By Manifesto Joe
It's been odd and interesting seeing Herman Cain's surge in the polls as a Republican presidential contender. He's never held public office. He was little-known until recent debates. And, in a political party not known for its progressive ideas on racial issues, he's black.
But for the time being, the GOP presidential contest seems to have come down to a three-way fight between former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and Cain. He's definitely a player in this thing now, if the polls are to be believed.
Now that he's been under the microscope for a while, we can see why. He's the apparent candidate of the billionaire Koch brothers.
The Kochs are the worst kind of corporate pond scum on the planet. According to the Credo Mobile phone company:
Koch Industries' units have stolen oil from federal lands, rigged prices with competitors, paid bribes to win contracts in six countries, sold oil equipment to Iran despite a U.S. ban, been charged with releasing tons of cancer-causing benzene into the atmosphere, and have had five criminal convictions in the U.S. and Canada.
Credo's source is Bloomberg News. Here's a link to the story.
They are also the most notable bankrollers of the Tea Party "astroturf" movement, and hence have a vast amount of clout in today's Republican Party.
Cain, the former CEO of Godfather's Pizza, has longstanding ties to the Koch empire and their extreme-right-wing group, Americans for Prosperity. He and close associates have been carrying water for the Koch brothers for a very long time, as The Associated Press reported yesterday. Here's a link to that story.
Cain's "9-9-9" tax proposal is something that could have come right out of the Koch brothers' boardrooms or far-right "think" tanks. Sounds catchy for the rubes -- but in case you hadn't heard, any sales tax is very regressive in effect, hitting those who spend proportionately more of their income on consumer items the hardest. He would, under his proposal, institute a 9% sales tax at the federal level, and this on many people who are already paying 8% or more at the state level, where the tax structure is usually more regressive anyway.
There was one analysis of how, for example, multibillionaire Warren Buffett would fare with Cain's stupid "9-9-9" plan. Buffett estimates that he paid about 17% of his income in federal taxes last year. With Cain's plan, he would pay far, far less -- and of course, the poor would pay far, far more.
Cain is a Trojan horse for some very sinister things going on in American politics right now. I doubt that even the Koch brothers believe that he will emerge as the Republican nominee. But good performances by Cain will pull the party toward the right and strengthen the hand of the Tea Party, even if Romney is the probable nominee.
Speaking of lying demagogues, then there's Paul Ryan
In a recent appearance on Meet the Press, Ryan, a high-ranking Republican U.S. House member from Wisconsin, said that the U.S. has, at 35%, a higher corporate income tax than other countries have, "And we're losing as a result of it."
What this lying demagogue failed to mention is how few U.S. corporations actually pay anything close to that. Numerous recent studies have found that two-thirds of American corporations actually pay no federal income tax at all. ExxonMobil not only paid no federal income tax for 2009, but actually got a credit of $156 million, for a year in which their reported profit was well over $19 billion.
(To be fair, ExxonMobil spokesmen told PolitiFact that the company’s "U.S. income tax expense" for 2009 was approximately $500 million. The company declined to provide documentation for that number.)
Here's a link to the Ryan story.
One thing it seems that Republicans can always be counted on to do is give you part of the story -- just the part that could help more rich people get by paying little or no tax.
Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.