Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Herman Cain, Real Change or Status-quo "Lite"?

Herman Cain entered the race as an underdog. His personality quickly garnered him a number of supporters and his plain speaking and lack of political correctness made it sound like Mr. Cain was a new kind of candidate, a candidate not part of the establishment and someone who might actually shake up the system. And if elected, could put America on the right track.

During the first several months of the campaign he had great difficulty breaking into double digits in national polls and was usually listed 5th or 6th out of 9 main candidates. Despite the small showings there was a lot of talk about him and his ideas from many leading media outlets and popular radio talk shows. However it wasn’t until the debate in Florida where he talked about his personal triumph over cancer and was able to talk more about his “9-9-9” tax plan that brought him great success in the Florida GOP straw poll where he won with 37% of the vote; his nearest rival, Rick Perry, came in with only 15%.

The Florida straw poll results brought about a flurry of media attention and were seen as a possible GOP establishment “stamp-of-approval” given the fact that the poll voters were mostly state GOP members and local leaders. Some even suggested, before the poll, that whoever won would get the party nomination.

Cain’s surge issued a challenge to all to re-think his candidacy and signaled, to some, that it was time he became “top-tier”.  Despite raising very little money, having no political experience and admitting on several occasions his lack of knowledge on certain topics, this simple win pushed him to the top in the media’s eye and soon after he was tied with Rick Perry for 2nd place nationally.

Of course in the two weeks after the Florida debate the entire race seemed to shake up. Romney returned to first place, Perry fell by over 10 points, and Cain and Newt Gingrich displaced Ron Paul landing him in 5th place. However, none of this really matters if the message behind the candidate is flawed or just plain bad.

With this apparent shake-up it becomes increasingly important to take an in-depth look at the positions of Herman Cain and allow the public to decide in the end who is and isn’t the best candidate.
After 8 years of G.W. Bush and nearly 3 years of Obama America is ready for real change, but not change for the sake of change, positive change leading the nation in the best direction. If Cain is now top-tier and may become the Republican nominee we must ask ourselves, does Cain offer real solutions or is he simply another candidate defending the status-quo Americans are so tired of, only in a “lite” version?

1. Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 tax plan is very simple and because of that it has a lot of appeal. One of the “9s” is a federal sales tax which is added on top of state and local sales taxes. There are 45 states that have some form of a sales tax with many states charging an average of 7% and in Illinois the maximum is a whopping 11.5% tax. This plan is billed as one to level the playing field and create a “fair” tax system. What many don’t realize is that the richest Americans spend less overall as a percentage of their income than the poorest so in reality lower-income families will end up paying a greater share of their income to sales taxes than will the richest. Any plan that adds taxes to everyday items like food and clothing is a tax that will hurt middle and lower income families far more than those with higher incomes. And while a 9% income tax may sound great the reality is for millions of Americans you will end up paying more in taxes. The very poorest Americans pay less than 3% in income taxes and then usually end up getting a refund and pay, for the year, a net tax of 0%.  Under his plan these most vulnerable will end up paying 3 times their current tax rate and won’t be getting anything back.

For upper-middle and high income families his 9-9-9 plan works out very good but for most Americans, and the poorest, it only amounts to less money for bills and more money to the government.

2. American was founded on the idea of freedom for all and the right to worship as one sees fit. The 1st amendment isn’t something you can apply to one group but not another, everyone has the freedom of religion. You would think a presidential candidate would understand this and a conservative candidate would hold it most dear to his heart. Sadly, Cain has allowed personal prejudice to cloud his judgment and would support communities that would try and limit the 1st amendment. Hatred and misunderstandings aside peaceful Muslims have every right to build mosques and preach Islam. Under Cain it seems Americans should have the right to ban mosques which is a direct violation of the Constitution. Herman Cain has also said on several occasions that he doesn’t trust Muslims, wouldn’t appoint them and feels they aren’t as loyal as any other group. This is a gross showing of hatred and no amount of backpedaling can cover up the vial words he said.   
When you misunderstand or simply don’t respect the spirit of the Constitution and when you single out entire segments of the population you have lost any credibility to lead the nation. The saying “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” might prove prophetic when culling civil rights for “security”.

