- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 15, 2011

Herman Cain spent his career in the restaurant industry. The Republican presidential hopeful is best known for rescuing Godfather’s Pizza from the brink of bankruptcy, and now he’s serving up a plan to do the same for the American economy. His ideas are worth a closer look.

Unlike President Obama, Mr. Cain has held a real job, and it shows in his reform agenda. “Certainty is the biggest thing businesspeople want,” Mr. Cain told The Washington Times in an interview. “There’s too much uncertainty with Obamacare, about the new regulations this administration is issuing, about what the tax rates are going to be.”

Mr. Cain would work with Congress to restore a healthy business climate and end Mr. Obama’s war on wealth and prosperity. He would eliminate the territorial tax so the trillions of dollars left overseas by American companies would be repatriated. He also would cut income and corporate taxes to a maximum of 25 percent and eliminate the tax on capital gains. “You eliminate that wall between people with ideas and people with money,” Mr. Cain said. “It will encourage them to take more risks.”

A low corporate tax rate would make companies look to the future. “I know this from being in business for over 40 years,” Mr. Cain said emphatically. “A board of directors doesn’t sit around and say, ‘How are we going to maintain?’ or ‘How are we going to shrink?’ They are talking about growth. But they can’t grow in this environment.”

Mr. Cain’s 9-9-9 plan would encourage growth by further simplifying the tax code with a flat 9 percent corporate tax, applied after deducting the cost of goods, investments and dividends to shareholders. Individuals would pay the same 9 percent rate on their personal income after deducting charitable giving. All other deductions would be eliminated, meaning no more loopholes and special favors for Congress to hand out or take back. Finally, a federal tax of 9 percent would be instituted on all purchases. There would be no death tax, and Mr. Cain would slash the payroll tax in order to help those “on the lower end of the economic spectrum.” The idea is to maintain the same amount of revenue currently generated from the combination of income, corporate payroll, capital gains and estate taxes - except with certainty and simplicity.

The next phase of Mr. Cain’s economic vision eliminates corporate and individual taxes, shutters the Internal Revenue Service and moves the whole system to the national sales tax. Mr. Cain’s been advocating the Fair Tax for more than 15 years. “This isn’t some popcorn idea,” Mr. Cain said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Obama is out campaigning for his American Jobs Act, which would provide nearly half a trillion dollars for additional stimulus. “It’s not a plan,” Mr. Cain said of the president’s spending wish list. “It’s a hodgepodge of ideas that will not work.” Mr. Obama is doing his best to convince the country otherwise.

With one end of Pennsylvania Avenue being run by a former community organizer and the other end by career politicians, fresh ideas like Mr. Cain’s are exactly what the country needs. Republican primary voters ought to choose the candidate with the most solid blueprint for getting this country back on track to prosperity.

Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times.