Gingrich vs. Perry. Whose Tax Plan is More Effective?

   Bookmark and Share  On Tuesday, former Speaker Newt Gingrich was quick to compare his flat tax proposal to that of Texas Governor Rick Perry’s flat tax plan which was released earlier in the day.

In his comparison, Newt convincingly argues that his plan is better than Perry’s.  Gingrich is also quick to point out that while the flat tax concept is something which Perry only recently decided to run with, he has been an ardent supporter of flat tax reform since as far back as 1997 when he stated that “There are things I would like to do like a flat tax with virtual elimination of the IRS.”

The biggest distinguishing aspect of Gingrich’s and Perry’s flat tax plan is the rates which the two men arrive at.  While Perry set’s a high 20% flat rate for both corporate and personal income taxes, Newt Gingrich proposed two separate rates and each one is lower than Perry’s.  In Gingrich’s plan, which predates Perry’s, the Speaker calls for a 12.5% corporate flat tax and and a 15% personal flat tax rate.

Other distinguishing features of the two plans involve capital gains taxes, deductions for charitable giving and home ownership, and payroll taxes.

While Gingrich’s optional flat tax system seeks to eventually replace payroll taxes with personal accounts that  yield better results. Perry’s plan does not change the payroll tax at all.  And on the issue of capital gains and  deductions for charitable giving and home ownership, Newt argues that Rick Perry is adopting a liberal class warfare approach that only gives such deductions and eliminates capital gains taxes on  those making $500,000 a year or less.  Newt’s plan fairly offers it to everyone. [For the actual comparison and a list of references demonstrating Newt’s longstanding committment to a flat tax, see the table and lists that the Gingrich campaign provided, at the bottom of this post]

While Perry’s plan is most definitely a good one, and touches on a few things that Newt’s does not seem to, such as abolishing the tax on Social Security benefits, Newt’s plan seems to benefit economic growth more than Rick Perry’s does. Much of the reason for that is simply based on the fact that Gingrich’s rate is much lower than Perry’s.  In addition to that, Newt Gingrich has offered significant entitlement reforms that go far beyond anything that Perry has toyed with.  Together, those two factors alone make Newt Gingrich’s plan stronger than Rick Perry’s.

In a previous post, White House 2012 gave Perry’s plan which he calls Cut, Cap and Balance, two thumbs up.  Perry’s plan still gets both thumbs up.  However; the plan which Newt Gingrich proposed long before Rick Perry put his proposal out,  gets three, not two thumbs up.

Meanwhile both men have done better than all their opponents on this issue.  For his part, Mitt Romney offered a 59 point plan that included some tinkering with the tax code, but failed to realize that he is tinkering with a tax code that is defective and needs to junked.  And while his plan is a solid and accetable program of pro-growth policies, it fails to acknowledge the simple reality that we will be much better off scrapping the existing tax code instead of tinkering with it.

As for Herman Cain,  I am no fan of his hybridized version of a flat tax and a little disappointed in Cain’s evolution on this issue.

Cain was initially calling for a Fair Tax, which is more accurately described as a national sales tax.  The one day he suddenly turned it into 9-9-9, a plan that offers a 9% corporate tax rate, a 9% personal income tax rate, and a 9% national sales tax.  That is a plan I cannot support simply because I refuse to give the federal government the authority to play with a new tax…..the sales tax.

Of course Gingrich and Perry and even Romney may still change their own plans as this campaign plays out, but so far, Gingrich and Perry are at least on the right path to the right reforms and currently, I find Gingrich’s path to be the most prosperous one for the nation.  The big questions now is, which one can best sell their plan and which one can use it in a way that will get their campaigns moving in the right direction and win them the votes they need to become the Republican presidential nominee?

