Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, the anti-tax advocacy group best known for soliciting pledges from politicians not to support any legislation that would raise taxes, said Thursday that he did not support Herman Cain's 9-9-9 tax reform proposal.
"It's like having three needles in your arm taking blood out. It's much more dangerous than just one," Norquist said on MSNBC.
Liberals have argued that the plan would be regressive — raising the taxes of the poor and middle classes, while lowering those of the rich — and inadequate to fund the federal government, while conservatives have warned that enabling the federal government to impose a sales tax would open up a new way for future generations to raise taxes on Americans.
"With the caveat that I understand this cry of rage that people have about the present structure and wanting to do something radically different, I'm much more comfortable taking the present mess and chipping away at it like an ice sculpture to get it down to what you want," Norquist said.
Asked about the "intellectual heft" of Cain's plan in light of the candidate's refusal to name the members of his economic team, save Rich Lowrie, an accountant for Wells Fargo in Ohio, Norquist said that the next Republican president "doesn't need to come up with ideas."
"The good news is the next Republican president only needs a forefinger and then pen and the capacity to hold a pen, he doesn't need to come up with ideas," Norquist said. "We have a Republican House, we will have a Republican Senate, they will fix the tax code and send them stuff to sign. He can fly around in a cool big plane and hang around the White House and he can sign the legislation that [House Speaker John] Boehner and [Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell send him, and we'll be fine."