Oct 30, 2011

October 30, 2011: Imagine There’s No Pizza, If 9 were 6, Thin Crust and Red Meat.

"Cain performed "Imagine There's No Pizza", a gospel-flavored parody of the John Lennon songs "Imagine" and "Give Peace a Chance", at an Omaha Press Club event in 1991. A video of this performance became popular during his 2012 campaign. "(1)  This, according to Wikipedia Cain performed with a group of “female backup singers while he wore white preacher’s robes”.  Let’s take a look at this erstwhile Rescumlican presidential wannabee and see how he cuts the pie.

Herman Cain emerges unto the presidential stage boasting a background as businessman and radio talk show host, both of which immediately disqualify him from further consideration.   Let’s look at the Business record:
“At age 36, Cain was assigned in the 1980s first to analyze and manage 400 Burger King stores in the Philadelphia area. At the time, Burger King was a Pillsbury subsidiary. Under Cain, his region posted strong improvement in three years. According to a 1987 account in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Pillsbury's then-president Win Wallin said, "He was an excellent bet. Herman always seemed to have his act together."  At Burger King, Cain "established the BEAMER program, which taught our employees, mostly teenagers, how to make our patrons smile" by smiling themselves. It was a success: "Within three months of the program's initiation, the sales trend was moving steadily higher."[34]

His successes at Burger King prompted Pillsbury to appoint him president and CEO of another subsidiary, Godfathers Pizza. Cain arrived on April 1, 1986, and told employees, "I'm Herman Cain and this ain't no April Fool's joke. We are not dead. Our objective is to prove to Pillsbury and everyone else that we will survive." Cain, over a 30-month period, reduced the company from 640 stores to 563 . As a result of his efforts, Godfather's Pizza sales were reduced from $275 million in 1986 to $242.5 million in 1988. Godfather's Pizza was performing poorly, and had slipped in ranks of pizza chains from 3rd in 1985 to fifth in 1988 . In a leveraged buyout in 1988, Cain, Executive Vice-President and COO Ronald B. Gartlan and a group of investors, bought Godfather's from Pillsbury. Godfather's sales remained level with Cain as CEO, ending at $265 million for 540 stores in 1996, when he resigned.” (2)

So for all the “smiling” introduced by Cain he enjoyed modest success whilst at Burger King but nevertheless presided over a contraction at Godfather’s Pizza resulting in the closing of stores and the reduction in annual earnings.  Imagine another cheerleader in charge of the national destiny!

One must approach Pizza men with gloves on for the level of ignorance is truly threatening to the republic.  I am reminded of Tom Monihan taking ownership to the Detroit Tigers in the mid 1980’s.  He immediately replaced the retiring Jim Campbell with the University of Michigan football coach Bo Schembeckler.  How a college football coach would be suitable as general manager for a professional major-league baseball team only Monihan could discern.  The fact is that it wasn’t a very good fit.  Within a few short years the Tigers would begin that long slide that led to the eventual loss of nearly 120 games in a single season and would take over a decade to rectify.  In fact, things got so bad, that the league contemplated for a time taking over the team while Monihan still ran the show.  One of Domino Pizza’s executives tried to explain the situation to a reporter late in the Monihan era. “You don’t understand my boss”, he said.  “Whenever Monihan is confronted with a problem his answer it to put more pepperoni on it”.  Therein lies the problem.

Simple solutions for simple minds.  The question is which head holds the mind of the simpleton, the erstwhile candidate or the collective cranium of his following? Perhaps it is one or the other, perhaps it is both. 

For our purposes let’s review the 9-9-9 proposal set forth by Cain in the Rescumlican debates as the leitmotif of this attempt to simply weigh the product down with more pepperoni. The "centerpiece" of Cain's presidential campaign has been the "9-9-9 plan", which would replace all current taxes (including the Payroll Tax, Capital Gains Tax, and the Estate Tax) with 9% business transaction tax; 9% personal income tax rate, and a 9% federal sales tax. According to Cain, corporations would be able to deduct costs of goods sold (provided the inputs were made in America) and capital expenditures, but not wages, salaries and benefits to employees. Deductions, except charitable giving, would be eliminated. The federal sales tax would not apply to used goods. Cain also said that the 9-9-9 Plan would lift a $430 billion dead-weight burden on the economy..

