Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Jokers To The Left of Me, Clowns To The Right

Last night’s debate was a disgrace. Newt tried to blame CNN at the end for using a back and forth format that encouraged bickering. He’s wrong. CNN had nothing to do with it. Several candidates (including Newt) made conscious decisions to act like jackasses. They acted disgracefully and honestly need to drop out.

Winner: Obama. The big winner last night was Obama as the Republicans as a group came across like liars, fools and angry children. Also, our biggest idiots (Santorum, Bachmann) both fell for Obama’s Iran-Mexico diversion even as everyone else on the planet has decided Holder made it up. Bravo.

Not Loser: Mitt Romney. If you look at Romney in isolation, he came across as knowledgeable and well-briefed, and defended himself well. On the minus side, I don’t recall anything he said and he never came across as conservative. But the real problem last night was the nastiness of the entire debate. This was a debate filled with cheap shots, lies, unprofessional conduct and childish behavior. Even though his performance was solid, Romney gets downgraded for guilt by association because no one looked good. I do, however, give Romney a slight win over Cain because Romney seemed more in control.

Not Loser: Herman Cain. Cain was smart, knowledgeable and relentlessly positive. He defended himself well and always remained a gentleman. He displayed his sense of humor about electrifying the fence to Mexico and during the unfair attacks on his 9-9-9 plan. He proposed a real healthcare solution (not just “repeal ObamaCare”), i.e. allowing insurance across state borders, loser pays laws, and allowing patients and doctors to make decisions. And he refused to apologize for telling the OccupyWallStreet kids that it’s their own fault they don’t have jobs -- he said they should blame Obama, not bankers.

But the mud was too thick last night. Each of the others used numbers from a leftist think tank and liberal arguments to attack his 9-9-9 plan. It was bizarre to hear conservative Ron Paul defend progressive tax rates. Bachmann and Santorum falsely claimed Cain’s sales tax is a VAT. Newt pretended it was hopelessly complex. And Romney and Perry tried to mix in state taxes to confuse the plan. Essentially, seven supposed conservatives either knowingly lied or used the liberal ideas they have themselves criticized to attack a solidly conservative plan. Even worse, these attacks were done in smarmy, condescending ways. It was shameful. I thought the pile-on effect hurt Cain, though CNN's Gloria Borger thought Cain defended himself extremely well.

A bigger problem came when he suggested he would negotiate with terrorists. He actually said he would consider a hostage trade for a captured American soldier depending on the circumstances -- and the truth is every leader negotiates with terrorists. But since this was hypocrite night, the others jumped on this even though they would do the exact same thing. Cain backpedaled. He should have stood his ground. The public can accept views with which they disagree, but they don’t like backpedaling. Cain also seemed to backpedal on the TARP issue. He says he supported the concept, but not the execution. Personally, I don’t think that plays well for a man who is known as a straight shooter.

Ron Paul: Not much new to report here. Paul wants to bring the troops home from Korea and Japan, causing an arms race in Asia. Other than that, he was mostly right all night, but still 10% insane. Last night’s secret word was “inflation.”

Loser: Newt. Newt reminded us why people don’t like or trust him. He claims to be an outsider, yet he attacked Cain’s 9-9-9 plan and then advocated “targeted” tinkering with the current code instead. Welcome back to K Street Newt, we missed you.

Then he got caught lying about supporting the individual mandate for health insurance when he attacked Romney for including such a mandate in RomneyCare. Romney shot back saying he got the idea from Newt. Newt acted outraged and called that “a lie.” Except it wasn’t. Newt danced for a while and then had to admit he did in fact support and advocate the idea. And he tried to explain his lie away by saying Romney had falsely said “Newt” came up with the idea when it was really “Newt AND the Heritage Foundation.” Only a corrupt politician would think that’s a valid distinction.

Newt also pandered to the Religious Right by saying he wouldn’t trust anyone who doesn’t pray. . . though he didn’t specify how many minutes of prayer are required. Finally, he tried to blame Anderson Cooper for his own misbehavior and that of the other children.