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The following was provided by the Gingrich presidential campaign

Let’s Bump Plans: A Comparison of Gingrich and Perry’s Flat Tax Plans

Gingrich’s Plan Far Bolder than Perry’s Plan and Will Lead to Far More Robust Job Creation and Capital Investment in United States

Gingrich Perry Verdict: Gingrich Plan Better
Rate 15% 20% Gingrich has advocated for several years an optional flat tax rate of 15%, which when coupled with Gingrich’s bold entitlement and regulatory reforms, will usher in another era of booming economic growth and new, higher-paying jobs. The Perry rate of 20% is higher than the 17% that Steve Forbes proposed in his 1996 and 2000 presidential campaign.
Who Gets to Make Deductions for Charitable Giving and Home Ownership?? Everyone Families making less than $500,000/year By creating two separate classes of taxpayers, the Perry plan buys into the same class warfare that characterizes the Obama and Romney economic plans. The fact that there are still two brackets – even under a supposed “flat tax” plan – calls into question whether this is really a flat tax at all.
State and Local Tax Deductions Not deductible in optional flat tax plan Deductible in optional flat tax plan The Gingrich plan has a lower rate so less need for state and local deductions.  The deduction is a federal subsidy for states to adopt higher state and local taxes. Removing the subsidy would lead states to reduce state and local taxes, or adopt their own flat tax reforms. The Perry plan erodes states’ competitive advantages by making state and local taxes deductible in his optional flat tax plan.
Who Benefits from Elimination of Capital Gains Tax? Everyone Depends whether capital gains is long term or short term.  Perry’s plan eliminates cap gains only for long term. The Gingrich plan maximizes the capital investment and job creation that will accompany the elimination of this tax. The Perry plan only goes halfway, and by levying up to 35% tax on short-term capital gains, it will discourage investment, venture capital, and new jobs creation.
Corporate Income Tax 12.5% 20% The Gingrich plan will create a boom of new American entrepreneurship by dramatically cutting the corporate tax rate to one of the lowest in the developed world. The Perry plan relies upon a short term “tax holiday,” then only drops the corporate tax rate to 20% — only average in the developed world, and still over 20% higher than our closest economic competitor Canada, which has a rate of only 16.5%.  Gingrich rate makes U.S. more competitive than Canada.
Payroll Taxes Eventually replace payroll tax with personal accounts, financing better results No change in existing payroll tax Gingrich supports personal savings investment and insurance accounts that would eventually be expanded to finance all of the benefits now financed by the payroll tax, allowing that tax ultimately to be phased out altogether.
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit Both the EITC and the Child Tax Credit are preserved in Gingrich’s optional flat tax system. No information provided. Preserving the EITC and Child Tax Credit are critical to ensure that the optional flat tax system does not unfairly target low-income Americans. Gingrich passed the first child tax credit as Speaker in 1997, and will preserve this credit and the EITC under his optional flat tax system.
Record in Achieving Dramatic Jobs and Economic Recovery at the National Level? Yes. Substantial. See record at right. None. Speaker Gingrich’s Record (1995-1999):•    Eleven Million New Jobs
•    Four Straight Balanced Budgets for the First Time Since the 1920s.
•    Unemployment rate of 4.2%.
•    Federal Spending Held to the Slowest Growth Rate Since the Early 1950s (avg. of 2.9% a year).
•    Venture capital investments grew 500% in three years and manufacturing sector grew to 17.43 million jobs.
•    Bipartisan Welfare Reform that Lifted Millions from Poverty.
•    Over $400 Billion of National Debt Paid Down

Gingrich’s Advocacy of the Flat Tax Dates Back to 1997

From Item 2 in Gingrich’s 21st Century Contract with America (September 29, 2011)

All tax filers would be given the option to pay their income taxes subject to current income tax provisions or to pay under a lower single rate of taxation with limited deductions.

Release of Jobs and Prosperity Plan Upon Announcement of Campaign (May 13, 2011)
Move toward an optional flat tax of 15% that would allow Americans the freedom to choose to file their taxes on a postcard, saving hundreds of billions in unnecessary costs each year.

In his 2010 book, To Save America
To generate another lasting economic boom, we need fundamental tax reform, similar to that proposed by Steve Forbes. We should adopt the optional 15 percent flat tax with generous personal exemptions.

In his 2008 book, Real Change
This concept of an optional flat tax was developed by Steve Forbes when his flat tax campaign was undermined by criticisms that it would take away popular tax breaks. Steve Forbes and Stephen Moore have both proposed giving American taxpayers an opportunity to choose simplicity versus complexity and a single rate over a lot of deductions. They call it the free choice flat tax, and it’s an idea whose time has come.

In a 2008 National Review op-ed with Texas Representative Michael Burgess
An optional flat tax would save taxpayers more than $100 billion per year and reduce compliance costs by over 90 percent. This is a stimulus package that would have an immediate effect on our American economy.

