Poll: People Who'd Pay Higher Taxes Under 9-9-9 Think They'd Pay Lower Taxes

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Nov. 4 2011 10:06 AM

Poll: People Who'd Pay Higher Taxes Under 9-9-9 Think They'd Pay Lower Taxes

Jason Clayworth blogs some data from the Des Moines Register Poll that manages to be distressing and totally unsurprising at the same time.

Among the 400 likely Republican caucusgoers polled, 29 percent think they would be better off under Cain’s [9-9-9 tax] plan, and 31 percent think things would be the same, for a combined 60 percent. Eighteen percent think they would be worse off, and 22 percent aren’t sure.
But among those making less than $50,000 a year, the percentages rise to 34 percent who think they would be better off and 33 percent who think things would be the same, or 67 percent combined. Fourteen percent say they would fare worse, and 19 percent aren’t sure.
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As Cain would say: The problem with their analysis is that it's not correct. Forty-seven percent of people currently get exemptions that spare them from federal income taxes, or lack jobs that would have them paying FICA. Under 9-9-9, poor people pay higher taxes. Families making between $20,000 and $50,000 would see their annual tax bills go up by more than $3000. Families making more than $1 million would get tax cuts averaging out at $581,000.

Didn't Cain lay out a loophole to prevent this? Sort of. Two weeks ago he declared that, under 9-9-9, some blighted areas would be viewed as "empowerment zones," which some exemptions from 9-9-9. The key words are "blighted areas." Nowhere in Iowa is going to qualify as an empowerment zone. But eight weeks before they vote, they remain convinced that Cain's tax simplification plan is going to do wonders for them. A week just went by with lots of attacks on Cain, but no attacks on this factual issue.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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