Total Loser: Rick Perry. Perry’s performance was pathetic. He interrupted and spoke over people. He took nasty cheap shots all night and even went back to the same ones after they were discredited. He got booed repeatedly. He kept talking about his “plan,” which he apparently released last week or might release next week, depending on which Perry you believe. The only economic idea he could mention was drilling for oil. He tried to attack Romney for hiring illegal aliens, which turned out to be a contracted lawn service and then tried to leverage this into making himself sound tough on illegal immigration -- until Romney pointed out that Perry wrote an editorial supporting amnesty. Perry also got caught lying about supporting TARP. He tried to blame all of Texas’ problems on the federal government, but offered no solutions. He smugly tried to redefine conservatism to fit him. And he tried to go toe to toe with Romney in verbal gotcha and got destroyed. The boy is stoopid. Rick needs to find an exit strategy pronto.

Total Loser: Michele Bachmann. Bachmann is proving to be a politician in the worst sense. She's a clueless hypocrite who doesn't understand the Constitution. She's incapable of answering direct questions. Her whole platform depends on emotional appeals based on irrelevancies. And worst of all, she speaks in disingenuous generalities and then attacks anyone who won’t ante up to her pandering. Here are some examples.

She attacked Cain’s 9-9-9 plan for being too extreme and then proposed eliminating the entire tax code. Huh? And as usual, she gave no hint what she would replace it with. Why? Two reasons. First, she doesn’t have a clue. Secondly, the only thing it could be replaced with is a sales tax. . . like the one she keeps slamming Herman Cain for proposing. Also, despite being a former attorney for the IRS (which actually means nothing -- she was just a debt collector), she doesn’t understand the difference between corporate income tax, a sales tax and a value added tax. And after attacking Cain's 9-9-9 plan for “raising taxes on millions of people,” she then said she wants 100% of Americans to pay taxes -- which would raise taxes on at least 145 million people. Also note that she hasn't proposed even a hint of a plan how she would do this.

Bachmann jumped on Cain for the supposed “negotiate with terrorists” thing even after he clarified his statement and denied that’s what he meant. Then she tried to one-up herself by stupidly claiming she’s so tough she wants to demand “reimbursement” from Iraq and Libya for what it cost us to invade both countries -- that's how World War II started.

She also dubiously claimed she will ban immigrants from getting “any government benefits” (which would violate the Constitution) and she equally dubiously claimed she could fix the “anchor baby” problem through legislation without changing the 14th Amendment.

Total Loser: Rick Santorum. Santorum is a disgrace. He's a whiny fake who tries to disrupt the other candidates by talking over them, by mischaracterizing their statements and plans, by hitting them with liberal talking points, and by making illogical, disingenuous, contradictory and hypocritical attacks. All he’s done is poison the debates. And for the record, while Rick claims he’s the only one ever to win in a swing state (cough cough Romney and Bachmann) and he claims he did better than Bush, let me remind you how his last election went: 2006 Bob Casey 59%, Rick Santorum 41%. Get bent Rick.

What really struck me last night was the difference between the professional politicians and the businessmen. The businessmen kept trying to promote their ideas and tried to stay positive, though Cain succeeded more than Romney at that. The professionals (excluding Paul) used gotcha questions, false logic, cynical emotional appeals, lies, distortions and distinctions so fine they were nonexistent. They were angry. They offered nothing but the same old, same old. And frankly, it made me sick watching them. Am I wrong?


Tennessee Jed said...

missed most of the debate last night so thanks for the analysis. Only good news, I have a hunch this was not watched as much. Only other good news, some of the pretenders will drop out when the money runs out. Other bad news, the lame stream is jumping all over this like WWII just ended. Good news, people are listening less to the msm.

Worst news. Herm doesn't have a whole lot of money. My guess is that Romney will get the nomination, have Herm as VP, they will beat Obama in 2012 and we will half a loaf. Of course that is just what I think this morning:-)

T-Rav said...

Oh jeez, I'm glad I could get a kick out of your recap. I laugh to keep from crying.

