Now that Herman Cain's stock has been rising in the Republican presidential scrabble, he's drawing a clear line between himself and the other candidates when it comes to taxes.
Where his fellow GOP challengers are content to tinker with the current convoluted tax code, Cain says he is the only one who wants to junk the current system altogether and come up with a simpler way that everyone can understand.
It's all part of his 9-9-9 proposal, which he discussed on CNBC.
"Their plans or ideas all pivot off the existing tax code," the former CEO of Godfather's Pizza said in an interview Wednesday. "My plan is the only one that throws out the tax code and is a fresh presentation of how we raise revenue on an expanded base."
Cain has unexpectedly become one of the Republican leaders in the crowded field. Entering the race as a virtual unknown, Cain shocked the race by winning last month's Florida straw poll. Recent surveys from Gallup and others have him in a virtual dead-heat with Mitt Romney, the frontrunning former Massachusetts governor.
At its core, the Cain planslaps a 9 percent flat tax — no loopholes, no exceptions — on businesses, individuals and sales.
While the exact figures have yet to be released, the candidate said he has had his plan scored by an analytical firm and he will show that it generates more revenue while stimulating growth for the ailing U.S. economy.
"No, it is not regressive," he said. "First of all, by putting it on sales tax — that third '9' — we are going to pick up revenue that we are not getting today. That helps to lower the rate for everybody including the people that are making the least amount of money."
Those people at the bottom end of the wage scale have been generating big headlines lately through the Occupy Wall Street proteststhat have spread across the country.
Cain has been mostly dismissive of the movement, which he said is misguided regarding the target of its wrath.
"One of the biggest criticisms that I have is that they're protesting against the wrong people. The White House has produced these failed economic policies," he said. "Many of them have bought into this class warfare theme hook, line and sinker and I don't know if we are going to get them back."
Those who feel disenfranchised by the current state of affairs won't feel the same if he is elected and 9-9-9 is passed, he said.
"The American public understands it. They have picked up on the idea," Cain said. "They love the idea of throwing out the current tax code because they all have been abused by the current tax code and abused by the bureaucrats for decades."