Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Herman Cain has been shooting himself in both feet from quite a few different angles lately, but now that some major media have started paying attention to what econometricians make of his 999 plan, we should not have to wait too long for the shot to his head. Although all of 999 is a shameless giveaway to the rich, the real "killer" is the national sales tax.

Even innumerate Americans can understand that a 9.1% federal sales tax on every gallon of milk, every pair of new shoes, every gallon of gas, and everything else except for "used" items (used milk?) will cost them a hell of a lot of money. Ordinary Americans, who spend most (or all) of their incomes would be hit the hardest. Even those willing to ignore how a 9% income tax would devastate the working poor will come to view that sales tax with horror.

The rich, of course, whose incomes far exceed whatever they conceivably could spend, would pay an even smaller proportion of their incomes in taxes than they do now. I'm far too lazy to do the math and construct a chart showing the impact of "999" on people in different income brackets, but I assume somebody will do it fairly soon — probably some anonymous somebody from the Romney campaign. (It won't be the Obamanistas, who will be happy to see Republican infighting go on for as long as possible.)

In the meanwhile, most of the Wall Street money is going to Romney — and as far as politics is concerned, Wall Street money is the smart money. Needless to say, though, the financiers are hedging their bets by contributing to Obama as well. Then again, once there's a clear leader — of whatever party — they'll flood him with money. They always like the winner to think he couldn't have won without them. (It sure worked with Obama!)

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Following up on my previous post: recent polling shows that a majority of Americans are sympathetic to the "goals" of the Occupy Wall Street movement — which shows that you really don't need specific policy goals to win public support. Most Americans don't have specific policy goals. They just get it.

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