In Foreword to Steve Forbes’ 2005 Book Flat Tax Revolution
I believe there is a real opportunity for a similar grass roots revolution imposing the flat tax on Washington. As people learn how much money and time they can save through a flat tax they are going to demand a simple alternative to the complexity and uncertainty of the Internal Revenue Service. As people spend hours in frustrating and seemingly endless paperwork and record keeping and preparing they are going to demand the freedom for their own time offered by a flat tax….As people watch the endless maneuvering of the lobbyists and the special interests they are going to demand the fairness of a flat tax.

As Speaker of the House in 1997
There are things I would like to do like a flat tax with virtual elimination of the IRS.

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RIP Cain’s 9-9-9 Plan

So much for simple.  After heavy criticism of his 9-9-9 plan, Herman Cain is retooling it to look a whole lot more like the current income tax code.  Cain plans on adding empowerment zones for poor neighborhoods, which is no surprise, but also adding tax brackets and exemptions.  Cain’s caving will not satisfy Republicans like Michele Bachmann who said everyone should pay taxes and then attacked Cain’s plan, or Democrats who have portrayed Cain as the devil for trying to come up with a fairer system.  What it does do is knock the legs out from under Cain’s campaign by removing the one base of support he could count on: the Fairtax, limited government crowd.

Another issue for Cain’s new progressive approach to his formerly flat 9-9-9 plan is that he proves himself wrong in his assertion that it would be a solid, unchangeable plan that future Presidents couldn’t tinker with.  One of the key elements to a flat tax is that it gets government out of the business of picking winners and losers, giving advantages to people in their districts, or buying votes through sin taxes and tax breaks for good behavior.  With Cain’s empowerment zone approach, there is a risk of taxes being a political selling point to the extent that they are now.

Rethinking Cain's effectiveness on flat and fair taxes

The complexity of empowerment zones, brackets and exemptions for good behavior will bog this system down in compliance issues.  The sales tax will basically replace the payroll tax on a business’s to do list, but with added complexities if that is possible.

Anyone with a “get rid of the IRS” bumper sticker may need to rethink Herman Cain.

Newt’s rebirth: Romney’s innocence: Cain’s oops

Give Newt a chance?

That seems to be the message coming from GOP grassroots following another commanding debate performance in Nevada.  Newt Gingrich is announcing on his Facebook page that contributions over the last four days have exceeded what he took in for the entire month of July.

With some of this campaign cash, Newt is making moves in New Hampshire and hopes to hit other early states as well.

To date, Newt Gingrich’s campaign was slowed by an apathetic start, low fundraising, and staff defections.  The general mood towards Newt Gingrich has been that everyone will admit he is the smartest man in the room, but nobody thinks he can get elected.  Un-electability has cost him financial support in a catch 22 situation where he has found it hard to raise the sort of excitement that gets people to fork over even small donations.  In many cases people like Newt in theory, but can think of better things to spend their cash on.

Newt also has the misfortune of having a public record far longer than any other candidate out there.  From the Clinton impeachment to his three wives, Newt has plenty of baggage.  However, none of this baggage is fresh.  This could prove to be an advantage over candidates who have made much more recent slip ups that are fresh in people’s minds.

Romney’s Illegal Aliens

Rick Perry may have made a critical error in attacking Mitt Romney for “hiring illegal aliens”.  This was a flimsy charge when it was made in 2008 and has not become any more serious since then.  Such a mean spirited attack on such a baseless charge is not what Republicans want to see candidates doing to each other.  Perry may be believing some of the religious conservative hype coming from his side of the ring: that getting rid of Romney is as high a priority as getting rid of Obama. 

Most conservatives would rather see Obama go, even if it means electing someone not as socially conservative.  Romney is not going to go down over this illegal immigration charge, and for a good reason.  Romney didn’t hire illegal aliens.

In fact, as an accountant myself, I would wager that under the criteria given by Rick Perry I could discover illegal aliens that Rick Perry has “hired”.  Romney hired a legal US company to perform services for him.  That company broke the law and hired illegal aliens without Romney’s knowledge or direction.  When Romney found out, he gave them one chance to fix it and then fired them.

So, has Rick Perry eaten at any restaurants along the border?  Has he ever used the services of any company that hired illegal aliens?  Give me unfettered access to his check books and credit records and I can easily find you the illegal aliens Perry has “hired” by this criteria.

