The Teabagger’ search for the anti-Romney has been a long and frustrating one.
First came Michelle Bachmann. After winning the way overrated Ames Iowa Straw Poll in the same week she was featured on the cover of Newseek as “The Queen of Rage”, staring into the camera like the batshit crazy religious zealot she is. In near record time she plummeted to single digits in the polls.
Joining her at the bottom have been other Teabagger presidential candidate wanna-be’s, former Pennsylvania senator Rick “Google Me” Santorum; and former Minnesota governor, Tim “T-Paw” Palenty, now out of the race and vying for a VP slot with Mitt “Flipper” Romney.
Then came the Great Pretenders, former half-baked Alaskan governor Sarah “Quitter” Palin and Donald “Play ‘Em For A Chump” Trump. Together these sideshow hucksters raised the bar on self-promoting narcissism to new highs, pumping their (dis)respective reality tv shows, books, and paid appearances.
Another non-candidate, New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, has been championed by the likes of Roger Ailes and the Coultergiest who all but begged him to run. (Though a “running” Chris Christie sets up an immediate cognitive dissonance in the visual circuits of the brain. I mean, has this guy even seen his dick in the last few decades without a strategically placed mirror?)
Then Texas governor Rick Perry soared to the top of the charts, beginning his campaign hosting a religious conference called The Response. Obviously a political play to ingratiate himself with The Religious Right, the featured speakers turned out to be a group of whacko fundamentalists that in retrospect makes the Rev. Jerimiah Wright, then candidate Barack Obama’s controversial pastor, look like a Boy Scout. But after embracing the substance of The Dream Act, a program designed to provide financial assistance to the US-born children of undocumented immigrants; performing poorly in two GOPer debates; and revelations of self-dealing with various business interests seeking Texas government contracts, Perry lost some 20 points in a single week, falling from Numero Uno to Numero Tres.
But like the shape-shifting alien in the movie The Thing, even as one Teabagger host body is put down another is found to take its place. The latest to be indwelt is former Godfather Pizza magnate, Herman Cain.
Forget for the moment that Cain was spectacularly wrong when he announced there was no housing bubble two years before The Great Real Estate Crash of 2007 and the subsequent economic meltdown. Or that as the head of the The National Restaurant Association he fought valiantly to eliminate the minimum wage and make eating establishments safe for smokers. Or that he opposes abortion, including cases of rape and incest. Or that climate change is a scam. Or that the way to solve illegal immigration from Mexico is to build a moat along the border and fill it with alligators. Or that he would never appoint a Muslim to his cabinet. Or that the millions of individuals who lost their jobs in the wake of the Great Bush Depression have only themselves to blame.
No, what has rapidly become Cain’s signature issue is his so-called 9-9-9 Plan, essentially a revision of the tax codes that is supposed to simultaneously revitalize the entire economy by transferring even more wealth from the poor and the middle class to the top 1%. As The NY Times ‘Timothy Egan put it:
In essence, Cain is proposing the largest shift in tax burden from the wealthy to the poor and middle class in the nation’s history. Oh, and he apparently would scrap the two great government programs that keep millions clinging to fragile middle-class status — Social Security and Medicare — because he wants to eliminate the payroll taxes that now pay for those insurers of dignity.
We are forced to seriously consider this bizarro-world, reverse-Robin-Hood scheme, one that would junk the entire federal tax code for a 9 percent flat rate on corporate earnings, personal income and retail sales, because of the astonishing news that Republicans have elevated Cain to the top of their field in three polls released over the last 48 hours.
In my state, Cali-forn-i-a, we already have a state sales tax of 9%, food exempted. But Robbin’ The Hood Cain would effectively double that, and would include food. That should make his fellow but overwhelmingly poor black brothers and sisters in rural and inner-urban America especially supportive. Rachelle Bernstein, vice president and tax counsel for the National Retail Federation comments:
An additional tax on consumer spending will negatively impact…already weak demand.
That the Cain wealth re-distribution plan is a bit sketchy at this point would be a gross understatement, generating far more questions than answers, evidenced by his response to a reporter about a specific tax deduction:
I have no idea. But it’s a good question.
Indeed. To the extent that his plan can be analyzed at all at this point is explored by Bruce Bartlett, former senior economic policy analyst for Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush:
Mr. Cain says these three proposals, which he would put into effect immediately without offsetting the lost revenue, will jump-start economic growth. He offers no evidence for this assertion; it is simply put forward as self-evident. But the experience of the George W. Bush administration was that cuts in tax rates on the wealthy and on capital gains had no effect whatsoever on growth, according to the Congressional Research Service.
And this is only Phase 1 of the Cain plan. In Phase 2, the payroll tax would be eliminated, causing more than $800 billion in revenue to evaporate. The estate and gift tax would be abolished, further reducing taxes on the wealthy. And the 9-9-9 plan would be implemented….
This means that the 47 percent of tax filers who now pay no federal income taxes will pay 9 percent on their total income. And elimination of the payroll tax won’t even help half of them because the earned income tax credit, which Mr. Cain would abolish, offsets both their income tax liability and their payroll tax payment as well.
Additionally, everyone would now pay a 9 percent sales tax on all purchases. No mention is made of any exemptions from this tax, so we may assume that it will apply to food, medical care, rent, home and auto purchases and a wide variety of other expenditures now exempt from state sales taxes. This would increase their cost of living by 9 percent while, at the same time, the poor would pay income taxes.
At a minimum, the Cain plan is a distributional monstrosity. The poor would pay more while the rich would have their taxes cut, with no guarantee that economic growth will increase and good reason to believe that the budget deficit will increase.
Even allowing for the poorly thought through promises routinely made on the campaign trail, Mr. Cain’s tax plan stands out as exceptionally ill conceived.
Except if, of course, you are a member of The One Percent.
My, my, my. What a surprise–Not! Turns out that Robbin’ Hood has been a Koch Brothers front man for some 5 years.
AP via The Washington Post explains it thus:
Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain has cast himself as the outsider, the pizza magnate with real-world experience who will bring fresh ideas to the nation’s capital. But Cain’s economic ideas, support and organization have close ties to two billionaire brothers who bankroll right-leaning causes through their group Americans for Prosperity.
Cain’s campaign manager and a number of aides have worked for Americans for Prosperity, or AFP, the advocacy group founded with support from billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, which lobbies for lower taxes and less government regulation and spending. Cain credits a businessman who served on an AFP advisory board with helping devise his “9-9-9” plan to rewrite the nation’s tax code. And his years of speaking at AFP events have given the businessman and radio host a network of loyal grassroots fans…
AFP tapped Cain as the public face of its “Prosperity Expansion Project,” and he traveled the country in 2005 and 2006 speaking to activists who were starting state-based AFP chapters from Wisconsin to Virginia. Through his AFP work he met Mark Block, a longtime Wisconsin Republican operative hired to lead that state’s AFP chapter in 2005 as he rebounded from an earlier campaign scandal that derailed his career.
Block and Cain sometimes traveled together as they built up AFP: Cain was the charismatic speaker preaching the ills of big government; Block was the operative helping with nuts and bolts…
Read the rest here.