011 at 11:50 AM

Businesses and people make economic plans the project years into the future. As I also said before, one of the main reasons the economy isn’t improving is that businesses and investors can’t predict what their costs and taxes will be as the Obama administration keeps threatening to increase taxes, punish investors, and choke the economy with regulations that spike energy and compliance costs. But changing everything instanter disrupts all those plans too.

And that’s exactly why Cain’s plan is a phased plan, one that can be passed with a route to get from A to B.

Taking a little measure here, then a little measure there, correcting for the political whims of the group in office every two years is on one hand exactly what you are suggesting, and on the other hand is exactly what you are suggesting is what prevents business from expanding and running full tilt.

You’re trying to have your cake and eat it too.

What is needed is a plan that shows what everything will be along the route from A to B, THEN business can plan. They can’t plan if government is making a change, then sticking their finger up in the air and then making another change THAT SUITS THEM NOW.

Businesses will deal with whatever is thrown at them because they have no choice. We need a PLAN that goes out into the long term and moves us from A to B, then businesses can plan out for 5 or 10 years and have some confidence that what they plan today they will be able to accomplish tomorrow.

Gradual change is just the status quo, we’ve been gradually changing the system for decades, tweak here for this group, tweak here for that group, a little give over here a little take over there.

That has to stop. There needs to be a plan that is for everyone and which won’t be “adjusted” down the road for any special interest that comes along.

That’s what Cain is offering, if you don’t like the particulars, so be it, but advocating a gradual change to “something to be defined later” is just more of the status quo. We need a plan with a goal, and only Cain is offering that at this point. Maybe today we’ll have a plan from Perry that will can compete, but right now, Cain’s is the only actual plan on the table.

Cain’s not suggesting an ‘instant’ change and it’s false for you to suggest that he is, he’s offering exactly the kind of phased in over time change that you say you advocate.

Jason Coleman on October 14, 2011 at 12:15 PM

Cain’s not suggesting an ‘instant’ change and it’s false for you to suggest that he is, he’s offering exactly the kind of phased in over time change that you say you advocate.

Jason Coleman on October 14, 2011 at 12:15 PM

Enough Jason. I am sick and tired of you continually accusing people of making false statements. Some are making statements that are more or less accurate, but the inference is that people who disagree with you are liars. In this case I never even made the statement you claim to be false. I have never said Cain wasn’t phasing in his plan. I am saying his INITIAL change is too drastic.

You need to calm down a little and get over yourself a lot. You don’t know everything, and the huge number of variables that affect our economy and its relationship to the tax code make it impossible to predict with certainty the consequences of Cain’s plan, particularly in the near term. Your absolute confidence that you can do so is unfounded. Hayek made this point quite well, while arguing against centralized control of economic systems. While his principles should lead us in the same direction as Cain’s simplification plan, his warnings about unintended consequences when dealing with an equation that involves so many variable seem to escape you, and many others commenting here.

novaculus on October 14, 2011 at 12:44 PM

Enough Jason. I am sick and tired of you continually accusing people of making false statements. Some are making statements that are more or less accurate, but the inference is that people who disagree with you are liars.

A false argument and a false statement and a lie are different things.

I don’t care if it offends you. A false argument is a false argument; a false argument is one that doesn’t argue the point but rather makes a claim not supported by the presented evidence. Here’s a list of false arguments for you.

Now a false statement can be called a lie or it could be simply incorrect.

I think if you look at my posts, you’ll see where I definitely differentiate the two. I think further, you’ll see where I have been proven to be incorrect myself and I happily apologize for my error.

If someone makes a statement, they should be able to logically back it up. If they use misrepresentation (intentional or not), if they use ad hominem, if they use appeals to authority or appeals to emotion, those are examples of false arguments. Calling them out isn’t calling them a liar, it’s pointing out the FLAWS in their logic or instances where their claims do not flow from their supporting propositions.

If you have a problem with a statement or argument I make, fine, refute the statement logically, if you feel offended by my statement or argument and can’t refute it logically, then perhaps you need to re-assess how you arrived at your position.

If you have a problem with an opinion I offer, refute the opinion with arguments that show the opinion to be flawed. I’m not going to change an opinion I’ve arrived at through examination just because it offends you, show me your counter-argument and make a truthful and logical case against it. If you win the day with truthful and valid argument, I’ll gladly change my opinion based on the truth and validity of the statements and arguments presented me.

You did indeed advocate something and then backtrack’d and demanded something else. Further, you criticized exactly what you advocated for. If you don’t think you did, show me where I was wrong or interpreted you falsely. Don’t whine about it.

You need to calm down a little and get over yourself a lot. You don’t know everything, and the huge number of variables that affect our economy and its relationship to the tax code make it impossible to predict with certainty the consequences of Cain’s plan, particularly in the near term. Your absolute confidence that you can do so is unfounded.

