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    I did not watch Herman Cain on the various news shows, but Memeorandum is relatively quiet, so I assume there were no major gotchas.

    Definitely get the sense the Occupy protests are getting uglier, not better.  The cream is not rising to the top, it’s the people we see riot at every G20 or other international gathering who are moving up.

    The Israel prisoner swap is depressing, and will be even more so when Hamas holds its victory rally.  I’m happy for the Shalit family, but their happiness will be at the cost of the sadness of terror victim families watching the killers go free, to kill again.  There must be something else going on here, perhaps that is not public, otherwise it’s hard to understand Netanyahu agreeing to this.  Perhaps it was a strategic calculation to weaken the Palesinian Authority at a time it is seeking U.N. recognition back to the pre-1967 borders; or maybe there are events Netanyahu swill take place soon which will make the release of the prisoners seem like small change but make getting Shalit back impossible (e.g., collapse of Assad regime, war with Iran, etc.).

    AxelPlouffe is going after Romney as a flip flopper.  Hey, that’s our gig! Axelrod says voters are unsure about Romney’s “core principles“.  No problem there for Obama, we know exactly what his core principles are.

    What else?


    Israel Matzav, IDF soldiers told to blow themselves up or kill their comrades rather than allow another Gilad Shalit.  What trading hundreds for one results in.

    Israel Today, Israelis worried by anti-Semitic flavor of ‘Occupy Wall St.’ protests.  The same people who board ships for Gaza, call Israel an “Apartheid state,” and are part of the Boycott Divest Sanction movement.

    Washington Times, Obama: King would have backed ‘Occupy Wall Street’.  He also spent much of the speech blaming “the last 10 years” before he took office for all our problems.  Never missing an opportunity to poke others in the eyes.


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    Another question about Cain’s 999 plan: I read elsewhere that his plan does not allow salaries (and thus presumably contractor payments) as deductions for business? However some capital equipment costs can be deducted? Can this be possible?

    If so, what the logic? I can write off a piece of machinery but not the person who operates it? Is this welfare for robots or something (since I can deduct the price of the robot but not the wage of a worker, so I should never employ any workers?)

    For service businesses, the cost of labor is the main cost. Perhaps he thinks that removing the payroll taxes balances the 9% he intends to levy on business, but in fact it doesn’t, especially if your biz uses a mix of employees and contractors (think builders).

    Right now, if you lose money, you don’t pay taxes. Under Cains plan, it sounds very much like many small businesses — like mine — could lose money and still pay a hefty 9% tax on what amounts gross sales, not on my profit. Since many businesses lose money for the first few years, Cain’s plan sound like a really bad idea as if will hamper the start of new small business.

    BTW: My point here is not to shred Cain’s 999 plan in detail since it is not — and probably never will be — policy.

    My intent is to shine a light on how he thinks — does he understand reality on a broad level? Does he understand unintended consequences? Can he think critically about complex topics?

    The answers appear to be: No, No, and NO!

    Cain maybe be a charismatic guy, but he’s beginning the scare me.

    PS: His bit about not charging national sales tax on “used” items — which I also heard — is sheer lunacy. What’s the rationale for that? Consumption is not “consumption” if an item is “used”? How used? A year? A week? 5 minutes? What?

    Do I need to get a specially approved Fed used stamp? Will they audit me to determine my shirts were really bought at Goodwill? Will Sears set up a “used tools” aisle? Has he no idea how distorting that would be? Scary stuff…

    (If the blogosphere is getting these details wrong, please correct them. I’d like to think better of the guy…)

      retire05 in reply to Owen J. | October 17, 2011 at 12:22 pm

      One of the problems with Cain’s 9-9-9 is that it does impose a 9% sales tax on new goods, but not used goods. This will accomplish two things: first, it will increase the cost of new goods (i.e. a new car at $40K will have an increased cost of $3,600.00 in taxes. That money will be financed, costing the buyer even more in the long run, increase the cost of the monthy payment and reduce the buying power of the consumer) and it will also increase the cost of used goods due to demand.

      Example: the Cash For Clunkers program seemed great on the surface, but the unintended consequence came from the demolition of all those used vehicle turned in for the program. The value of used vehicles has now increased based in availability. The fewer used vehicles, the higher the cost of used vehicles go.

      Cain’s plan will reduce the demand for new goods, drive the cost of used goods higher, and the unintended consequence will be fewer jobs required to produce new goods.

      Also, it basically turns Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid into pure welfare programs as workers will no longer pay anything into the system. It will be totally unfunded by worker contributions. At least now, it sees some revenue for workers. All that will end.

      And what about people who don’t file income tax returns because they are in a position to live off their Social Security checks. Ideally, seniors live in homes that are paid off, have no mortgage interest deductions to claim, no children as tax deductions, so their income requirements are lessened. They will pay the 9% sales tax on the two biggest items in their budgets, food and medication. Many states don’t charge sales tax on those two items, so with a 9% sales tax, the seniors buying power will be reduced by 9%.

      Cain talks about a “prebate”. How does that work. Will seniors see an increase in their Social Security check to cover the 9%? How will that be determined? Will they have to submit their total annual spending (in the form of sales receipts) to the IRS to determine the “prebate?” Will they get a card, much like a Social Security card, that shows they are exempt from the sales tax? What if they are eligible one year, but the next year take some money from their IRAs to do some traveling? Will they be back billed for the 9% sale tax by the IRS? Doesn’t this create a whole new department for an already oppressive IRS?

      9-9-9 sounds good on the surface. But there is an old adage that if you really knew how the sausage was made, you would never eat sausage again.

        Owen J in reply to retire05. | October 17, 2011 at 5:49 pm

        yes, there’s lot of problesm I’m seeing right now with his plan.

