The government’s safety net is too big and “growing too fast” under the Obama administration, former contender for the Republican presidential nomination Herman Cain said Wednesday.
“We’re not only becoming this perpetual nanny state, the government is encouraging people to come to the government trough,” he said on “The Kudlow Report.”
“This is exactly where we’re going, and I agree with Gov. Christie 100 percent,” he added.
On Tuesday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie touched on the national economy with a pessimistic outlook for Americans.
“It’s because government’s now telling them, ‘Stop dreaming, stop striving. We’ll take care of you.’ We’re turning into a paternalistic entitlement society. That will not just bankrupt us financially, it will bankrupt us morally.
“When the American people no longer believe that this is a place where only their willingness to work hard and to act with honor and integrity and ingenuity determines their success in life, then we’ll have a bunch of people sitting on a couch waiting for their next government check.”
Christie made the comments at a day-long tax policy conference in New York.
On Wednesday, former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown took the opposite position.
“That’s just rhetoric geared up for the fall election,” he said, taking the opportunity to defend the Affordable Care Act.
“First and foremost, Obamacare is an absolute necessity. Almost every president since, I guess Roosevelt, has tried to do something about health care,” Brown said, adding that President Obama instituted “exactly what Romney had done in Massachusetts.”
“Finally, Warren Buffett is correct,” he said. “There is no way in the world somebody who makes as much money as he makes should be paying less taxes than his secretary.”
The average tax rate paid by the top 0.1 percent declined from more than 50 percent in 1960 to below 30 percent by 2010, according to a White House chart.
Cain responded with his proposed solution: “Throw out the tax code and put in 9-9-9.”
The plan, which the Godfather’s Pizza CEO floated during his failed bid for the Republican presidential nomination, involved instituting a 9 percent income tax, a 9 percent business transactions tax and a new 9 percent federal sales tax.
Under the tax scheme, Cain said, Buffett would be taxed more fairly.
“He would be paying $200 million just based on what Berkshire Hathaway did last year,” he said. “That’s how you fix the ‘Buffett Rule.’”
Brown, a Democrat, reiterated his support for a safety net, saying that none of the new generation of workers wanted to rely on governmental assistance, such as food stamps.
“However, if they’re ex-veterans who can’t get a job, they need the assistance to be able to transition to a job,” he said. “That’s not nanny care.”
Host Larry Kudlow let Cain have the final word.
“The safety net is too large and too high, and it’s growing too fast under this administration,” Cain said.
"The Kudlow Report" airs weeknights at 7 p.m. ET.
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