What’s Left: This Week’s Topic: Herman Cain



Let’s meet Herman Cain. He’s a political outsider, the former CEO of a pizza chain and currently the GOP favorite to be the next President of the United States. Really.

For the entirety of President Obama’s term, Republicans have criticized him as a politician with no private sector experience, yet this prospective nominee has zero political experience. Sure, plenty of times a congressman or senator runs without any political experience and (if elected) serves his/her constituents well. But can we really live with a President who has never spent even a minute in public office?

Herman Cain has never worked for people in the lowest class. He’ll tell you that he provided great benefits to his workers, including health care, 401Ks and high wages, but in reality, the workers of Godfather’s Pizza (his former business) barely make up a discernable fraction of the American populace.

How will Herman Cain handle those who don’t have jobs? How will he deal with those who can’t afford health insur­ance? Cain has already promised to repeal, in his words, the “Health Care ‘Deform.'” Cain explains that healthcare has to be “patient-centered,” but fails to mention that the passed healthcare reform is entirely patient-centered; in fact, it adds over 33 million new patients to the populace who couldn’t afford health care before.

Herman Cain also has triumphed a new tax plan, “The 9-9-9 Plan.” All fast food jokes aside, it’s an incredibly simple plan to create a nine percent business flat tax, a nine percent individual flat tax and a nine percent national sales tax. For a conservative, this is a fairly moderate tax plan.

But it’s what Cain removes from the tax code that makes it absolutely damning for our country: it removes taxes on capital gains, extends the Bush-era tax cuts (that, if removed, would put an absurd amount of money back into society) and creates the first flat national tax in our country since 1913. Graduated taxes mean that people who make more money pay a higher percentage of their income as taxes.

Opponents of a graduated tax cry foul that different per­centages imply different levels of economic burden, but in re­ality, it’s more constructive to look at concrete dollar values. If Joe Smith, who makes $100 a year, pays a 9 percent tax, he’ll only have $91 at the end of the year. On the other hand, Uncle Moneybags makes $100 million a year, so after his 9 percent tax, he only has $91 million. Yes, both pay the same percentage of their income to the government, but not only does Uncle Moneybags’s taxed income provide greater benefit to our country, he also has one million times as much money as Joe Smith at the end of the year.

It’s ludicrous that politicians like Cain don’t understand that graduated taxes, while not necessarily egalitarian, are by far the fairest way to tax a populace.

The best thing about Herman Cain’s presidential campaign is that it provides a treasure trove of ridiculousness that any American can enjoy (If you don’t believe me, YouTube “Imagine there’s no pizza” and enjoy).

Take, for example, his absolutely baffling comments regarding Muslims. He claims “Islam is both a religion and a set of laws, Sharia Law. That’s the difference between any one of our other traditional religions.” I’d love to point out the Ten Commandments or the Gospel, but Cain was too busy interrupting me with more lunacy.

When asked if a community had the right to refuse the construction of a mosque, Cain said, “Yes. They have a right to do that. That’s not discriminating based on religion.” But wait, there’s still more!

When asked to explain a previous comment that he would not appoint a Muslim in his administration, he clarified that he could possibly appoint one, just he wouldn’t be comfortable with it. “You have peaceful Muslims and you have militant Muslims – those that are trying to kill us. And so when I said I wouldn’t be comfortable I was thinking about the ones that are trying to kill us.”

So while we’re throwing away religious groups based on the acts of a few, let’s make sure that we don’t elect a Christian president like Herman Cain, considering the violent acts committed by Christian fundamentalists. I’m not sure I can be comfortable with him as President.

Contact Andrew Philipson at [email protected].