Godfather of tax gimmicks Herman Cain has a bit of tax trouble in his past, reports the Daily Beast. In 2006, while Herm was undergoing treatment for cancer, taxes due to the state of Georgia were not paid in a timely fashion and this resulted in the GOP hopeful being served with a tax lien. It took a couple of years to sort everything which was probably longer than necessary since it sounds like extensions were filed on time but the campaign is using this non-issue to remind everyone that we need to fix this mess that is controlled by computers and deadlines and things that drive the system:
The Republican’s campaign late Tuesday confirmed the lien, portraying the unpaid taxes as an oversight while Cain was undergoing cancer treatment and the state’s lien as an excessive response that shows the need for tax reform.
“The experience serves as an example of how broken our federal and state bureaucracies are with respect to the collection of revenue,” Cain campaign spokesman J.D. Gordon told The Beast. “The entire process is driven by automated letters generated in response to deadlines.”
Right. Because allowing citizens to file taxes whenever it’s convenient, using hand-written letters delivered by carrier pigeon would be a much better way to administer our tax system.
Cain’s Tax Delinquency [TDB]
Godfather of gold ties and GOP Presidential candidate Herman Cain has taken a lot of heat for his 9-9-9 tax plan. While it has a nice ring to it, not too many people are crazy about 9-cubed including his fellow GOP hopefuls, their tax taskmaster Grover Norquist, and every tax wonk within the DC delivery area.
Sensing something needed to be changed, Cain got his
economics advisor accountant and whomever else is crunching the numbers to go back to the drawing board. And what did they come up with, you ask? Are they throwing in free bread sticks? Fresher ingredients? A gluten-free crust stuffed with cheese? Nope! That would just cause more confusion, so they just dropped a nine:
For people living under the poverty line, “your plan isn’t 9-9-9, it’s 9-0-9,” Mr. Cain said in a policy speech in Detroit. “Say amen, y’all. If you are at or below the poverty line…then you don’t pay that middle 9” – i.e. the individual flat tax.
Mr. Cain’s bold 9-9-9 plan – which includes a 9% individual flat tax, a 9% business flat tax, and a 9% national sales tax – has helped vault him into the top tier of GOP presidential candidates.
But free bread sticks would still be nice.
As we mentioned, former Pizza Godfather and current GOP Presidential candidate Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 tax plan hasn’t impressed a lot of people. Bruce Bartlett called it “a distributional monstrosity” and that it “stands out as exceptionally ill conceived.” When Bloomberg’s Julianna Goldman told Cain that the ‘Berg found that his plan wasn’t revenue neutral, Cain simply said, “that analysis is […] incorrect.” Despite the haters, Cain’s plan seems to have captivated the media psyche, it has helped boost him in the polls and he says that it will be delivered in 30 minutes or less (i.e. “[it] will pass”).
Who is the mastermind behind this plan? Is it a young economics policy wonk? Is it a Ivy League economist known the world-over? Is it one of Cain’s former delivery boys who came up with the plan after sharing a jay with an extra friendly customer? NOPE! It’s Rich Lowrie. Rich Lowrie of Cleveland? No? He went to Case Western Reserve University and got an accounting degree. Still nothing?
Herman Cain says his much-touted 9-9-9 plan is the product of extensive testing and thinking, but the only man he cited as involved with its research — Rich Lowrie of Cleveland — is not a trained economist.
Instead, Lowrie — who’s the only economic adviser Cain has been willing to mention by name — is a wealth manager for a division of Wells Fargo and according to his LinkedIn page holds an accountancy degree from Case Western Reserve University. Lowrie also spent three years on the advisory board of the conservative third-party group Americans For Prosperity.
Now that we’re clear about the credentials behind one of the masterminds behind 9-9-9, don’t you feel better about it?
At a minimum, the Cain plan is a distributional monstrosity. The poor would pay more while the rich would have their taxes cut, with no guarantee that economic growth will increase and good reason to believe that the budget deficit will increase. Even allowing for the poorly thought through promises routinely made on the campaign trail, Mr. Cain’s tax plan stands out as exceptionally ill conceived. [NYT via TaxProf]
Soon-to-be failed Presidential candidate Herman Cain is best known for being the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza. When he took the job in 1986, the Journal reports “Mr. Cain cut costs and closed unprofitable locations and said that he returned the business to profitability in just 14 months.” An impressive feat to be sure and he continued to sling pie as the CEO until 1996 when he presumably figured he could cash in nicely.
Unfortch for Cain things didn’t really work out. And whose fault would that be? The IRS, of course!
Mr. Cain said that in 1996 he struck a deal to sell his stake in Godfather’s to his partners. That’s when the IRS showed up and commenced an audit of his tax return for the year 1994, coincidentally the year he publicly challenged President Clinton on the impact of his health-care reform plan. Simultaneous audits of Godfather’s and Mr. Cain’s partners were quickly concluded, but Mr. Cain said that the audit of his personal finances dragged on until 1999.
When he finally concluded the sale of his Godfather’s stake, Mr. Cain said that its value had fallen by 75% and yielded only enough money for him to “buy new golf clubs and move to Atlanta.” As for the IRS, they claimed he owed $1.8 million in back taxes, but he said that as soon as he appealed this decision, they immediately dropped the claim and asked only for $40,000 to cover interest on “the money I didn’t owe.” Outraged, he nevertheless paid the bill to resolve the matter. He said that such treatment at the hands of the IRS happens all the time.
Godfather vs. Tax Man [WSJ]