Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain praised Ronald Reagan and swiped at President Barack Obama and the federal government, but primarily promoted his "9-9-9" economic plan in front about 350 people gathered at Daniel Island School on Saturday.
The plan calls for completely scrapping the tax code and replacing it with a 9 percent business flat tax, a 9 percent personal flat tax and a 9 percent national sales tax. Cain is scheduled to present a case for the plan on "Fox News Sunday" with Chris Wallace at 9 a.m. today.
"I love that some of these other candidates that are running for the Republican nomination are telling you what the problem is but they refuse to tell you what the solution is," Cain said on Saturday. "There's an economic guiding principal that the president and a lot of people don't get. If you want the economy to run, you must put fuel in the engine. And the engine is the business sector, not government."
He said the 9-9-9 economic plan will "put fuel in that engine" by throwing out the current tax code, including the capital-gains tax -- which he described as "the tax that stands between new ideas and new jobs" -- and the inheritance tax, aka the "death tax," and simplifying taxes.
"It (9-9-9) is fairer, levels the playing the field and treats all businesses the same, whether you are a sub-chapter S or you are a C-corp. Then there are no debates over who gets loopholes and who does not," Cain said. "And it gets the government out of the business of trying to pick winners and losers. And with Solyndra (the solar company that got federal loan guarantees last year and recently filed for bankruptcy), we know how good they are at picking losers."
Saturday's appearance was part of U.S. Rep. Tim Scott's First in the South Presidential Town Hall Series and included a Q&A session with Scott asking questions submitted by the audience, including one referencing Gov. Rick Perry's description of Social Security as a "Ponzi scheme."
"I don't care what you call it. Let's fix it," Cain said, adding that he supports a "personal retirement account" system similar to what Chile implemented in 1981 and which was presented by President George W. Bush in 2003. Cain said it failed because Bush "wasn't a good salesman on the idea."
"We all know that the American dream is under attack and the reason it is under attack is because we have become a nation of crisis," Cain said. "We have an economic crisis. We've got an energy crisis. We've got an immigration crisis. We've got a foggy, foreign policy crisis. We've got a national security crisis. We've got a moral crisis. And the worst crisis we have is a severe deficiency of leadership crisis."