Friday, October 14, 2011

Did Herman Cain steal the 9-9-9 plan from SimCity?

By Donny Brooks

Along with Herman Cain's meteoric rise from "also-ran" to "frontrunner" comes more scrutiny of, you know, his actual platform. Among his proposals are a ridculous gimmick that would shift the tax burden more on to the poor and middle class called the 9-9-9 plan: 9% income tax, 9% sales tax, 9% corporate tax.

But analysts have been asking where this monstrosity, which dominated discussion on Tuesday night's economic debate, came from. The obvious answer is that it just came from Herman Cain's brain, but those looking for a different connection have found one, that while tenuous, is incredibly entertaining: SimCity 4.

For those who haven't played 2003's SimCity 4, its default tax rate that you begin with in your city is a 9% tax rate on residential, industrial, and commercial properties. From the Huffington Post:

Kip Katsarelis, a senior producer for Maxis, the company that created the SimCity series, was excited that politicians may be looking to video games for ideas.

"We encourage politicians to continue to look to innovative games like SimCity for inspiration for social and economic change," said Katsarelis. "While we at Maxis and Electronic Arts do not endorse any political candidates or their platforms, it's interesting to see GOP candidate Herman Cain propose a simplified tax system like one we designed for the video game SimCity 4."

Adopting such a simple tax structure, Katsarelis said, would allow fantasy political leaders to focus their energy on infrastructure and national security. "Our game design team thought that an easy to understand taxation system would allow players to focus on building their cities and have fun thwarting giant lizard attacks, rather than be buried by overly complex financial systems."

When asked about similarities between Cain's plan and SimCity's default tax rates, Cain campaign spokesman JD Gordon replied, "Well, we all like 9-9-9."

Rich Lowrie, the Ohio Wells Fargo employee who is the brains behind Cain's plan, did not return a request for comment regarding whether he is a fan of SimCity and looked to the game for inspiration.

A receptionist at Lowrie's Wells Fargo office said she doubted his idea came from SimCity. "Probably not," she told The Huffington Post. "I don't think he's much of a game person."

So, no, Herman Cain probably did not rip off SimCity. But the fact that his idea was so simplistic that it could be the case I think is cause for alarm. This is similar to his, and, frankly, the rest of the GOP field's overly simplistic view of the world. Cain, earlier this week, intimated that if you are unemployed the only reason is because you're lazy and don't want to work, a sentiment that has been shared by others of his colleagues. He must view employment like in The Sims, where if you want a job you simply choose whatever one you want, and there are literally no barriers to your employment in any field.

Which begs the question- if candidates are taking cues from video games, even if just by somehow streaming them from the collective unconscious, what other GOP proposals have similar geeky roots?


  1. Now that you've mentioned it, it does sound funny. Maybe it worked for him in-game?
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  2. SimCity offering advice for social and economic change? That sounds interesting.

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  3. SimCity could be a great clue to the real world but it is not the real world. Maybe if more people would rely to this computer game, then they must upgrade it to a more complicated set-up. irs form 2290

  4. SimCity has improved economic status. I hope that people would look this innovative game for inspiration for social and economic change.

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  5. I like what Herman Cain's said " The only reason why a person is unemployed is because they're lazy and don't want to work". He's right, for you to get rich and buy things you want is by finding a great career to support your needs and of course pay taxes when you got work..

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  6. Business could really be tough. Not everything can be done legally like a intraday trading. Some would try to be wise and outsmart their competitors. You can never tell who really says the truth. You just need to be smarter than they think they are.