Friday, October 14, 2011 examines claims that Romneycare and Obamacare are the same thing.

Here's why I distrust 9-9-9. Herman Cain has it the centerpiece of his economic plan, but the third 9 is a national sales tax. He promises he'll tear up the tax code, but we have had experience with promises regarding taxes. When the income tax was passed Americans were told it would never exceed one or two per cent. Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid are both headed for bankruptcy (if that were possible) without huge increases in the payroll tax rates. Cain is a powerful speaker and you can't help liking him, but it's just politically naive to think you can introduce a new federal tax and expect it to stay at the level you set it at. I don't doubt Cain's sincerity, but his inexperience in politics is showing here. When Neal Cavuto brought that up to him today, he gave the old "They said it couldn't be done" answer, but he's got to have more than his own confidence to persuade me. True believers in the Fair Tax which is the basis for this scheme have been around for years, and a consumption tax make some sense to encourage saving and investing, but it's not clear how to switch over in two or three steps without causing more shocks to the economy. Whoever the candidate is, nobody should believe that the President is King. He can't pass laws by fiat. And promises seldom get kept completely. That's why I respect Romney's reluctance to make absolute predictions.

I'm not equipped to tell the difference between MP3s and the regular CD format. But I notice that it's hard for me to keep track of my music when I see a list of folders than it was to flip through a stack of LPs or CDs. I was just looking at my downloads from Amazon and they all look the same. There's something here that I haven't caught onto yet that is perfectly obvious to a 20 year old.

Andrew Malcolm seems impatient with candidates who blame the media for their problems (Michele Bachmann) and quite umpressed by Herman Cain's 9-9-9 campaign centerpiece.
Yeh, sure it's just trying to create the next horserace story when Romney has almost already crossed the finish line. There will be more dark-horse surges suddenly appear in the Republican so-called contest, count on it. There are an awful lot of TV newscasts and newspaper editions to fill before Iowa and New Hampshire this winter. This new media fixation guy is clueless about politics and minor details like other countries. But he has a catchy tax plan he calls 9-9-9, which sounds simple. And Americans, as a simple people who trail the world in math skills, love their simple. Ever wonder why advertisements aimed at them always have prices that end with -99? New TVs for $399. Monthly car lease payments for only $299.99. Pizzas for $9.99. That -99 sounds good to the gullible. This non-Romney guy hasn't actually fleshed out his 9-9-9 plan because he and his CPA buddy never thought anybody would fall for it. Imagine a "tax reform" that draws millions more people currently not paying taxes into paying new taxes on every single thing they buy on top of existing state sales taxes while cutting taxes on the rich, which — oh, look! — is what the guy proposing 9-9-9 is. Sounds like a bogus plan that wise nominee Mitt Romney would discard in a minute.

Obama campaign steps up attacks on Mitt Romney

Obama campaign steps up attacks on Mitt Romney Apparently they see Romney as the one to beat.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Listening to the debate yesterday, I started to have some questions about Herman Cain's 9-9-9. All I knew was that it was to throw out the tax code and replace it with a flat 9% tax on personal income; a flat 9% on corporate income, and a 9% national sales tax. I didn't like the notion of a national sales tax because it's not progressive. The details of this plan are unavailable, but the 9-9-9 is a first stage after which it will be replaced with a 30% sales tax.
“Whatever one thinks of the Fair Tax, it makes not the slightest bit of sense to have a plan that requires fundamental changes to the federal tax system twice to achieve its objective,” [former George W. Bush economic policy adviser Bruce Bartlett] wrote in a Tuesday New York Times op-ed. “One of the prime selling points of the Fair Tax is its simplicity, and the 9-9-9 plan is far from that.” Cain’s plan would do away with the complex system of deductions and loopholes that currently plague the tax code, but it would also redistribute the tax burden from the wealthy to middle and low income Americans, Bartlett states.
I found that quote after Cain was asked several times how we could be sure that Congress wouldn't just keep raising those rates and about the analyses by other economists who said it would work. His response was to assure them that it would pass, but declined to say why; that he knew it would work because his economics adviser had assured him that it would work. As to the concern that tax rates could kept where he set them, his answer was puzzling because, he said, as President he would veto any tax increases. He has steadfastly refused to name his other advisers, to protect their confidentiality, which I find puzzling as well. The economy is already in shock because of Obamacare and the uncertainty it creates in the minds of business owners. This sudden shift in the tax system .would not be like flipping a switch. There are some goud reason to give people an incentive to spend less, but our economy now depends on consumer spending, and I'm not sure how the progressivity of the current system will be retained. A 30% sales tax is likely to fall heaviest on those who have low income, although others dispute that.

Update: I found this about Rich Lowrie, who Cain says devised the plan.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

William McGurn:blockquote>Here's some advice for Republican candidates appearing at Tuesday's presidential debate at Dartmouth College. When you are asked, as you will be asked, what you make of the Christian pastor who called the Mormon faith a "cult," there's only one appropriate answer. It comes from the last sentence of Article VI of the Constitution, and it reads as follows: "[N]o religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States." It doesn't get any clearer than that.I don't mind people disagreeing with my faith or thinking it's hard to believe. What I do mind is being relegated to cult status, which is what the Romans said about early Christians to justify murdering them. As an American, I object to this underhanded way of ignoring the Constitution. If Mormons had declared a holy war and were inciting violence, I wouldn't be part of it. But so-called Christians have declared Jihad against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, from before its founding. Driving members from their homes time after time until they left the United States and set up their own society in the valley of the Great Salt Lake. Then the U.S. won a war with Mexico and claimed the lands where they had settled and made it a territory, sending governors and judges selected by Washington, who falsely claimed that the Latter-day Saints were in rebellion against the federal government. This persecution was kept bubbling by continued attacks from protestant ministers, until an army was sent west to put down the supposed rebellion. Practically from the time it became a territory, Utah applied for statehood but was not accepted until it passed laws against polygamy or plural marriage. The practice had by then accomplished its purpose of raising a generation of leaders who would assure the survival of the young church. The LDS faith frightens other churches because it proselytes among Christians as well as non-Christians and thus poses a threat to those who see their "ministries" as business enterprises. That's not what bothers me. It continues to grow, particularly outside the U.S. But this kind of bigotry has no place in politics because it deprives the nation of the service of good men and women.

We are the 53%

Ann Coulter: Perry's immigration folly is more of a problem than Romneycare. She dismisses Cain because he's never been a governor, but he may end up being the nominee, if he can raise the money. He's benefited more from his debate performance than anyone else. Still, I think Mitt has the process pretty well figured out and has been planning this for 4 years, with the knowledge that the religion issue would not go away. That's why he hasn't wasted resources trying to convince the Evangelicals, who've been conditioned to equate Mormons with Beelzebub.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

A Baptist pastor named Jeffres stirred up a bit of a furor when he announced that Mitt Romney isn't a Christian "theologically," and a day later William Bennett blasted him for giving voice to bigotry. This issue has been the undertone of the GOP primaries since Mike Huckabee introduced it subtly during 2008. It may have defeated Romney, but it also blew back on Mr. Huckabee. I think it has been an unspoken part of the animosity of many in the Tea Party and Evangelical movements toward Romney. They claim that Romney is a flip-flopper while giving Rick Perry as pass on his past lapses.