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Cain's tax plan blasted as GOP presidential hopefuls face off in fifth debate in six weeks.
LAS VEGAS (AP) ' Republican presidential contenders attacked Herman Cain's economic plan Tuesday night as a tax increase waiting to happen, moving swiftly in campaign debate to blunt the former businessman's unlikely rise in the race for the party's nomination.
Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota led the assault moments after the debate began, saying Cain's call for a 9 percent federal sales tax would only be the beginning, with the rate rising later.
Former Sen. Rick Santorum wasn't nearly as gentle, citing one analysis that found that taxes would go up for 84 percent of the nation's households if Cain's proposal went into effect. "We're talking about major increases in taxes," he said, adding that a single person and a couple with children with the same income would pay the same tax under Cain's proposal.
Undeterred, Cain insisted the charges were untrue. He said he was being criticized because lobbyists, accountants and others "want to continue to be able to manipulate the American people with a 10-million- word mess," the current tax code.
Cain's proposal is for a 9 percent personal income tax, a 9 percent corporate tax and a 9 percent national sales tax.