Herman Cain's "9-9-9" plan is coming under increased scrutiny.  At issue is the fact that two of the "nines" are sales taxes.  One is a national retail sales tax.  The other is a value-added tax (VAT).

ATR has long been opposed to a VAT, since the European experience with them has been so negative.  VATs started out in Western Europe at about a 5 percent rate, but now average about 20 percent.  There is a 15 percent minimum VAT requirement just to join the European Union.  The growth of government spending in Europe since 1970 is directly-correlated to the growth in the VAT.

Herman Cain would seem to agree–that is, the Herman Cain of less than one year ago.  Here's what he had to say less than a year ago on November 21, 2010:

The worst idea is a proposed national sales tax, which is a disguised VAT (value added tax) on top of everything we already pay in federal taxes…In every country that has established a VAT with the promise of reducing their national debt, the VAT has eventually gone up or expanded on top of the existing tax structure. After discovering many of the tax grenades in the recently passed health care deform bill, which is already driving costs up and access down, it would be real easy for an overzealous bureaucrat to insert the language in the legislation “national retail and wholesale” tax.

Herman Cain (last year's version) is correct.  A VAT would be a horrible idea for America.

So why is it one-third of 9-9-9?