I don’t claim to know everything, I don’t claim that Cain’s plan is 100% perfect, nor do I claim to have a 100% understanding of it, I’ve stated before that it’s a starting point, it’s a series of action-items. Now I have for some time evaluated the FairTAX against the FlatTAX, and when I see someone make an obvious FALSE statement about the FT’s I’ll point that false statement out. A false statement is not a lie, unless the person making that statement had the intent to deceive. I haven’t claimed that you or other people intend to deceive (with a few execeptions that is, where I demonstrated the intent), I’ve just challenged your arguments and statements with arguments and statements of my own which I am prepared to back up and support as needed.

Newton didn’t LIE with his theory of gravity, but it was indeed FALSE, and it was shown to be false. It was an incorrect theory, one that arose from mistakes that Newton made and information that he didn’t have. He didn’t LIE, because he didn’t intent do deceive. Do you understand how that works?

As for calm, I think it’s pretty clear that I’m a bit calmer than you are. I’m not “offended” by what others are posting because there’s nothing to be offended about, the world is full of false statements, false arguments, true statements, true arguments, there are also lies and misconceptions, there are failures of reason and contra-dictions, none of those are things to be offended about, but if someone is seeking an accurate and truthful interpretation of the world, they should learn to differentiate between these things and be diligent in investigating and identifying them.

I’m sorry you’re offended, and I’m sorry you think I’m calling you a liar, I’m not. I am pointing out where you appear to be mistaken and where you have offered false arguments. I’m not just saying merely “Your wrong, neener neener neeer”, nor am I saying “You lie you miserable wretch!” I’m doing my best to back up my assertions and examination of your points and conclusions, given the time, space and practical constraints herein.

Now, to get a little personal purely for fun’s sake:

Grow a spine you miserable little cry-baby, if you can’t take someone dissecting your positions and pointing out the flaws, don’t engage in political argument! If you can’t back up your statements or refute challenges to them, keep your statements to yourself until yo can. Broadcasting your opinions invites challenge, and saying things like “please don’t attack my particulars” is a weasel’s refuge.

Jason Coleman on October 14, 2011 at 1:42 PM

I have never said Cain wasn’t phasing in his plan. I am saying his INITIAL change is too drastic.

NOW, since you seem to need it. I’ll call you a liar.

But changing everything instanter disrupts all those plans too.

CHANGING EVERYTHING INSTANTER (which apparently is supposed to be instantly)

So which is it? One of those statements is incompatible with the other. I would have just called them a contra-diction, but you seem to NEED me to call you a liar.

Either it’s a phased plan with gradual change or it changes “EVERYTHING INSTANTER”, which is it?

Jason Coleman on October 14, 2011 at 1:51 PM

1. We don’t need another overhaul of federal laws, at least until we can repeal Obamacare. The system has been shocked into paralysis by Obamacare. Get some certainty back and then talk about.

flataffect on October 14, 2011 at 4:49 PM

1. We don’t need another overhaul of federal laws, at least until we can repeal Obamacare. The system has been shocked into paralysis by Obamacare. Get some certainty back and then talk about.

flataffect on October 14, 2011 at 4:49 PM

That’s what I’ve been saying. We’ve had enough radical change to last a lifetime. We don’t need gimmicks to get our economy going again. Reagan didn’t need a freakin’ national sales tax after Carter destroyed the economy, the next POTUS doesn’t either.

-Aslan’s Girl

Aslans Girl on October 14, 2011 at 5:38 PM

Aslans Girl on October 14, 2011 at 5:38 PM

And Cain or Perry won’t have a Cold War to fight either. I love Reagan just as much as the next, but we’re facing different problems economically than we were then.

I agree, we must repeal Obamacare, but the deficits will still bite us, Medicare and SS will still go under and it’s time to tie tax revenue to the speed and volume of the economy and not just 53 percent of American’s labor and the highest corp rates in the world.

I understand your desire for caution, I just think if we’re going to move to a Flat or FairTAX and away from the income tax, now’s the time.

Jason Coleman on October 14, 2011 at 6:10 PM

My sister and I think of it as a candy wrapper. There are several layers and one can always put it down before finished. Don’t tase me bro! Obama ate the hope so let’s use the Brokest Nation in History’s loose change in the vending machine for 9-9-9.

Honestly, the real question is who do you want stumping for all those new fiscal Conservatives the Tea Party is going to send to Congress in 2012? Herman Cain gets our votes. (And love to titanium spine Bachmann, moral economics Santorum, reconciliation Newt, and ethical oil prosperity for America sweetheart Palin.)

FeFe on October 15, 2011 at 1:22 PM

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