Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain's proposed 9-9-9 tax plan would shift the tax burden in the United States, raising taxes on the poor while cutting taxes for the wealthy.
Cain proposes to scrap the current tax code and replace it with a flat 9 percent tax on personal income, a second 9 percent tax on corporate income, and a third 9 percent tax on sales. It also would eliminate the payroll tax paid for Medicare and Social Security, the estate tax, and capital gains taxes.
While the Cain campaign has not produced enough details for thorough independent analysis, a flat 9 percent income tax and a 9 percent national sales tax would almost certainly mean higher taxes for at least the 30 million U.S. households that now pay no federal taxes.
And it almost certainly would mean big tax cuts for the wealthy, who now pay a 35 percent marginal rate on their income above $379,150.
The catchy 9-9-9 tax plan has helped the former Godfathers pizza CEO surge into the top tier contending for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. With his rising support, Cain's plan is drawing more scrutiny, with the potential shift of the tax burden just one of the profound effects the dramatic change in tax policy could have — if Cain were elected and managed somehow to get it past an army of lobbyists and through Congress to enactment.