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A Fair Accounting of Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 Tax: Laurence Kotlikoff

Oct. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain has risen in the polls thanks, in large part, to his 9-9-9 plan, which would replace most of the U.S. federal tax system with a 9 percent personal-income tax, a 9 percent retail-sales tax and a 9 percent value-added tax.

Cain’s supporters love 9-9-9’s simplicity and transparency and think it would do wonders for the economy. His detractors say it’s horribly regressive. As New York Times columnist Timothy Egan put it: “Cain is proposing the largest shift in tax burden from the wealthy to the poor and middle class in the nation’s history.”