One bit of encouraging news: I'm listening to a talk radio program right now, and I think they've gone in for Cain to a greater degree than before. People are calling in to defend him and his tax plan and are really slamming the others for their attacks (Santorum in particular is catching it).

CrisD said...

Andrew, I cannot review as well as you but here is my response-
I watch the debates to learn about the candidates. Last night I learned all negative things about the candidates. Santorum is a small man who introduced himself as a family man and then went on to attack Romney and Cain like a jackal. He smiles when he thinks he injures his opponent. Ron Paul thinks this country has past its greatness but would like to be commander in chief in managing the decline. Appetizing. Herman Cain has the 999 plan but did not defend it clearly (he may have been correct but the other folks muddied up the water). I thought Gingrich was saying that 999 was bold but that taxes were to complicated to be redone easily. Oh, maybe he is right. All his platitudes continue to add up to running for VP. Michelle Bachmann, at one point, faced the cameras and addressed wives who's husbands lost the job and house and said she would fix it and "hang in there" she would fix it. Seriously, I was insulted. Perry stops and thinks in the middlee of a sentence which is kind of fascinating (in a bad way). He and Romney got into it. Romney actually grabbed his sleeve when Perry accused him in the lawn service-illegal scandal (WHICH i don"T WANT TO HEAR MORE ON!!!). Perry did not score any positive points (I guess he has a plan somewhere in his computer files).Romney seemed to still be standing when it was over but he got his hair mussed up. He always manages.
All in all, depressing. Plenty of fodder for SNL. Lots of embarrassing clips. I'm afraid of Romney/Gingrich. I don't know why but that was the last creepy thought before I fell asleep.

BevfromNYC said...

Thanks for the great review/analysis as usual. I just couldn't do it last night. I tuned in just as Romney and Perry starting the brawl and I was too embarrassed to keep watching. I watched NCIS and NCIS/LA instead.

Tam said...

The thing that impressed me so much in the early debates was how classy and professional and united all the candidates were, posing a solid conservative front to defeat Obama. None of them fell into attack mode or fell for traps/setting traps. I knew it wouldn't last forever, especially as we get closer to choosing our man, but this is disappointing. I'm glad Cain managed to stay above it. He's my guy.

Tam said...

By the way...nothing could be as nasty as the socialist party primary debates I was watching in France for the past 3 weeks. In case anyone here didn't know, socialism is BAD. Really, really bad.

Notawonk said...

each day we get closer to the nomination, i am sick to my stomach. i don't want to vote for a so-so candidate just to boot barry. i want someone who is serious about the job, not the image or perks. closest thing i see is cain, but if it's mitt i think i'll actually throw up.

TJ said...

I'm like you Patti - I really don't want to settle for Romney. My mother-in-law is listening to all the talking heads who say that Cain has no chance (and this is on Fox News of all places). Unfortunately, I'm afraid that too many people will buy into that. Hopefully I'm wrong on that. We really need someone like Cain right now.

I made copies of Andrew's analysis of Cain's 9-9-9 plan and am passing it out along with this site's address to everyone I can. We don't need a repeat of 2008!

Writer X said...

I missed it too. I was too busy working so thanks for the recap. From your summary, I'm glad I missed it, although disheartened to hear that they acted like a bunch of spoiled toddlers.

I did see a clip though of Cain saying that the moronic protesters should be protesting at the White House and not on Wall Street. I give him kudos for that. I am still most impressed with Cain. That said, I would take any of these guys over Obama any day of the week.

P.S. Who's Anderson Cooper?

Tam said...

Anderson Cooper was the Channel 1 news anchor when I taught junior high school. He was in charge of brainwashing the middle grade public school kids and has since moved on to CNN.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I thought Herm was in trouble too for lack of money and organization, but don't count out how things will change once people like Bachmann drop out. Her money and supporters will shift and that can change a lot of things.

Also, I saw an interview with Herm last night and seems to be hiring full speed to build ground organizations. So I wouldn't count him out yet.

