We’ve steered away from this question for some time now, since so many other current events have seized the news cycle, but Herman Cain had a fairly long history of pontificating on the radio and writing editorial pieces before he began his current run for the presidency. When you generate that much material, you’re bound to leave behind a few nuggets for your opponents to find. The case in point today, however, if a fairly glaring one. Highlighted by Doug Mataconis at Outside the Beltway, it’s noted that Mr. Cain may have written passionately about an idea which runs directly against one of the cornerstones of his platform.
I’ve noted before that Herman Cain’s history as a radio talk show host, public speaker, and op-ed columnist was likely to come back and bite him at some point. You simply cannot engage in a long career of speaking off the top of your head on various issues without saying something at some point that is going to annoy someone, or prove to be somewhat embarrassing to you should you ever decide to run for public office…
On November 21st, 2010 in a column at website call The New Voice, Herman Cain wrote this about a proposal made by the Simpson-Bowles Commission
The piece in question seems fairly damning in terms of the political dog and pony show. It has to do with the idea of a national sales tax, which as I’m sure you will recall, is one leg of his 9-9-9 plan.
The worst idea is a proposed national sales tax, which is a disguised VAT (value added tax) on top of everything we already pay in federal taxes…
First, we have a spending problem in Washington, D.C. not a revenue problem. The Commission claims their goal is to reduce the deficits by $4 trillion over the next decade. The task force says its plan would save $6 trillion by 2020. It’s sort of like dueling promises that would never happen, because when has a proposed cut in Washington D.C. ever produced the intended savings over 10 years? Never!
Even worse is reason number two: In every country that has established a VAT with the promise of reducing their national debt, the VAT has eventually gone up or expanded on top of the existing tax structure. After discovering many of the tax grenades in the recently passed health care deform bill, which is already driving costs up and access down, it would be real easy for an overzealous bureaucrat to insert the language in the legislation “national retail and wholesale” tax.
It goes on from there in great detail, but I’ll leave it to you to read for yourselves. Essentially, it certainly appears to undermine one of the major aspects of his 9-9-9 plan. (Not coincidentally, the same one which his primary opponents, including both Perry and Romney have criticized at great length during the early debates.) In fact, the argument he makes in this editorial regarding the government eventually raising the tax is precisely the point his critics are making today. And this isn’t some dusty, musty piece from ancient history. It’s from last year. This not only calls into question Cain’s own commitment to his tax reform plan, but puts in play a “flip-flop” issue, which one certainly doesn’t need when running against Romney for frontrunner status.
This is only one item from the vast library of recorded radio shows and writings by Herman Cain. The media hasn’t had nearly enough time to dredge through the entire stash since he achieved frontrunner status. For the present they seem content to settle for the sexual harassment and campaign finance allegations which currently dominate the news. If Cain survives those with strong poll numbers, look for more nuggets like this to emerge over time.