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Has Herman Cain peaked?

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Over the last couple of weeks, Herman Cain has rocketed to the top of the GOP polls. But popularity brings scrutiny. Will he stand up to it?

Two weeks back, Herman Cain cleverly managed to bring up his “9-9-9 Plan” in response to nearly every question at a GOP debate focused on the economy. Following the debate, his plan fell under greater scrutiny.

Cain simultaneously insisted two points: That his plan would not increase taxes on the poor, and that it would expand the tax base.

The way to expand the tax base is to add more people to it. Which people? The nearly 50% of Americans presently not paying income taxes because they earn too little. Thereby increasing taxes on the poor.

Analyses of his plan confirmed that it would be highly regressive in nature. The 9% national sales tax on all new goods — including food and medicine — would disproportionately affect lower-income households, who spend a greater percentage of their incomes than higher-income households. In states with their own sales taxes in place, sales taxes could total 16 or even nearly 20%.

Cain suggested families could stretch their dollars by choosing to buy used goods, which would not be taxed. Used food? Used medicine? Thank you, no.

While Cain insisted that a household earning $50K per year would see little change in taxes paid, an analysis by the Romney campaign showed more than a doubling in taxes paid by that hypothetical household. The Tax Policy Center shows that up to 98% of households earning less than $75,000 per year would see a tax increase under Cain’s plan.

Even Judson Phillips of Tea Party Nation has slammed former Tea Party favorite Cain:

Last Tuesday, every other Republican slammed his plan. They understand something Cain is not getting. This is a tax hike on many people, including those in states that do not have a state sales tax. People in states that have state sales taxes are now looking at those taxes doubling or even more. In some parts of Illinois, people pay 11.5 percent in state and local sales taxes. Adding another nine percent to that is not a winner.

Cain finally realized his plan has a problem and on Friday said his plan for poor people is now a 9-0-9 plan. 9-0-9? Is that the name of Boeing’s new jet airliner?

Cain claims now the poor will pay no taxes under his new plan. What about those right above the poverty line? They can pay taxes and be shoved into a net income that is now below the poverty line.

The Nein! Nein! Nein! Plan isn’t Cain’s only problem. He seems not entirely sure of his position on abortion. Seems he thinks it should be outlawed, but that government shouldn’t have a role in outlawing abortion.

Huh?

Phillips provides a convenient summary:

Cain first erred on abortion. He first said on CNN on Wednesday, that women should have the right to have an abortion in cases of rape or incest. Then on Thursday on Fox, he said, “I am pro-life from conception and I don’t believe in abortion.” Then he said, “”Abortion should not be legal that is clear. But if that family made a decision to break the law, that’s that family’s decision, that’s all I’m trying to say.”

As Right Wing Watch points out, more than Phillips find this waffling disturbing. Leaders throughout the religious right, even the infamous Bryan Fischer, are slamming Cain. Says Fischer:

Herman seems to be saying that he is pro-life with no exceptions for rape and incest — unless the family wants an exception, and then it’s none of his business . . . In other words, Herman’s position on conceived-in-rape is virtually indistinguishable from the typical liberal position: personally pro-life, politically pro-abortion.

Can Cain survive his incoherent positions on social issues and his inept tax plan?

I’m thinking Cain has peaked. He’s top of the poll averages this week, but don’t bet on that lasting long.