In terms of him v. Romney I honestly don't know right now how it's likely to shake out.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Yeah, this wasn't the happiest article, but you should have seen it before I edited to remove all the swearing!

That's one possible reaction to last night -- that it will strengthen support for Cain (and also Romney) because the attacks by the others were so unfair.

Ultimately, I don't think last night will matter, but they need to put an end to this before it happens again and people start to see this as the norm.

rlaWTX said...

OK - sounds like being in class was a good thing... thanks for the update and thanks for sacrificing the pieces of your sanity by watching...

I read the sock-puppet thread this morning - I love those comments where I have no idea what the subject said - too funny!

AndrewPrice said...

CrisD, Thanks! All excellent observations! I agree with them all.

I especially agree about Santorum smiling like a Jackal. I noticed that a couple times and thought it really showed poorly.

On Cain, you said it right -- he did defend his plan well but not clearly. I think he said good things, but few people will have gotten those because he seemed to get swamped.

Excellent observation on Bachmann. I actually thought (but forgot to write) that the only one who didn't think they could create jobs by government fiat was Cain. All the rest seemed to think they could "create" jobs from Washington.

Your description of Paul very much captures the feel of Paul -- "an empire in decline."

Perry acted like a jerk all night.

I do think Romney won last night, though it wasn't a huge victory because no one stood out. But I think he managed to come through the cleanest. I could see him picking Newt as well. After last night, I am less inclined to think he and Cain have a deal.

And your right, this was absolutely SNL material.

rlaWTX said...

and I just made my very first ever donation to a political candidate. ever.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, You're welcome! And you made the right call. This was not a pleasant debate. In fact, if this was the first debate I had seen, today I would be saying that none of them are presidential and we should dump them all and go find someone else. They were bickering children.

AndrewPrice said...

Tam, Welcome back! :)

I agree completely. I was highly impressed with the first several debates because they all stayed professional and they kept the focus on Obama. But last night showed what happens when people start getting desperate. Santorum, Bachmann, Newt, Perry and even Paul see their changes evaporating in the polls and they decided that the only way to fix things was to tear the other guys down.

That's the probable with politicians. When a business fails, you change your strategy, you change your ads, you try to convince people that they really should be buying your stuff. When a politician fails, their plan B is scorched earth because they think all they have to do is make you hate the other guy more than them and then they win.

That was in evidence last night. They lied, distorted and attacked to save their own skins. And it really disgraced the whole group.

It was shameful.

AndrewPrice said...

Tam, I've read a bit about the socialist race, but I haven't seen a debate. I can imagine they are pretty nasty people based just on what I've seen. And frankly, that doesn't surprise me since the whole ideology is based on the idea that we should take from those who have and give to those who want -- that was called slavery when the US did it.

AndrewPrice said...

Patti, I think a LOT of people feel that way about Romney. I think there's little doubt that he's not a conservative and I fear that his primary goal will be to continue on as we are doing with only minor tweaks. I too think we need someone bold and right now the only one who seems to fit that bill is Cain. Plus, he just impresses the heck out of me as a person! :)

AndrewPrice said...

TJ, Thanks! :)

I have a couple concerns that Cain doesn't have the money or organization to win.... BUT

1. He is a very smart and capable man and he has identified that as a problem he is working on fixing. That gives me a lot of confidence.

2. When some of the underbrush finally bows out, then Cain will get even more money and support and should get more volunteers.

3. Even now he's soaring in the polls -- momentum creates momentum and I wouldn't be surprised if he kept going until he was 10-20% ahead of Romney. If that happens, he should sweep state after state even with no organization in place.

4. Romney's support is soft and isn't growing. That means he's actually the one with the electability problem. Basically, he's peaked.

5. Finally, on Fox, never forget that Fox is not a conservative news site, it is a center-right, pro-establishment news site. They will always play the "stay on the establishment plantation... the rest are unelectable" game.

CrisD said...