3. Cain has also flip-flopped on the issue of the assassination of an American citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki. While al-Awlaki may have been a bad guy he was still a citizen and the government is prevented by the Constitution from taking the life of a citizen without a trial. In America simply being accused of something is not the same as being convicted and this is another concept anyone who wants to lead must understand. The fundamental right to life and trial must never be withheld from any American because it opens the door for far worse. History has shown us time and time again that the only outcome of execution without trial, of picking who has rights and who doesn’t, is tyranny.

4. Herman Cain used to be the chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and has said that the FED needs no audit. In fact he said that if the public wanted to know something all we had to do was ask. This is something the American public has tried to do, as has congress, but with little success. The Federal Reserve is the most secretive part of our government and is also one of the most powerful. It actively engages in activities with no congressional oversight, and has no real mandate to answer for any errors it makes. It spends more money than congress and is responsible for the devaluation of currency. The FEDs activities are seen as so corrupt and suspicious that 18 Senators and 183 Representatives have co-sponsored HR 459 and S 202 the “Audit the Fed” bill. The National Tax Payers Union, Americans for Tax Reform, Young Americans for Liberty, the Center for Fiscal Responsibility and Freedom Works (along with many others) have all advocated an audit of the FED. Yet Chairman Cain sees little reason to, after all the FED is an open book in his eyes.

4.  Abortion is an issue that ignites the passion of many Americans both for and against but one area where most agree is that in the case of incest or rape woman should have the right to get an abortion. Herman Cain on the other hand does not. He even signed a pledge saying he would ban all abortions even in those extreme cases.

5. One skill a president must have is the ability to connect with the people diplomatically, especially if the main national problem is strongly affecting the domestic population. In the past he has come out against Muslims and then feigned an apology. During an interview when asked about the “Occupy Wall Street” movement he said “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.” Several days later he backpedaled and said that the comments were only aimed at the protesters and then later he said that the comment wasn’t aimed at the people but was an attempt to say “Washington is the problem” and that the protesters should move their efforts there. But the truth is a president needs to say what he/she means and needs to be careful when chastising the populace. Nothing Cain said during the original comment would lead one to think that he wasn’t blaming the 14 million un-employed for their joblessness. For a man who tries to be the underdog who made millions from nothing he sure has a tendency to stick his foot in his mouth and forgets that it was both Washington and Wall Street lobbyists who played a large role in the economic downturn.

There are many other issues that if examined shows Herman Cain to be nothing more than a big government, pro-war candidate who only pretends to be different. Herman Cain said the economy was fine before the collapse, he supported the bailouts, supports the continuation of wars, refuses any form of diplomacy with N. Korea (which only leaves force), and said that we need more leaders like President Bush. 

It is more than clear that what we don’t need is 4 more years of war and economic hardship and that is all we will get under Cain. During the debate at Dartmouth on 10/11/11 he said that he doesn’t care about what bills can be passed he only cares about what will work. Even if we ignore the fact his tax plan won’t work it matters little if something doesn’t get passed into law. With each passing day we see how unprepared Cain is to lead and how out of step with reality he seems to be. 

There is only one answer, Ron Paul. He saw the recession before it occurred and offered real solutions. He understands the root-cause of terrorism and respects the Constitution. Only Ron Paul realizes that without a strong currency any discussion on taxes, jobs or the economy will be flawed and that to secure our economic future we must re-examine the Federal Reserve system. And unlike everyone else Ron Paul has remained consistent and voted consistently for 30 years with no scandals, no special interests and has never voted for an unbalanced budget, doesn’t participate in the lucrative congressional retirement program, never voted to raise taxes and has never voted for an increase in power for the Executive Branch.

Jacob Bogle 10/12/11
Pro-bailouts: (article by Herman Cain)



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