Herman Cain’s Tax Consultant Says 9-9-9 Isn’t A Serious Plan

One of the men who worked on Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan  isn’t a fan of the candidate’s own tax plan and considers it little more than a theoretical construct:

Herman Cain expressed confidence at Tuesday’s debate that his much-touted “9-9-9” plan to revamp the tax code would pass Congress, but the paid campaign consultant who scored the plan for Cain said the idea was more of a theory than a politically viable solution — and not the route he would suggest himself.

“You’re trying to go to a system that taxes income once and only once and quits double-taxing savings,” Gary Robbins told POLITICO on Wednesday. “That’s something that can really juice the economy, it’s probably worth 15 percent in growth. … The problem with the big-bang changes like that, the flat tax or the fair tax, is that they are so alien to the current system that it would be a great big shock.”

Though Robbins says the plan would work fiscally and economically, he believes people would never accept such drastic changes.

Cain has repeatedly declined to name the people involved with crafting the plan besides Rich Lowrie, Cain’s chief economic adviser, a Cleveland-based wealth manager for Wells Fargo who is not a trained economist. But it was Robbins, an economist who has worked for Steve Forbes’s flat-tax campaigns and was a longtime Treasury employee, who conducted a 10-page analysis of the plan in September. Robbins found the plan to be revenue neutral, as Cain’s been trumpeting in recent debates and in interviews.

“Economically, it’s fine, there’s nothing wrong with the plan and nothing wrong with the proposal,” Robbins said. “What Cain has done is really smart and saying if you go this route, this is the way to go. He’s done a very good job and the fellows who were beating on him last night were making a mistake.”

(…)

While Robbins praised the idea of 9-9-9, he took steps during an interview to distance himself from its author.

“It’s not a plan that I concocted,” Robbins said. “There’s nothing wrong with the plan, it just wouldn’t be the one I picked.”

Obviously not. That one’s gonna hurt.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Quick Takes, Taxes, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Jay Tea says:

    New definition for the dictionary:

    “Not serious: not sufficiently liberal to even discuss.”

    J.

  2. @Jay Tea:

    Did you click through the article and read this guys credentials?

    Robbins, who with his wife runs an Arlington operation called Fiscal Policy Associates, Inc., was once a senior fellow at the Texas-based Institute for Policy Innovation. In 2003, Jude Wanniski, who is credited with coining the phrase “supply-side economics,” wrote in a Washington Times op-ed that Robbins is “arguably the most respected of all supply-side tax experts.”

    Robbins said he served for 16 years in the Treasury Department, leaving in 1985 after working as economist in the Office of Tax Policy and for Ronald Reagan’s assistant secretary for economic affairs. He has a bachelor’s degree in math and physics from Texas Tech University and a master’s degree in economics from Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

    Yea, sounds like a liberal to me.

  3. legion says:

    Anybody who still takes pride in being a supply-sider should be given the same intellectual respect as a flat-earther. The more I see of Cain’s campaign, the more I see a bunch or window dressing with no substance whatsoever behind it.

  4. MM says:

    Quick Jay Tea, mention something bad that Obama did and see if you can get the thread off topic!

  5. sam says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    @Jay Tea:

    Did you click through the article and read this guys credentials?

    Why waste time when you have a fully functional jaydar?

  6. Jay Tea says:

    Doug, the point I was making is that “not serious” is the new buzzword (not just yours) that I really have had enough of.

    J.

  7. Jay,

    Between the fiscal insanity of the plan and the fact that there’s no way it would ever become law, I think the words “not serious” are apt. Actually, they describe Cain’s entire campaign up to this point.

  8. mantis says:

    Jay Tea: I think we can put men on Mars using rocket shoes!

    Normal human: That’s not a serious idea.

    Jay Tea: I’ve had enough of your buzzwords!

  9. Loviatar says:

    Think about it, the two central points in Robbins’ assessment of the 9-9-9 Plan

    Robbins found the plan to be revenue neutral,

    Robbins says the plan would work fiscally and economically

    are based upon this economic projection

    That’s something that can really juice the economy, it’s probably worth 15 percent in growth.

    For once I have to agree with Doug, this “Plan” is an utter folly.

  10. sam says:

    Why Herman Cain’s 999 plan will never, ever, ever, see the light of day: it would enact a 9% transaction tax on every stock trade (purchase). (Not that that wouldn’t be a really, really good thing — it would effectively kill high-frequency trading, which bullshit is part of what’s crushing us.) Our Galtian overlords would never allow that, and Herm wouldn’t dare exclude stock trades from the reach of 999 after fellating the wealthy with a 9% flat income tax (and after sticking it to the rest of us for our nonstock purchases). So you can just forget 999.

  11. Rob in CT says:

    Herm wouldn’t dare exclude stock trades from the reach of 999 after fellating the wealthy with a 9% flat income tax (and after sticking it to the rest of us for our nonstock purchases).

    You must be joking. Of course he’d dare.

  12. Steve says:

    The way I read this is not him saying it’s not a serious plan, however it would be hard to put in place. Therefore, not his first choice.