In my mind, it really comes down to: we have a terrrible economic problem. Cain has a proposal. I think the importance of that is lost unless Cain predicates his radical proposal by saying that and following it with his "solution." Then he can "shoo away the criticisms with the understanding that he is not a polyanna but that intense problems demand considering radical solutions. Framing his idea might give more gravity.
Am I whistling in the dark, Andrew?

AndrewPrice said...

Writer X, You're welcome! Yeah, last night was a mess. The real problem was that several of them are now desperate and they've decided that the best way to succeed is to tear the others down.

I agree about Cain -- he's still the most impressive.

Who is Anderson Cooper? Who isn't Anderson Cooper! He's the son of Gloria Vanderbilt -- who speaks with ghosts. He studied at the University of Vietnam. He's a closeted homosexual. He keeps a dead snake from his youth in his house. He's the true "everyman."

AndrewPrice said...

Tam, I had no idea he had a news background of any sort? The first I heard of him, he was hosting a show called "The Mole." The next thing I knew, he had a show on CNN.

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, You made the right call going to class. This was very frustrating to watch. As CrisD says above, we learned a lot of negatives last night -- but that's about it.

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, Excellent! I hope your donation pays off! :)

AndrewPrice said...

CrisD, I think you're right. I think it would help Cain a lot if he made a strong case for (1) why the economy is horrible right now and (2) how his plan helps that.

Just cutting taxes isn't enough, nor is just cutting the budget. People want to hear why their plan will boost the economy.

I think Cain has some very strong arguments in that regard, but they haven't come across yet. He should consider preparing a presentation (like Ross Perot did --only without the informercial feel) and then doing the rounds of the talk shows and essentially giving that presentation in an interview format.

Or maybe the infomercial would work? I'm not sure. That seems a little cheesy, but cheesy often works.

Anonymous said...

Andrew: Like some of the others, I came in late, but I had TIVOed the whole thing. I still didn't watch it all.

I was very actively involved in local politics for many years, and what everybody seems appalled by is par for the course in local politics. So I wasn't quite as shocked as most. That said, however, this isn't local politics. A potential president needs to look and sound presidential, and that was sadly lacking. Still, I can't help feeling that this all may be a symptom of a Republican Party that finally has some life in it for the first time since Reagan. Go-along to get-along and it's "his turn" is not a given this time. That, at least, is healthy.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, "Amateur night" is what it felt like. It felt like a bunch of jerks from a high school got together and decided to argue with each other rather than have a debate. Only Romney, Cain and Paul didn't fall into this, but it's hard to look good when you're part of a group that misbehaves -- it's like being the one guy in a riot who doesn't steal something.

I hope you're right that this is about the party having life. I actually had the feeling it was more about Perry, Santorum, Bachmann, Gingrich and Paul all getting desperate.

Anonymous said...

Andrew: It was pretty amateurish, and I agree with many of the people who saw the whole thing that it's time for some of these people to start dropping out. You mentioned Perry, Santorum, Bachmann and Paul, and I think they need to grow up fast or get out. On the other hand, I'd like Gingrich to stay in awhile longer. He can't win, he's too combative, but he makes the debates a lot smarter.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, Personally, I think Gingrich, Paul, Cain and Romney would make for very good debates with a variety of conservative views displayed.

rlaWTX said...

I really hope to be able to vote FOR someone (Cain) in the general election instead of against... (OK - instead of JUST against). I have voted "Not Clinton" and "Not the Democrat" (Gore, Obama)...
(I also admit that I voted FOR GWB twice, but both elections had higher AGAINST feelings than FOR)

But regardless, I will be voting AGAINST Obama...

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, I too hope to vote FOR someone this time and not just against. But as you say, no matter who it is, I will be voting against Obama!

I have to admit, it is a strange feeling to actually like a candidate for once.

T-Rav said...

rla, to be honest, it's probably better that way. I think we're actually dumber for having watched that mound of crap, despite the witty sockpuppets.

Good to hear you donated! I bet I know for whom...

T-Rav said...

By the way, if you didn't notice, Bachmann got the Wayne Newton endorsement last night on Greta. So clearly, this campaign season is over, because we now know who the one true American in the race is...

