I've overheard some people recently praising Herman Cain's ridiculous flat tax idea, also known as "9-9-9" -- the plan would eliminate the tax code and replace it with a nine percent income tax, a nine percent corporate tax and a nine percent sales tax.
The Center for American Progress Director of Tax and Budget Policy Michael Linden discovered that 9-9-9 would both explode the deficit to post-WWII levels and it would, not shockingly, raise taxes on the poorest Americans.
You can read the details here, but...
Together, then, the 9-9-9 plan would have generated a bit less than $1.3 trillion in total federal tax revenue. That may sound like a lot, but it’s only 9.2 percent of GDP. In 2007, we actually collected 18.5 percent of GDP in tax revenue. In other words, the 9-9-9 plan would cut federal revenue in half!
The only thing this will accomplish is to serve the Republican cause of starving the government to death, while racking up a massive deficit. Meanwhile:
Linden also found that someone in the bottom quintile of earners — who currently pays about 2 percent of his or her income in federal taxes — would pay about 18 percent under Cain’s plan (9 percent on every dollar they make, plus 9 percent on every dollar they spent, which would likely be close to all of them). A middle-class individual would see his or her taxes go from about 14 percent to about 18 percent. But someone in the richest one percent of Americans would see his or her tax rate fall from about 28 percent to about 11 percent.
So yeah, 9-9-9 might make for a fun weekend pizza deal -- "Get nine pieces of crazy bread and nine chicken wings for nine dollars!" -- but it's a totally destructive policy proposal. I suppose the good news is that it'll never pass.