I became a big admirer of Herman Cain back in the 1990s when he was a member of the National Commission on Economic Growth and Tax Reform (aka, the Kemp Commission).
I worked as a staffer for the Commission and was able to observe Mr. Cain in action over a period of several months. Suffice to say I like what I saw. Unlike many people in DC, he is not an empty suit.
That doesn’t means he’s perfect, as illustrated by his support for the TARP bailout, but he’s definitely on the right side of the dividing line between those who want freedom and those who want statism.
And his victory in the Florida straw poll is bringing lots of deserved attention to his campaign, leading several people to ask what I think about his economic agenda.
To get right to the point, it’s a very Reaganesque package of lower taxes and more freedom that can be divided into three parts.
1. His short-run plan, which he calls the “Immediate Boost,” is to slash personal and corporate tax rates to 25 percent and eliminate the capital gains tax.
2. His intermediate plan, which he calls the “Enhanced Plan,” eliminates the death tax and the payroll tax. But the most important part is the 9-9-9 plan, which is a 9 percent tax rate on personal income, a 9 percent tax rate on corporate income, and a 9 percent national sales tax.
3. His long-run agenda, which he calls the “Fair Tax,” is to eliminate all personal and corporate income taxes and adopt a national sales tax.
This all sounds great, but let me do a bit of nit-picking. I want to focus on part 2, particularly the 9-9-9 plan.