Cain’s Satanic tax plan

Hasn’t anyone noticed that 999 is just 666 inverted?

Sure, Mitt Romney is a Mormon, and Mormons are a cult who believe that the Garden of Eden was in Missouri rather than in the geographically impossible location described in Genesis.

But at least he’s not the Anti-Christ.

Update Ooops! I’d missed Michelle Bachmann’s comment, which some RBC commenters had obviously seen:

“One thing I would say is, when you take the 9-9-9 plan and you turn it upside down, I think the devil’s in the details.”

Somehow I think The Onion won’t be able to stay in business long if people can’t tell it stories from actual news. Will Rogers said that he didn’t make jokes: he just reported on politics.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

25 thoughts on “Cain’s Satanic tax plan”

  1. Yeah, Bachmann has this territory pretty well covered. Given how bad the 9-9-9 plan is, though, a 6-6-6 plan would be even worse.

  2. I’m surprised Bachmann wasn’t more widely mocked for that stupid remark. It has the same intellectual stature as “God is just dog spelled backwards. THINK about it.”

    1. I am that last person who would defend Bachmann, but I thought “the devil’s in the details” was a clever double entendre, and her smile when she said it suggested that she meant it as a joke. I don’t deny that she might have also been communicating her religious nuttery with the religious nuts who would vote for her.

      1. I think she was indeed joking here. But that does not change the fact that fundamentally, she is a chimichanga short of a combination plate.

        1. “she is a chimichanga short of a combination plate.”

          Well played. Next iconic metaphor includes a barbecue fence!

  3. “God is just dog spelled backwards. THINK about it.”

    Is that where the notion that Elvis lives comes from? (Does he wear Levis?)

    Have the foot soldiers in the War on Christmas noted the similarity between Santa and Satan?

      1. Yes. Those are the ones who keep admonishing us to “remember the reason for the season”. As if Christians hadn’t just co-opted earlier traditions like the Saturnalia.

  4. Hate to nitpick but Mormons do not believe that the Garden of Eden was in Missouri. Or did you mean that as parody?

    1. Better check your LDS histories, Benny. Joseph Smith received a prophecy that the actual site of the Garden of Eden lies in Independence, Missouri. He purchased the property intending to establish the New Zion there, but was chased out of Missouri before they could build their city.

      The property (or some piece of it) was inherited by Emma Smith after Joseph’s lynching, and she passed it on to the Reorganized CLDS (now the Community of Christ). The property is apparently a sticking between the two churches.

      1. I’d like to see some evidence for this claim. Joseph Smith claimed that New Zion would be founded in Independence Missouri (Pearl of Great Price), and the LDS tried to purchase large parcels for the establishment of an LDS Vatican, however that never came to fruition as the LDS escaped west of the Mississippi.

        1. Ask, and you shall receive: From The Ensign (January 1994, in a section called, “I have a question.” The Ensign of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is a magazine published by the LDS Church.

          The question asked was, “What do we know about the location of the garden of Eden?” I’m reproducing the answer in full below:

          Bruce A. Van Orden, associate professor of Church history, Brigham Young University. We must remember that the whole earth was paradisiacal before the Fall. The Garden of Eden was a center place. After the Fall, there was no Garden of Eden or paradisiacal status on earth. Yet relative to the locale of the site of the Garden of Eden, the Prophet Joseph Smith learned through revelation (D&C 57) that Jackson County was the location of a Zion to be and the New Jerusalem to come. The Prophet first visited Jackson County, Missouri, in the summer of 1831. The Prophet visited Jackson County again in April and May 1832. On one of the occasions, or perhaps both, the Prophet Joseph apparently instructed his close associates, and perhaps even a general Church gathering, that the ancient Garden of Eden was also located in Jackson County.

          Brigham Young stated, “Joseph the Prophet told me that the garden of Eden was in Jackson [County] Missouri.” (Journal of Wilford Woodruff, vol. 5, 15 Mar. 1857, Archives Division, Church Historical Dept., Salt Lake City.) Heber C. Kimball said: “From the Lord, Joseph learned that Adam had dwelt on the land of America, and that the Garden of Eden was located where Jackson County now is.” (Andrew Jenson, Historical Record, 9 vols., Salt Lake City: Andrew Jenson, 1888, 7:439; see also Orson F. Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1967, p. 219.) Other early leaders have given the same information.