Herman Cain stated the following summary about the 9-9-9 Plan:
“Our current economic crisis calls for bold action to truly stimulate the economy and Renew America back to its greatness. The 9-9-9 Plan gets Washington D.C. out of the business of picking winners and losers, using the tax code to dole out favors, and dividing the country with class warfare. It is fair, simple, transparent and efficient. It taxes everything once and nothing twice. It taxes the broadest possible base at the lowest possible rates. It is neutral with respect to savings and consumption,capital and labor, imports and exports and whether companies pay dividends or retain earnings.(3) This, of course, is pure balderdash.  It is neither fair, transparent or efficient and it does not tax everything once and nothing twice.  My wages, for instance, are taxed at the workplace, at the supermarket, and with several value-added taxes as goods make their way through the production and distribution chain. Wealth, of course, walks away from the table unburdened.

According to the analysis of Howard Gleckman the Tax Policy Center,
“When you get right down to it, Cain’s [9-9-9] plan is a 25 percent flat-rate consumption tax — not all that different from the FAIR tax that he says is his ultimate goal. This tax would be paid three times: first on wage income, again at the cash register as a sales tax, and yet again by businesses on their sales minus their cost of goods and services. For tax junkies, the first is a flat tax. The second is a retail sales tax and the third a business transfer tax. But they are all consumption taxes.

Although Cain has spoken about having designated 'empowerment zones' wherein a lower percentage, such as 3%, is paid instead, apart from this consideration, some have called Cain's plan more regressive than current policy, thinking it would raise taxes for most households, but cut them for a majority of those with the highest income.’

“However,” (the article continues) “this analysis of Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 Plan seems to have forgotten payroll taxes. With payroll taxes the employer and the employee split the tax.” This agruement is, of course, bogus. Once again, to wit: All of the value generated to pay the taxes is created by the worker.  The employer simply hijacks his portion of the tax burden as part of the wealth he ‘expropriates” from the worker and affixes his name to it.  Ask the proponents of these schemes if they really think the capitalist will give back all that is currently being withheld instead of simply pocketing it.  The fact is these costs are duly factored in to the “costs of labor” by any business accountant worth his salt belying in the language the actual fact that the entirety of the tax burden is in fact borne by labor.
“In a October 18, 2011 debate several of the other contenders for the GOP nomination attacked the plan, with candidate Rick Santorum  referencing the Tax Policy Center's claim that 84% of Americans would pay more and that the plan would entail "major increases in taxes on people," a charge Cain has refuted ." (3)

Even Republicans, it seems, can spot a red herring when they see it or, perhaps, more pepperoni that the pie can hold. The 9-9-9 plan could just as easily been 6-6-6 for all the care that has been taken in considering the effect it would have on the commonweal.  Beware of the Pizza man bearing gifts for you will be left with thin crust and as much red meat profit demands.

As a simple litmus test ask yourself why, when these proposals are floated, do not the wealthy bankers, hedge fund managers, holders of derivatives and credit default swaps, or other icons of the rich and powerful howl in agony?  The answer is that these proposals are their proposals. (4)  Pete DuPont made the mistake of putting them on the table himself and, by so doing, being altogether too transparently self-serving.  Now they hire the political ignoramus, or the well-healed shill to do it for them.  Pimps for the Grand O’l Prostitute, the GOP., of which Herman Cain is only the latest in a long sorry line.
4. Note that Cain has worked for the Koch brothers “ Americans for Prosperity” a wrong-wing stink tank funded by the Koch family for the purposes of furthering greed in America.  This is yet another attempt to run regressive tax proposals up the pole in the name of “fairness” and “prosperity” when in fact it is nothing other than an effort to relieve the Koch’s of any remaining stigma attached to the concept of “Noblesse Oblige”.

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