Why Herman Cain Should Show California Some Love

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Dear Herman Cain,

Your "9-9-9" tax plan has taken the political world by storm. Ever since you started talking about moving to 9 percent for federal income taxes, 9 percent for corporate taxes, and establishing a new 9 percent federal sales tax, you've been soaring in the polls.

You're the new frontrunner in the contest for the GOP presidential nomination.

But there are skeptics out there. Some people say your plan is way too regressive, because it involves big cuts in income and corporation taxes (and rich people have the most income and are most likely to benefit from these cuts) and because it establishes a sales tax that everyone would pay.

Other people say your kind of tax system simply can't be instituted. Or that it wouldn't work if it were instituted.

You have a trump card you could play to rebut such attacks. But for some reason you're not playing it. Maybe you just don't know that there's a big state that's already put your plan in place.

It's called California.

Yes, the Golden State has a tax structure that comes closer to 9-9-9 than anywhere else.

While Caifornia has multiple tax brackets, the largest bracket -- and the one the most people pay -- is for individuals making over $48,029 a year and less than $1 million a year. They pay -- you guessed it -- 9.3 percent. We'd be happy to drop it to 9 percent in your honor.

And corporations (with the exception of banks and certain financial firms) pay an 8.84 percent tax rate. (We'd round it up to 9 percent for you, but you might not like it).

And while state sales tax is 7.25 percent, local governments add on a cent or two, which means that Californians are paying about 9 percent on their purchases.

Now, you may have heard that there are a few critics of California's tax and fiscal systems.

On the right, a few deadenders say the tax rates are so high that they're driving people and businesses out of the state.

On the left, a handful of cranks say the tax system simply doesn't collect revenue for a growing state because the relatively flat nature of the income tax doesn't capture enough revenue for the rich.

In the middle, some people make some kind of argument that this tax structure is so volatile that it contributes to the state's big budget deficits.

But no one really understands that argument.

Forget those critics. And thank you.

It's refreshing to hear a presidential candidate -- and a Republican one at this - offer such a full-throated defense of a California-style system. We're honored you see us a model for the nation.

What's puzzling is that you won't mention our state by name as an example of where you want to take the country.

Is it something about our reputation in national or international economic circles?

No way.

We're sure it just keeps slipping your mind.

Yours in mutual love,


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