The beauty of Herman Cain's 9-9-9 tax gimmick is that it's easy to remember, easy to understand, even easy to chant! A welcome departure from our current tax code, which is as easy to decipher as Occupy Wall Street's goals. Nine percent corporate tax, nine percent income tax, nine percent sales tax. And that's it! Its simplicity is so appealing that voters don't even seem to notice or care that it would nearly double taxes on working-class families. Now that is marketing genius.
And, yet, now Cain seems to realize that 9-9-9 plan is perhaps too simple.
Mr. Cain made it clear Wednesday his plan remained a work in progress. Visiting Concord, N.H., he added several new wrinkles. He would preserve the deduction for charitable donations, making the flat income tax not so flat; he would exempt any used goods, including previously owned homes and cars, from the national sales tax; and he would allow businesses to deduct new equipment purchases from their 9% corporate income tax, as long as the goods were U.S.-made.
Asked how that would apply to a computer designed domestically but containing Malaysian components and assembled in China, he replied, "I have no idea."
Chant it with me, people: "9! 9! 9! Charitable deductions! Used-goods exemption! New equipment deductions based on requirements we'll figure out later!"