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Yep, that seals it. LOL!

I wonder who will get the Fig Newton endorsement?

P.S. Nice work with the sockpuppets in a very difficult debate! :)

T-Rav said...

Thanks Andrew! I think the comments were collectively more informative than anything in the debate itself.

And thanks again for the analysis. It about killed me looking at the pic. I thought for a second, "Wait, which one is Beeker?" but of course that was a stupid question. There could only be one candidate.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, You're welcome. Yeah... Beeker. LOL! Believe me, it was better than the alternative for what is out there for him.

The picture was necessary because it kept me from swearing throughout the article! ;)

I totally agree about the comments. We have a very smart and insightful group here and they showed a lot more brains and character than most of the candidates last night!

DUQ said...

Go Cain! Go Cain! I didn't watch last night, so thanks for doing the summary. How do we get some of these people to quit?

Also, thanks to T-Rav for the fun play by play! :D

AndrewPrice said...

You're welcome DUQ! I'm glad you enjoyed it. Next time, you should join us in the play by play! :)

T-Rav said...

Thanks DUQ, I appreciate it! Although ultimate thanks has to go to Andrew for putting on this shindig for us :-)

And yes, you should definitely join in next time.

tryanmax said...

Thanks for another excellent recap. I would echo someone else's sentiments (sorry, I forgot who) that more people seem in for Cain after this debate. If the consolation prize goes to anyone, it skips Romney and goes to him.

I just wish the candidates, the radio talkers, and conservatives in general would wake up to the fact that we do ourselves no favors when we bloody each other up on display like this. Like you said, even the frontrunners take on guilt by association.

The only good thing I can say about this election year's disputatio ad nauseum is that Bachmann and Santorum, two candidates that I used to think were alright, have had their true colors revealed so vividly.

tryanmax said...

BTW, I haven't meant to be scarce, but I was busy schooling some yahoo on another forum about the 9-9-9 Plan, the mutual problems of sided economic models (supply-side / demand-side), and the myth that rich people stuff their mattresses with dollar bills.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I actually thought much more highly of Bachmann before this election season as well. In fact, I was pretty shocked when I did the profile on her and what I found was largely negative. Then her performance in interviews and the debates has more than confirmed that. Now, like you, I suddenly find myself with a very different, not-positive view of her.

Santorum has always struck me as an insider putz. So I didn't think much of him to begin with. But he's really made me dislike him a lot in this race for many reasons. At this point, I frankly would never consider supporting him.

I agree 100% about talk radio and blogs and conservatives generally. They need to realize that while it might help their ratings to see a bloodbath, it does conservatives no good. The only people it helps when these kinds of bloodbaths occur are the Democrats. And the fact that some candidates are willing to play the scorched earth game when they can't win should be something we should hold to contempt, not praise!

On the plus side, I am hearing a lot of conservatives who actually agree with that and they did not approve of the conduct during the debate.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, You mean the rich aren't like Scrooge McDuck?! LOL!

tryanmax said...

Did you see the Family Guy episode where Peter tried to do a Scrooge McDuck dive? No? Well, here it is: LINK

T-Rav said...

A few of the pro-Perry blogs I visit (yes, they're still in the tank for him, I can't imagine why) have really gone off the rails, attacking Cain for having a "Value-Added Tax." It seems, after you educated us about it yesterday, that this shouldn't be too hard to figure out, but they're still on it. I realize it sucks to have your favorite guy collapse, and I know they're probably desperate to have a solid alternative to Romney (which I can sympathize with), but really? Get a grip, people.

tryanmax said...

I wondered where all the VAT stuff sprang up from. Liberals have been using it to bash Cain, too. But it struck me as odd, because Liberals usually love anything they think of as "European."

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I know some Perry blogs and they really are in denial. They think he's doing great and the polls are fake and everyone else is wrong.

The truth is that Romney has a solid lead. Cain will overtake him in the polls, but may lack staying power -- we'll see. And the rest are finished.

