Originally created 02/29/04

Cain proposes national sales tax, Medicare trim



U.S. Senate candidate Herman Cain sermonized to a pool of potential supporters in Martinez on Saturday.

The former CEO of Godfather's Pizza and associate minister of an Atlanta Baptist church delivered a fire-and-brimstone-style speech to Columbia County Republicans at a party breakfast at Dye's Southern Grill on Flowing Wells Road.

Mr. Cain called himself a problem solver and touched on his political platform - eliminating the current tax code, restructuring Social Security and trimming the fat out of Medicare.

Calling income taxes a failed experiment, Mr. Cain proposed funding the federal government with a national sales tax.

"The sales base is much bigger than the income base," he said.

The average American worker is working half the year just to pay his or her taxes, Mr. Cain said.

By switching to a national sales tax, he said, workers would be able to save as much as 30 percent of their income from each paycheck.

Angered that politicians have allowed Social Security to deteriorate for fear of public outcry, Mr. Cain proposes changing the system so Americans can invest in personalized retirement plans.

"Let this train keep heading for this cliff, because people might get upset?" Mr. Cain asked. "That's not leading. That's avoiding."

While politicians are avoiding Social Security, bureaucrats are destroying Medicare, Mr. Cain said.

"Medicare is a $440 billion industry," he said. "One-third of that budget, $140 billion, is administrative costs.

"Doctors are being dictated to by bureaucrats what procedures they can perform," he said.

Mr. Cain plans to further expound on his reform ideas at a June 12 senatorial debate at the Imperial Theatre.

Other candidates in the race, U.S. Reps. Mac Collins, R-Jackson, and Johnny Isakson, R-East Cobb, have been invited to attend.

Columbia County Republican Party Chairman Lee Muns said the debate will be aired live on WRDW-TV.

Reach Donnie Fetter at (706) 868-1222, ext. 109, or ccchron@augustachronicle.com.