Reality Check: Does Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan have one major fla - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Reality Check: Does Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan have one major flaw?

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Herman Cain calls it his bold 9-9-9 plan. The idea is to scrap the current very confusing tax code and replace it with a simple flat tax.

Cain says this would be a fair tax.  Instead of having, as is currently the case, only 53 percent of the country pay any federal income tax, everyone would pay something and the same percentage, 9 percent.

The corporate tax rate would drop from the current top rate of 35 percent, to, you guessed it 9 percent.  And the plan would create a whole new tax.  A national sales tax again set at 9 percent.

The 9-9-9 plan has helped to push Cain to a front runner for the nomination and that drew a lot of attention during Tuesday night's debate.

 "I think it is a catchy phrase.  In fact I thought it was a price of a pizza when I first heard it," said former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman.  Here's what we need, we need something that is doable, doable, and doable." 

Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann added "When you take 999 plan and turn it upside down I think the devil's in the details."

Some pretty good shots were taken at the plan.  But kidding aside the details are important.  There are 2 major criticisms of the plan. 

 Would the plan raise enough revenue to replace the current tax code?

Cain claims his system would raise as much tax revenue as the current complex system of federal income tax, corporate taxes and payroll taxes.  He believes his plan could bring in additional revenue by boosting economic growth.

 Tax experts from various nonpartisan think tanks, including the Tax Policy Center, a non-partisan group, say without seeing more details of the plan than Cain has released thus far, they can't say for sure whether the system would match current tax collections, or add to the deficit.  They also say it is theoretically possible if you are taxing all consumption.

 Keep in mind, the 9 percent could bring in more corporate tax money than the current system because the plan eliminates most tax loopholes and would charge a consumption tax on businesses that purchase goods from other businesses.  Those would no longer be tax write-offs. Which would make it more like a value added tax on corporations.

The other big question, is the 9-9-9 plan fair to low income Americans?

Herman Cain has answered critics in the past by saying that 9-9-9 would not increase the tax burden on the poor, it would lower it.

     That is because under 9-9-9, payroll taxes would be eliminated, right now, the feds take 15.3 percent from your paycheck before it ever gets to you.

 Under Cain's plan, only 9 percent would be taken which would result in every working American paying 6 percent less in federal taxes than they do now.

Here's what you need to know.

Much of this plan still has to be explained.  There does appear to be one major flaw. What happens if the federal government says it needs more money?

   The 9-9-9 rates could increase. So far, there is nothing to prevent that happening in the future and unless there is a way to lock those rates, the 9-9-9 plan, could become the 15-15-15 plan, and ultimately a 30-30-30 plan.

 And that is Reality Check.

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