That's correct. Herman Cain announced that his signature "9-9-9" plan is actually a "9-0-9" plan -- at least when it comes to the nation's poor. Cain, who has accused critics of never having read his 9-9-9 plan through to completion, insisted the 9-0-9 provisions of his plan have been included in his campaign literature all along.
Speaking at the Michigan Central Station in downtown Detroit -- where the unemployment rate is among the highest in the nation -- Cain announced his proposal to create "opportunity zones" in the country's inner cities.
"If you're at or below the poverty level, your plan isn't ‘9-9-9,'" Cain said to the crowd.
"It's ‘9-zero-9.' Say ‘Amen,' y'all! In other words, if you are at or below the poverty level based upon family size, because there's a different number for each one, then you don't pay that middle ‘9' tax on your income. This is how we help the poor."
Cain's announcement reportedly comes on the heels of a study released by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center in Washington, which concluded the 9-9-9 would increase taxes by more than 900 percent on U.S. households earning between $10,000 and $20,000 annually.
Fox News adds:
A day earlier, Fox News had exclusively reported that Cain's opportunity zone proposal is stirring displeasure among leaders of organized labor. Although he did not dwell on this during his appearance in Detroit, Cain insists that those areas that wish to qualify as an opportunity zone must eliminate what the campaign calls "barriers" to economic growth.
Examples of how to do that, as provided by campaign sources, include a number of steps considered anathema to Big Labor. They include the abolition of the minimum wage; the institution of school choice for parents; and the establishment of "right to work" conditions, which allow workers to refuse to join unions in unionized workplaces.
"It's tough to take anything like that seriously," AFL-CIO President richard Trumka told Fox News. "Look, workers are working hard and their wages have stagnated. To have Herman Cain, a serious contender on the Republican side, make a statement like that - that he wants to further lower wages, he wants to do away with the minimum wage - it's almost laughable."
Even Teamsters President James Hoffa weighed in, stating:
"Herman Cain's 'opportunity zones' appear to be an opportunity for corporate America to exploit workers and turn the United States into a third-world country."