What to Read on Herman Cain

On the Ropes With Herman Cain — T. A. Frank

In October, Cain had to undo damage from the following: a suggestion to put up an electrified fence on the Mexican border, statements endorsing a woman’s right to choose, an apparent unfamiliarity with the terms “right of return” and “neoconservative,” a tentative thumbs-up to negotiating with Al Qaeda for prisoners and news stories of a completely mismanaged campaign.

Now allegations of sexual harassment have drowned out pretty much anything else related to Herman Cain. And if that’s in any way a blessing, it’s only because it diverted attention from what may have been some serious violations of campaign-finance laws.

Herman Cain gets away with stuff like this — stuff like being inconsiderate or egomaniacal, or just stuff like saying absolutely the wrong thing. An ordinary candidate wouldn’t recover from saying that he wouldn’t appoint Muslims to his cabinet…

Most of [Cain’s] former staff members…speak of a man so egotistical that careful self-policing would never really enter into the realm of consideration.

They also speak — bitterly — of a candidate with zero interest in policy… They speak of unrelenting self-absorption, even by the standards of a politician.

Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 Plan: $210k Tax Cut for Richest 1%, $2k Tax Hike for Bottom Three-Fifths of Taxpayers — Citizens for Tax Justice

Cain’s proposed tax plan would replace all existing federal taxes with three new taxes: a flat nine percent individual income tax, a flat nine percent “business tax,” and a nine percent national sales tax.

Moreover, under the 9-9-9 plan, the United States government would collect about $340 billion less in revenue in 2011 alone.

Herman Cain: Nein, Nein, Nein! — Justin Raimondo

[Cain wrote] that the “war on terrorism” is a conflict that “will be fought forever.”

Cain promotes the views of Pastor Rod Parsley, an evangelical nut-job who not only teaches Islam is an “anti-Christ religion” based on “deception,” and that the prophet Mohammed was a “demon spirit,” but also claims “America was founded in part, with the intention of seeing this false religion destroyed.”

[Cain believes] that “World War III” has already started…: “In WW III, our enemy is the irreconcilable terrorist wing of a religion — Islam — and a handful of nations that harbor terrorists and fund their activities. Those nations include Iran, Syria, Venezuela and North Korea.”

I’m sure Hugo Chavez will be very surprised to learn he’s been lording it over a Muslim country rather than a staunchly Catholic one — and I can only imagine the look on Kim Jong Il’s face when he he hears the muezzin’s call to prayer ring out over the streets of Pyongyang.

The Flat-Tax Fraud — Robert Reich

[The] non-partisan Tax Policy Center estimates that Cain’s plan (the only one out there so far) would lower the after-tax incomes of poor households (incomes below $30,000) by 16 to 20 percent, while increasing the incomes of wealthier households (incomes above $200,000) by 5 to 22 percent, on average.

Under Cain’s plan, fully 95 percent of households with more than $1 million in income would get an average tax cut of $487,300. And capital gains (a major source of income for the very rich) would be tax free.

What to Read on State Finances

The Shameful Attack on Public Employees — Robert Reich

They say public employees earn far more than private-sector workers. That’s untrue when you take account of level of education. Matched by education, public sector workers actually earn less than their private-sector counterparts.

The final Republican canard is that bargaining rights for public employees have caused state deficits to explode. In fact there’s no relationship between states whose employees have bargaining rights and states with big deficits.

The Texas Omen — Paul Krugman

Wasn’t Texas supposed to be thriving even as the rest of America suffered? Didn’t its governor declare, during his re-election campaign, that “we have billions in surplus”? Yes, it was, and yes, he did. But reality has now intruded, in the form of a deficit expected to run as high as $25 billion over the next two years.

Some Right, Some Wrong in “60 Minutes” Story on State Budgets — Nicholas Johnson

[States] aren’t guilty of “reckless spending.”  Total state and local spending, not including federal grants, is no larger now as a share of the economy than it was 20 years ago…  State general fund spending in 2011 will be 6 percent lower than it was in 2008, without adjusting for inflation…

Behind the Population Shift — Edward L. Glaeser

Low incomes and productivity in the growing states of the Sun Belt strongly suggest that their expansion is not driven by outsize economic success.

A rich body of research shows that regulation, which is intense in the Northeast and California but lax in the Sun Belt, explains why housing is supplied so readily down South. The future shape of America is being driven not by quality of life or economic success but by the obscure rules regulating local land use.

Best of the Week: September 12-18, 2010

10. Freedom, Democracy, and Human Rights in Syria — Robert Fisk
9. When the Economy Needs a Brave and Smiley Face — Tyler Cowen
8. State and Local Public Employees Undercompensated — Economic Policy Institute and The Shortcomings of Using States for Federal Macroeconomic Fiscal Policy — Robert P. Inman
7. Stealing Newman — Garry Wills and Iraq’s Ignored Victims — Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick
6. The Two Categories of American Corporations and Their Politics — Robert Reich and When Everybody Exports, Nobody Wins — Simon Kennedy
5. Lessons from the Great Depression — Kevin O’Rourke and Study Finds CEO Salaries Increase with Layoffs — Nadia Prupis
4. This Is Basel III?? — Richard Smith and Third Time’s the Charm? and Risk and Regulation — Noah Millman
3. Why We Can’t Ignore Growing Income Inequality, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, and Part 9 — Timothy Noah
2. Take a Walk on the Supply Side: Tax Cuts on Profits, Savings, and the Wealthy Fail to Spur Economic Growth — Michael Ettlinger & John S. Irons
1. Does the U.S. Really Want Talks with the Taliban to Succeed? — Conn Hallinan
BONUS: We Only Trust Experts If They Agree with Us — Christie Nicholson

Best of the Week: September 5-11, 2010

10. Liability and Excessive Risk Taking: Historical Evidence from Britain’s Banks — Richard S. Grossman & Masami Imai and Mortgage Rates and Home Prices — David Leonhardt
9. Free Speech Helped Avert Quran Burning — Jack M. Balkin, They Used to Burn Catholic Churches, Now They Burn Mosques — Juan Cole, and Catholics, Muslims, and the Mosque — John T. McGreevy & R. Scott Appleby
8. Is Chinese Mercantilism Good or Bad for Poor Countries? — Dani Rodrik
7. Did the Federal Government Create the Great Divergence? Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4and Part 5 — Timothy Noah and It’s Not the Party; It’s the Policies — Robert Pollin
6. The Specter Haunting the Senate — Michael TomaskyPeople Don’t Listen to the President — Ezra Kleinand Waves Are for Surfing — Daniel Hopkins
5. Health Care: The Disquieting Truth — Arnold Relman and Why the ER Is So Crowded — Ezra Klein
4. The Crime Wave That Shames the World — Robert Fisk
3. Insights from the Afghan Field — Anatol Lieven and Top Ways 9/11 Broke Islamic Law — Juan Cole
2. Hard Times for Workers on Labor Day 2010 and Holding Wal-Mart Accountable — Harold Meyerson, Confessions of a Serial Liberty-Reducer — Peter Dorman, and Why Obama Is Proposing Whopping Corporate Tax Cuts, and Why He’s Wrong — Robert Reich
1. Beware of Greeks Bearing Bonds — Michael Lewis
BONUS: Keynes’s Conference and Morgenthau’s Dream — Eric Rauchway and How FDR’s Concessions Saved the Social Security Act — David M. Kennedy