One of the economists behind Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain’s "9-9-9" tax plan thinks it's time for Cain to drop one of those nines—the proposed 9 percent sales tax.
“I’ve come to the conclusion that the American people and the voters do not want a national sales tax,” Stephen Moore, a senior economics writer and editorial board member for The Wall Street Journal, said on The Larry Kudlow Show on Saturday. Cain's senior economic adviser Rich Lowrie reportedly worked with former Reagan adviser Arthur Laffer and Moore to develop the plan. Moore is a former president of the Club for Growth, which promotes free-market economic policies.
Under the ”9-9-9” plan, Cain would replace the current federal tax code with a 9 percent income tax, a 9 percent corporate tax, and a 9 percent national sales tax. The plan was roundly criticized at Tuesday night’s GOP presidential debate, with Cain vowing on Wednesday morning to "go on the attack" in response.
"He’s going to have to replace that 9 percent national sales tax with a 9 percent payroll tax," Moore said on Saturday. "If you do that, yes, it’s a total winner."
Moore made clear that while he advocates dropping the sales tax—an opinion he said he would communicate to Cain—he still thinks it's a good idea.
"When we designed this plan, I thought people would go along with the 9 percent sales tax. But the point is, they won’t. And why not just do a payroll tax?" Moore said. "It’s the devil we know."