Though other Republican candidates criticized Herman Cain's 9-9-9 tax plan during Tuesday evening's Republican presidential debate, Michele Bachmann came out with the most controversial dismissal of the plan when she said it could be the devil's work.
One thing I would say is, when you take the 9-9-9 plan and you turn it upside down, Bachmann said, I think the devil's in the details.
Leave it to Bachmann to include religion in a topic that has absolutely nothing to do with religion. But let's forgive her because, hey, she actually successfully pulled off something of a pun.
The number 666, of course, is the mark of the beast -- the devil -- according to the New Testament's Book of Revelation.
Cain's 9-9-9 plan, on the other hand, is a simple-enough tax plan. It revamps the current tax code, instead allocating the code to a nine percent tax on personal income, a nine percent business tax and nine percent national sales tax.
Cain has advocated it as a plan that would ignite the United States' economy by leaving people with more money to spend, but many tax analysts have already disputed this.
Now, so has Bachmann. And the first 40 seconds of her talking about the plan was not not intelligent.
The 9-9-9 plan isn't a jobs plan, it's a tax plan, Bachmann started. I would say that from my experience -- not only in Congress but also being a federal tax lawyer -- the last thing you would do is give Congress another pipeline of a revenue stream.
This gives Congress a pipeline in a sales tax. A sales tax can also lead to a value-added tax. The United States Congress put into place the Spanish-American War Tax in 1898. We only partially repealed that in 2006.
So once you get a new revenue stream, you're never going to get rid of it.
Fair enough. Then she said that other thing.
For his part, Cain responded to an analysis by Bloomberg critical of his tax plan during the debate.
The problem with that analysis is that it's incorrect, Cain said during the debate. The reason it's incorrect is because they start with assumptions that we don't make. Remember, the 9-9-9 plan throws out the current tax code.
That wasn't the only criticism to which he found himself responding Tuesday night.
Utah Governor Jon Huntsman had a better and less crazy quip than Bachmann when he said that he thought 9-9-9 was a deal on pizza. And others, notably Texas Governor Rick Perry, sharply criticized it.
Bachmann, of course, has put her Christian faith out in the open during the campaign thus far. In another instance, she controversially quipped about a stretch during which an earthquake and Hurricane Irene had pummeled the East Coast.
I don't know how much God has to do to get the attention of politicians, Bachmann said at a campaign rally in Sarasota, Fla. Later, she said she was joking.
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