        But the to me isn’t to nitpick the plan as much as to figure out how the guy thinks. Sure, it just a starting point, but it’s a radical starting point compared to current practice, so what I want to know is: Did he bother to try to think this through or not?

        The evidenc so far e is that he did not. It sounds to me that he just thought it was catchy and cool sounding and made for good sound bites.

        I don’t like that in a leader.

    GrumpyOne | October 17, 2011 at 5:20 am

    Cain was masterful on Meet the Press on Sunday. Far more poised and prepared than Romney, Perry and any of the other GOP want-to-bees. He answered all questions without hesitation, aw(s), buts or long pauses.

    Regarding 9-9-9, anyone with two neurons to rub together should realize that it’s a starting point. I doubt that a national sales tax would survive in any event but the income tax surely needs to be drastically revamped on the side of simplification.

    And those that favor Perry, well if you want the the K Street lobby gang to thrive, he’s your guy. Take it from me, a Texas resident that has continually witnessed the shafting of the working stiff under his watch. “No new taxes” might be his slogan but watch out for them thar’ new fees! And don’t even get me started on his soft approach regarding illegal immigration!

    Be careful for what you wish for…

      spartan in reply to GrumpyOne. | October 17, 2011 at 7:27 am

      Of course he was masterful ….. he’s your guy.
      Your guy is clueless when it comes to foreign policy. Would you like to know what is the primary job of the POTUS (as contained in the Constitution)?
      Yep, National Defense. But of course, he will have advisors help him with such issues. How much do you want to bet Cain will be looking to K Street for guidance? He may even seek advice on “Right of Return” from J Street (just for balance).

      As for Perry and illegal immigration:
      By many measures, Perry’s approach to immigration ought to please the party faithful. In his decade-long term as governor, he cracked down on so-called sanctuary cities, imposed tough restrictions on drivers’ licenses for immigrants, and sent armed Texas Rangers to the border while demanding more federal boots on the ground. He opposes a federal DREAM Act and a swift path to legalization for illegal immigrants.

      “Of all the Republican candidates he’s the one who stands out the most on wanting to deal with this issue and put it to bed and resolve the problems,” said Jim Gilchrist, co-founder of the Minutemen Project, a Tea Party-aligned activist group that monitors activity along the U.S.-Mexico border.

      If you are a resident of TX, you should know this. As a resident of GA, I can say with certainty Herman Cain is a phony. He is more libertarian than conservative (he got his start in radio from another libertarian Neil Boortz). Ask yourself why Cain (and Romney) refused to sign the Susan B Anthony Pro-Life pledge. Please don’t respond with Cain’s rhetoric/excuses. If one will not defend the unborn, how does one guarantee he will defend the living?

      As for 9-9-9, the VAT was introduced in England in the early 1970’s, with the guarantee it would never go over 10%. Would you like to guess where that rate is today?
      By all means, be careful what you wish for ……

      retire05 in reply to GrumpyOne. | October 17, 2011 at 12:02 pm

      And just what new “fees” would those be, GrumpyOne? Be specific. Name them.

      And your claim of “soft approach on illegal immigration” is just another Romney/Cain talking point. Outside of in-state tuition given to the children of illegals (of which 77% were born on U.S. soil in Texas and at least 12 other states have done) what other objections do you have concerning Perry’s border policies?

      Do you object to the 150 Texas Rangers Recon Squad personnel being put on the border? Or Perry’s refusal to accept a phone call from the DoJ and the Mexican counsel when Humberto Leal was executed? Do you object to the number of drones, owned by the State of Texas, and not the federal government, that fly the border and report to the Border Patrol directly? How about Perry spending money from the Governor’s account that gave more money to border county sheriff departments so they could hire more man power and have a greater presence on their borders with Mexico?

      I want to know just exactly what it is you seem to think Perry is weak on when it comes to the border. And then, I also want you to provide a comparison between what other border state governors have done to protect THEIR common border with Mexico to what Rick Perry has done.

      Owen J in reply to GrumpyOne. | October 17, 2011 at 5:57 pm

      Of course the 999 tax plan is a starting point — the question is, what does it say about Cain’s approach? As you say, the sales tax probably is a no-go and without it, his whole plan falls apart.

      So is Cain serious here or is he just bloviating to sound “radical” and “cool”? I want real solutions, and evidense that a leader can think through viable solutions to complex problems — not campaign cuteness. 999 sounds like the latter to me and I do not want that in a leader.

      BTW: If you want to make substantive points about Perry, do so. Repeating cheap ignorant talking points about him (or any other candidate) simply reduces your credibility to 0.

    Some people think Cain didn’t know the flavors of conservative, this from a guy who was a talk radio host, has been hanging around conservative conferences for many, many years, has had conversations with thousands of people on the right side of politics over decades. One thing I noticed about Cain is people seem to automatically think they know something but Cain is ignorant (see 9-9-9). You can see it in the interviews, David Gregory being a good example. Watch the video, read the transcript, then decide who is the ignorant party. I would caution people, be careful, Cain is a lot deeper and better prepared than his cheerful optimistic exterior might lead you to believe.

      spartan in reply to Viator. | October 17, 2011 at 7:40 am

      As stated above-Cain is predominately libertarian. I don’t have a problem per se with that but Cain is not a conservative in classical (Burke) or modern sense (Kirk). I do think Gregory was either dishonest or disingenuous asking Cain if he was a Neo-conservative. A neo-conservative is someone who is unapologetically liberal on social issues but is a foreign policy hawk. Other than his libertarian bent, there is not much to suggest a liberal streak in Cain.
      I do not think Cain is ready for prime-time and we will respectfully disagree on that issue.

    A nice interactive way to scare the willies out of you.

    Red = The Keynesian house of cards.

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