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Michele Bachmann has a point

October 19, 2011 - Mike Maneval
Early in Tuesday's Republican presidential primary debate, former restaurant-chain CEO Herman Cain drew many barbs for his "9-9-9 plan," a 9-percent sales tax, 9-percent income tax and 9-percent business tax. At several points, rival candidate Michele Bachmann, who represents suburbs north of Minneapolis and St. Paul in the U.S. House, attributed her wariness of the sales tax portion of Cain's plan in part to concern "liberals" would raise its relatively low 9-percent rate.

Bachmann certainly has a valid reason to fear someone may want to increase the rate - the candidate proposing the 9-9-9 plan in the first place. Cain himself introduced the 9-9-9 plan as an early step in a process that would end with the "FairTax" proposal. As Bruce Bartlett, writing for the New York Times' economix blog back in May, observed, Cain supports a proposal that would set a national sales tax rate, as calculated under the methodology used in defining Pennsylvania's sales tax, at 30 percent. Cain's own website acknowledges such a tax rate is, in the Cain campaign's own words, "the next step."


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