So, let's fire up the arithmetic machine and see what effect 9-9-9 would have on the average family of 4 living at the poverty line. For a family of four, the poverty line is at $22,050, so let's look at a family making $22,000 a year. Sneak preview, they will be $6,878* worse off should 9-9-9 (which is 9-0-9 for them) come to pass:
-McDonald's has to pay 7.65% in payroll taxes, so they have to spend $23,683 to hire a worker with a $22,000 salary, with the extra $1,683 going to Uncle Sam
-The family also must pay 7.65% in payroll taxes, so there goes another $1,683
-The standard deduction for a married couple is $11,400, dropping their taxable income to $10,600
-The personal exemption ($3,650 per family member) drops their taxable income to $0
-As you might expect, this drops their owed income tax to $0
-Not only do they not owe any income taxes, they get additional, refundable credits, including:
-Earned Income Tax Credit (.pdf, Page 46): For a family of 4 making $22,000, they would get a tax credit of $4,917. This credit is refundable (i.e., they get a check from the government for $4,917 every year
-Child Tax Credit: Under current law, after the stimulus peters out, our family would get a $1,417 refundable tax credit (it'd be $2,000 today)
So the family's total tax bill would be $1,683 in payroll taxes, plus $1,683 that their employer pays. They get a credit of $6,334. So their personal tax bill is currently a net credit of $4,651, or $2,968 when you include the employer's portion, which you should.
Now President Cain institutes 9-9-9 (or 9-0-9 for the poor). In the process, he completely eliminates the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit. Here's the math:
-McDonald's is still willing to spend $23,683 to employ the family's breadwinner ($22,000 + employer's contribution toward Social Security and Medicare)
-Under Cain's plan, McDonald's has to pay a 9% tax on that money, reducing the gross pay of the family to $21,551, since 9% is more than 7.65%, with the other $2,132 going to Uncle Sam.
-The family will, according to the Consumer Expenditure Survey, be expected to spend even more than their income (i.e., go into debt) every year. Let's assume they just spend their income.
-If you were to spend $21,551 including a 9% sales tax, you'd spend $19,772 on stuff and $1,779 in taxes.
So our family pays $1,779 in direct taxes, or $3,910 if you include the employer's portion, which you should.
Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan, even with the 9-0-9 change, changes the tax bill for a family in povery from a $2,968 credit to a $3,910 liability. This is $6,878 less that a family already IN POVERTY would have every year if Cain's plan becomes the law of the land.
Say Amen to that, you fucking asshole
(*an earlier version of these calculations used a wrong poverty threshold, which was taken from Herman Cain's website (.pdf, table 6). Serves me right for taking numbers from a source I spend the entire post attempting to rip to shreds.)