          Unfortunately, we do not have primary source documentation for all of Joseph Smith’s revelations or doctrinally related declarations. This is especially true for the periods when he did not have a scribe to keep a record of his daily activities. His 1831 and 1832 trips to Missouri fit into this category.

          One of the early Latter-day Saint residents of Jackson County was Emily Austin. Remembering her first year there, she reminisced, “Our homes in this new country presented a prosperous appearance—almost equal to Paradise itself—and our peace and happiness, we flattered ourselves, were not in a great degree deficient to that of our first parents in the garden of Eden.” (Mormonism; or, Life among the Mormons, New York:AMS Press, 1971, p. 67.) She was reflecting a commonly held belief among the Saints that Eden was in Jackson County.

          It wasn’t until May 1838 that revelation (D&C 116) identified Adam-ondi-Ahman, a site near the Garden of Eden, to be in Daviess County, Missouri, some seventy miles from present-day Kansas City. (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 4 vols., New York City: Macmillan, 1992, 1:19–20.) Other revelations referring to Adam-ondi-Ahman were D&C 78:15–16 and D&C 107:53–57.

          President Joseph Fielding Smith said: “In accord with the revelations given to the Prophet Joseph Smith, we teach that the Garden of Eden was on the American continent located where the City of Zion, or the New Jerusalem, will be built. When Adam and Eve were driven out of the Garden, they eventually dwelt at a place called Adam-ondi-Ahman, situated in what is now Daviess County, Missouri. … We are committed to the fact that Adam dwelt on [the] American continent.” (Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., comp. Bruce R. McConkie, Salt Lake City:Bookcraft, 1956, 3:74. Compare Answers to Gospel Questions, 5 vols., Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1957–75, 2:93–95, 4:19–24; and Alvin R. Dyer, in Conference Report, Oct. 1968, pp. 108–9.)

          That seems pretty clear. A prominent Mormon scholar at the Church’s University believes the Garden was located near Independence, and the Church authorized its publication in a quasi-official Church periodical.

  5. Really, Mark? The 999 tax is awfulness and regressiveness defined, and you choose to make a cheap (and unoriginal) joke about the number of the beast?

    For those of you who haven’t seen the details, Cain’s plan would scrap the payroll tax (15% on the first 100k or so of income, really quite regressive, dedicated to Social Security and Medicare) and the current income and corporate taxes. He’d kill the capital gains tax. I’m not sure what his position is on the estate tax; my guess is, he’d kill it, too.
    He’d replace all these taxes with a national 9% sales tax, apparently on everything; a 9% flat tax on earned income; and a 9% tax on corporate profits. But these last would be redefined: at present, corporations deduct wage costs and other business expenses from their gross revenue to determine taxable net profit; under Cain’s 999 tax, the wages aren’t deductible. You just became 9% more expensive to employ – which is inevitably a second flat 9% income tax. So, now you’re paying a flat 18% on your income, and 9% on all purchases. If you’re in the bottom half of society, you probably spend most every penny you earn, so that’s a flat 27% tax. Add in some sales tax earlier in the supply chain of the goods you buy, and it may crest over 30%.

    For comparison, half of all wage-earning households pay no income tax, and pay only the 15% payroll tax. These people – the working poor – would see their federal taxes double. A family earning the median wage of $50,000 – very middle-class – would see their taxes rise by almost $5,000. The working wealthy would see huge tax cuts; their heirs and those people already wealthy would see their taxes almost disappear, paying only the sales tax.

    In short, the 999 plan is diabolical – but that’s not a matter for cheap jokes.

    1. Krugman quotes a summary at his blog:

      A middle income household making between about $64,000 and $110,000 would get hit with an average tax increase of about $4,300, lowering its after-tax income by more than 6 percent and increasing its average federal tax rate (including income, payroll, estate and its share of the corporate income tax) from 18.8 percent to 23.7 percent. By contrast, a taxpayer in the top 0.1% (who makes more than $2.7 million) would enjoy an average tax cut of nearly $1.4 million, increasing his after-tax income by nearly 27 percent. His average effective tax rate would be cut almost in half to 17.9 percent. In Cain’s world, a typical household making more than $2.7 million would pay a smaller share of its income in federal taxes than one making less than $18,000. This would give Warren Buffet severe heartburn.

    2. Wait, really? The 999 plan is terrible? All I’d read about it anywhere was 666 jokes. Thank god for this comment on RBC or I’d have had no idea.

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