Herman Cain, Godfather’s Pizza magnate and wannabe Republican Presidential nominee, continues to fight his way past all the rest of the other hot-then-not candidates like Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry. After a strong start (He was declared the informal winner of an early debate back in May), Cain fell to the back of the pack when other, better-known, wannabes announced their own candidacies. Now, as the flaws of most of the other Johnny/Janey-come-latelies have become painfully apparent, Cain’s stock as a potential candidate has risen, like overly yeasty pizza dough, yet again.
Late last month, Cain won the “Florida GOP Presidency 5 Straw Poll.” He not only won, he beat the pants off everyone else in the field. Garnering 37% of the vote, Cain’s closest competitor, Rick Perry, only got about 15% of the votes. Mitt Romney, the Stormin’ Mormon that most think will eventually win the Republican nomination, if he can ever convince the TEA Partiers that he’s not a Socialist like Obama, came in 3rd with just 14%. Since then, he’s won three out of the next four straw polls with respectable showings in the two he didn’t win. The most recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll also has Cain out front. This all begs the obvious question: Is a Herman Cain Presidency a possibility?
In a word: NO. First of all, I doubt he can beat Romney. Sure, Romney has his problems with the TEA Partiers, particularly since he’s the most centrist of the Republican hopefuls. However, when it comes down to it, I think they will vote like most people vote today, for the lesser of two evils, or in this case, for someone who has a shot at defeating Obama.
But let’s use our imaginations for a moment. Let’s imagine, if you will, that southern, former Dixiecrats-turned-Republicans can get over their fear and hatred of colored folk just long enough to pull the lever with Cain’s name next to it, what then?
Most folx think Herman Cain can’t win in a general election. His support of the Defense of Marriage Act, defunding Planned Parenthood, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and ending Affirmative Action place him firmly in the Right Wing. His belief that Muslims have “an objective to convert all infidels or kill them” places him deeply amongst the Right Wingnuts. And then there’s his reply to a question about the Occupy Wall Street protesters: “Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks, if you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself.”
Right. After you’ve paid all that money for your college education—or more likely, owe all that money for your education—get a job delivering pizzas for Godfather’s. With your degree, you’ll be fast-tracked for management. Pizza is the American Dream in neat, tasty slices. Don’t burn your mouth.
If Hermie has any mainstream appeal at all, it’s all wrapped up in his 9-9-9 tax reform plan. In case you, like most folx I know, don’t pay attention to all of this politics bullshit, Cain’s 9-9-9 tax plan would “simplify” how Americans pay taxes by eliminating the current code and replacing it with an across the board 9% income tax rate for workers, 9% rate for corporations and a 9% federal sales tax. Even I admit, on it’s face, such a tax plan sounds appealing. I’ll take a large 9-9-9 with pepperoni, please.
But wait. If you dig a bit you will find that this new 9% tax rate applies to everyone. No exceptions. That means that all those working class folk who barely make enough to survive and rely on that tax refund check once a year will no longer get it. Too poor? Too bad! Say goodbye, as well, to that great equal equalizer for working class people with children, the Earned Income Credit.
Dig a little deeper and you will find that Hermie’s new sales tax is not just for hard goods, but for ALL goods. That includes food, people. That means that it doesn’t matter how hard you have to work that slave wage job to put food on your family’s table, it will cost you an extra $9.00 for every $100 you spend. I don’t know about you, but with food prices going up, I CAN’T AFFORD TO PAY MORE.
What of the middle class? A family of four living off $50,000 a year currently pays about $3400 in federal income tax. Under the 9-9-9 plan, once you calculate all the lost deductions and add in about $2000 in sales taxes based on average annual spending, that same family will end up paying about $6500 per year. That means the average middle class family’s taxes would nearly double.
And lest you think that this tax will hit the rich harder because they buy more shit that the rest of us, think about this. The typical mark-up on high-end goods is 100%. That means that if some rich dude buys a yacht for $200,000, that yacht probably cost $100,000 to produce. That’s a lot of wiggle room. If you were in the yacht sales business, wouldn’t you just reduce the price down by about $16,000 to make up for the 9% tax? I would.
The Bottom Line is simple, people: Herman Cain is a nonstarter. Even if he can pull out a win in his own party, I wouldn’t give him a second look. It doesn’t matter how many meaty toppings you put on a pizza. If the crust sucks, than the whole pie is bound to taste like shit.
Fernando Quijano III is the former President of the Maryland Writers Association, Baltimore Chapter. His work has been featured in Welter, Smile Hon, You’re in Baltimore & the poetry anthology, Life in Me Like Grass on Fire. An excerpt from his unpublished novel, Forever, Lilith was included in the Apprentice House anthology Freshly Squeezed. He has been featured at the Baltimore Book Festival, Stoop Storytelling, & The Signal on WYPR, Baltimore's local NPR station. In his spare time, Fernando volunteers to lead workshops for Writing Outside the Fence, a program for the ex-offender community, as well as at the Brock Bridge Correctional Facility. Fernando was recently awarded a B grant for his writing by the William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund.