Cain's 9-9-9 plan would give thousands back to millionaires

McClatchyOctober 18, 2011 

WASHINGTON _ Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 tax plan would give every American making more than $1 million an average tax cut of $455,000, according to a new independent analysis.

All Americans with incomes above $200,000 would get tax cuts under the Republican presidential candidate’s dramatic proposal, according to the analysis by the Tax Policy Center, a joint effort of the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution, both respected center-left policy-research centers.

At the same time, those with incomes below $200,000 _ 84 percent of taxpayers _ would see their taxes increase under the Cain plan, according to the analysis, which is the first to look at precisely what would happen to different incomes under the proposal.

Cain’s 9-9-9 plan has captured the imagination of many Republicans and fed his meteoric rise to the top tier in polls on the contest for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. He proposes to replace all federal taxes with a 9 percent flat tax on personal income, a 9 percent flat tax on corporate income, and a 9 percent national sales tax.

He has been vague about the proposal’s details, and his campaign has refused to answer questions from McClatchy.

“I invite every American to do their own math, because most of these are knee-jerk reactions,” Cain said in a debate with Republican rivals Tuesday night. “It does not raise taxes on those that are making the least.”

The Tax Policy Center found a different result. It based its analysis on Cain’s public comments and documents from Fiscal Associates, a firm that analyzed the plan for Cain.

The study found that high incomes would get tax cuts from the 9 percent flat tax. The wealthy now pay a 35 percent marginal rate on their income above $379,150.

Those with cash incomes between $200,000 and $500,000 would get an average tax cut of $11,155.

Those with cash incomes between $500,000 and $1 million would get an average tax cut of $59,489.

And those with incomes above $1 million would get the average tax cut of $455,247.

Tax increases would fall on all lower incomes, with the heaviest burden on the middle class, the Tax Policy Center found. The breakdown:

_ For those with incomes below $10,000, the average tax increase would be $1,122;

_ For $10,000-$20,000, the average tax increase would be $2,705.

_ For $20,000-$30,000, the average tax increase would be $3,833.

_ For $30,000-$40,000, the average tax increase would be $4,196.

_ For $40,000-$50,000, the average tax increase would be $4,399.

_ For $50,000-$75,000, the average tax increase would be $4,326.

_ For $75,000-$100,000, the average tax increase would be $4,368.

_ For $100,000-$200,000, the average tax increase would be $2,105.

Looked at another way, the lowest fifth would see an average tax increase of $1,854.

The second highest fifth would see an average tax increase of $3,898.

The third highest would see an average tax increase of $4,330.

The fourth would see an average tax increase of $4,299.

And the top 20 percent would see an average tax cut of $14,442.

All of those are based on the assumption that the Bush-era tax cuts would be extended.

The study also answered a key question about whether Cain’s plan would be “revenue neutral” as he says, meaning it would raise the same amount of money as current tax law.

The study found that the Cain tax plan would raise about $2.55 trillion in tax revenue to finance the federal government if enacted in 2013. That would be “virtually the same amount” as the government would collect in 2013 if the Bush tax cuts are extended past their expiration at the end of 2012.

It would be $300 billion less, however, than the amount that would be collected in 2013 if the Bush tax cuts expire. ON THE WEB

For the Tax Policy Center analysisTax Policy Center

Tax Policy Center’s definition of cash income

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