The Value Added Tax thing is a deliberate distortion at this point and they are spreading it because they blame Cain for taking Perry's spot. Unfortunately, that's a very nasty and counterproductive thing to do.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, The VAT thing initially came from Bachmann, who doesn't know what a VAT actually is. In fact, she is confusing a VAT with a corporate tax. She thinks that a corporate tax is a VAT because it applies to all corporations in the chain. Dipshit.

Once she started spreading that, Perry and Santorum jumped on it because they are monkeys who repeat what they hear, and they desperately need something to scorch Cain.

I did an analysis of the 9-9-9 plan (HERE). They either didn't read it or just chose to continue lying about the plan (bing bing bing).

Also, if you watched the debate, you would have seen them use total fantasy numbers produced by a leftist think tank to attack the plan. Ron Paul of all people attacked it as "a regressive tax." And then Romney and Perry tried to confuse the issue by noting that people would need to both pay a federal tax AND a state tax under Cain's plan... unlike under their plans where the states apparently lose their power to tax.

It was a shameful display all around and frankly made me think that none of them deserve to be President.

tryanmax said...

I'll confess that I don't know all the differences between the various types of consumption tax, but I do know that a VAT means loads of paperwork and audits and a lack of transparency. I just figured the VAT thing was a lie because it goes counter to the intent of the rest of the 9-9-9 Plan. That and Cain hasn't said or done anything to make me think he is a bad player.

I didn't see the debate, but believe me, I've seen and heard all sorts of phony numbers. The basic commonality seems to be applying the Plan as thought parts of the current structure stay in place. Otherwise, the criticisms try to create confusion by ignoring and conflating various things. And, of course, if all else fails, remain stalwart that all the extra untaxed revenue will just sit somewhere or simply vanish.

That's what the one conversation I was in was about. I went around and around with this guy who insists the Plan is regressive and that higher earners would neither spend nor invest whatever monies would free up. He kept saying that rich people spend their money on things that aren't taxed. When I asked, "like what?" he called me dense and said said I was putting up straw men and then admitted that they put it in investments.

I don't think he likes me much, anymore.

AndrewPrice said...

The thing about the VAT is that it's a hidden tax because you are basically applying a sales tax at each stage of production except the final sale. So the customer sees $100 and doesn't know that $25 of that is tax. It also taxes inputs -- the value you add -- rather than just the sales price.

Cain's plan is a simple sales tax. But calling it a VAT makes it sound horrible and mysterious and dangerously European. It's a lie meant to make people think this plan is something it is not.

You're right on the attacks. They are basically based on false logic that says:

1. Consumers, producers and taxpayers won't change their behavior -- the same attack used on Reaganomics.

2. The claim that some how we won't be able to lower the income tax, thus when Cain's plan is recalculated as a 9-30-30 plan, it becomes a horrible plan.

3. It won't produce enough revenues/it produces too much revenue.

4. Congress will turn 9-9-9 into 30-30-30 some day, so we better not risk it.

5. It's only 9-9-9 unless you consider state taxes, then it's way worse than the current system.

6. It's risky and dangerous and we should stick to something safe, like a targeted tax cut for llama salesmen who make between $45,000 and $45,003 each year.

7. Cain can't deliver, but my candidate can actually get the whole tax code tossed out and replaced with a single tax on unicorns.

On knowing the difference between a VAT and a sales tax, that is something I would expect someone in the Congress, who is running for President, who claims to have a tax plan, and who was once a tax attorney to know. Not know that is like a hunter not knowing the difference between a rifle and a handgun.

rlaWTX said...

I'd love to see the numbers on the unicorn tax!!!

rlaWTX said...

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, Excellent article! LINK -- and very on point.

Unfortunately, I think this will be lost on several of the contenders whose goal seems to be to burn everyone else down to help themselves.

I'm told the Unicorn Tax has brought in puts of gold and clover!

tryanmax said...

Wouldn't you know it? I am now banned from that other site where I was defending 9-9-9 and my posts have been removed. None so blind...

AndrewPrice said...

I'm not surprised. Some people have no tolerance for different opinions and in the blog world you especially see that a lot.

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