I have just read two excellent articles (both from National Review) about Herman Cain's economic ideas, in particular the "Nine, Nine, Nine" plan. They have given me pause and a good deal to think about, and I think that they will do the same for you.
The first is by Kevin D. Williamson in today's National Review Online entitled "Nein, Nein, Nein."
The second, by Ramesh Ponnuru, is referred to in Williamson's essay and is not specifically about Cain but related to his proposals.
The essence of Mr. Williamson's argument is that:
9-9-9 is not Herman Cain’s real fiscal plan. He proposes 9-9-9 as an intermediate step en route to his preferred solution, the so-called Fair Tax, about which I have some serious reservations . . . .
that it is not revenue neutral and will produce significantly less money for the government than the current system (thus increasing the budget deficit) and, anyway, that the economic situation required to produce adequate revenue is impossibly optimistic; that he fails to address in any detail the desperate need to reduce spending; that the proposal to reduce corporate tax rates to nine per cent. will create perverse incentives; and, finally, that the national sales tax will diminish workers' available incomes and provide a fertile field for tax evasion in the form of black markets (thus requiring an excise inspectorate fully equal to the reviled IRS. );
Mr. Ponnuru's analysis of the FairTax idea predates Cain's appearance on the scene (it was published in March, of last year) and seems to me to be a pretty devastating critique of the whole FairTax idea. It is too long for me adequately to summarize here.
In short, I have come to wonder whether Mr. Cain's strong suit (his business background and success and his experience as a member of a Federal Reserve District Board) might turn out to be his weakest point. His presence is commanding and what I know of him personally I like. He communicates in straight, simple language and relates to "regular" people (of whom I am one) better than any of the other candidates. But his fiscal ideas, as they are being promoted, seem as out of touch with reality as the incumbent's.
So, my personal conclusion is, as I said above: Whoa, let's think a bit more about this.
I should like to know what other Ricochevians think of the defects and virtues of his plans.