Sloan: Candidates' economic plans just fall flat

Former CEO of Godfather's Pizza Herman Cain participates in the Republican presidential debate airing on CNN, October 18, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nev.

Steve Chiotakis: President Obama is due in Nevada today to unveil some new measures that the White House says will help struggling homeowners. Nevada was hit hard by the housing bust.

While Mr.Obama campaigns in the west, Republican candidates wanting to replace him are touting their own economic plans.

But Fortune magazine's Allan Sloan says, lately,
the specter of politics has tainted the economic debate. Good morning Allan.

Allan Sloan: Good morning, Steve.

Chiotakis: So what do you think of all these Republican plans that are floating around?

Sloan: Well, to call them ridiculous is to give them more credit than they deserve.

Chiotakis: Ridiculous? That's a strong word.

Sloan: All right, there's Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan, which when you look at it, turns out to be, according to neutral people, a big tax increase for most of America and a cut for -- surprise -- the higher income people. There are flat tax things that, when the details emerge, you'll discover it's the same thing: it's an increase on lower income people and a decrease for higher income people.

Chiotakis: And is it the same on the opposite side, is it the same for the Democrats too? Do they always come out with the same kinds of plans?

Sloan: Well now they do. President Obama, having sat there and basically wasted two years, is now coming out with plans, none of which will be adopted, which everybody knows is all political. And this isn't going anywhere. The 9-9-9 and flat tax aren't going anywhere -- it's all a political statement.

Chiotakis: Was it always like this, Allan, or I mean, decades ago, did candidates run on realistic and feasible economic platforms that eventually could happen or would get enacted?

Sloan: The obvious one would be Reagan, who ran on a plan that seemed ridiculous when he did it -- they ran on a tax cut program, but when they were in power, they in fact increased taxes because it was the thing to do. Clinton, if you remember, promised a middle class tax cut, whatever that meant.

Then, after he was inaugurated, realized the numbers didn't work and said, well we're not going to do this. I think there might have been more realism then than there is now. And then there was Bush, who actually did what he said he would do, and then kept doing it and helped get us into this big hole. It's a wonderful system.

Chiotakis: All right, well we'll see how all these play out in the election cycle. Allan Sloan from Fortune magazine. Allan, thanks.

Sloan: You're welcome Steve.

About the author

Steve Chiotakis was the host of Marketplace Morning Report until January 2012.

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