Regardless of what you think of the Republican choices for a presidential nominee, they have to pick someone and increasingly Herman Cain looks like he could have a shot at it. Ultimately I think this will be a Romney (and Pawlenty) ticket for the GOP, but Cain’s popularity cannot be ignored. In fact, studying Cain’s rally tells us plenty about GOP voters.
Cain’s popularity appears to hinge on his 9-9-9 tax plan. We all know what this is. Cain proposes a national nine percent tax on personal income, corporate profits, and sales. Sounds good. Maybe. Dig into it, however, and most people can expect to see their tax bills rise, not fall. Critics and supporters alike acknowledge this fact. Even Cain admitted that some people would pay higher taxes. (He simply didn’t point out that the increase would fall on the shoulders of most of us, including the poorest among us.)
According to at least one study, families earning $150,000 annually or less will see their taxes rise under Cain’s plan. In fact the lower the income, the higher the percentage of real tax increase.
When you consider that less than 5% of American households earn more than $150,000 annually things literally don’t to add up. If people act in their rational self-interest, as free-market conservatives argue people do, where do supporters for ideas like Cain’s come from?
In CNN’s poll Romney enjoys an edge over Cain among voters earning less $50,000 annually, but you have to wonder why any Republican would enjoy any support whatsoever from a middle- or working-class voter. Enthusiasm for Cain simply points out a fact about GOP voters: They don’t seem to understand their own best interest.
Moreover, most of the people supporting Cain’s tax plan also subscribe to an anti-tax ideology. Raising taxes is verboten. (“Nein, nein, nein!” is more compatible to this way of thought.) But here are voters who would be, in essence and fact, raising taxes…their own taxes, and they are seemingly excited about the man who will do it.
The winners again would be the wealthiest among us which is fairly consistent with GOP politics in recent years. Still the populist everyman identity that the GOP fosters appears to work. When even the candidate himself can admit that his plan will raise taxes on some people and still gain in popularity, you have a clear example of what’s wrong with conservative politics today. It is the voter.
So this brings me to a depressing dilemma. How can we ask conservative voters to understand more sophisticated policy topics that will benefit our society if they cannot understand their own best interest when the pros and cons are neatly laid out before them?
Herman Cain’s popularity tells us that our problems begin with us, the people…the voter. Until we have a better-informed and more sophisticated citizenry, we’re in trouble.
- The 4 Most Worrisome Things Herman Cain Said This Weekend (businessinsider.com)
- BREAKING: GOP frontrunner Herman Cain admits 9-9-9 raises taxes for some. Republicans shrug. (dailykos.com)
- Herman Cain Faces Republican Fire (huffingtonpost.com)