Besides, did Nannygate in the Clinton administration change one voter’s mind?  Stick to the Issues, Rick Perry.

Cain talking himself out of contention

For two straight debates, 9-9-9 has played a significant role in tax discussion.  Cain is tapping the anti-IRS Fairtax group in the country with step one on the way to a national sales tax.  But the Fairtax has always overpromised on things it could not deliver.  9-9-9 actually makes the Fairtax look pretty good.  Cain has lucked out so far since no candidate attacking his plan seems to understand his plan.  But eventually word will get out on some of the real flaws in it, such as the basis for the 9% corporate tax.

The 9% corporate tax is on gross minus purchases.  For service  intensive industries such as consulting firms, temp agencies, and other such businesses, that 9% tax could easily turn into an effective 90% tax or even higher.  How?  Picture a company that makes $1.1 million gross per year.  They are a consulting firm with $100,000 in expenses and $900,000 in payroll costs resulting in $100,000 in profit.  Under Cain’s plan, it they leave the $100,000 profit in the business, they will be taxed on 9% of $1 million, or $90,000.  Of course, $90,000 tax on $100,000 net profit is a 90% corporate tax.

Now Cain has made another misstep on abortion.  At the same time, he practically handed out endorsements to his two biggest competitors, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.

Cain continues to establish his amateur status and lack of political savvy.  Some voters will find that endearing, especially in our polished political world.  Others will start questioning just how much they can trust Cain to hold the line on important principles and give fast, correct answers in one of the most demanding jobs on the planet.

Yes, he can?

In the volatility of the Republican 2012 primary, one thing is for sure.  Calling this race now would be like predicting the Superbowl in September.  How ’bout them Eagles.  Of course, I called the Eagles faltering before the season started.  I’m usually pretty good with my football picks.  So, allow me to apply some of that prophetic magic here.  FYI, this post is not for the faint of heart.  I’m just giving it to you straight.

Romney is all set as the Republican establishment candidate.  He has had that spot locked up really since before Mitch Daniels dropped out of the race.  Now the one stable thing in this race is that Romney will get the establishment vote.  He will also get a lot of mainstream Republican votes.  But he is going to run into a real issue, and that is with the anti-establishment movement within the Republican party.  All that is about to blow wide open this week as the NYT releases a story about opinions among establishment Republicans of the TEA party.  The GOP is about to have a civil war on its hands.  Whether they can recover by next November will be huge in determining whether or not Barack Obama is President in 2013.  Mitt Romney absolutely must nail down his conservative support and soon, or he will lose Iowa, South Carolina and Florida.

Cain's 999 plan could be his undoing

I like Herman Cain a lot.  I think he would make a great Vice President.  I think he would be a star on the campaign trail.  I think he would bring a lot of conservatives to the table and would bring the TEA party and anti-establishment wing to the table.  Here’s the problem: Herman Cain’s 9 9 9 plan sucks.  He would do better to drop that plan completely and advocate a Fairtax, which I also oppose for various reasons you can find here.  But even the Fairtax is better than 9 9 9.  Cain’s 9 9 9 plan has several Achilles’s heels hidden in its simplicity.  Perhaps the worst is the 9% flat tax on corporation’s gross profits minus purchases and dividends.  Unless Cain plans to include payroll with purchases, his 9% flat tax could turn into an effective 99% tax, or even higher, on low margin service industries with high labor costs.  But simplicity and feel good soundbites are what drives the Cain campaign.  Sometimes those soundbites are the common sense we are all thinking, but nobody who represents us is saying.  In those times, I love Herman Cain.  Other times it’s not much better than the soundbites written on a Wall Street mob sign.  Great for riling you up, until you stop and think about it.

Right now, we are watching the French Revolution in the TEA party and anti-establishment wing of the Republican party.  And who can blame them?  I should say, who can blame us.  Our party had the President who initially signed TARP.  Now, of course I don’t think Bush ever imagined TARP would be used to give the treasury secretary ultimate powers to steal companies from their bondholders, sell them overseas and give the proceeds to unions.  But he should have.  Conservative Constitutionalists are praying, quite literally, that we don’t get fooled again.  The result has been the rise and fall of Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, and now Herman Cain.  Each time, the anti-establishment establishment is looking for that perfect, conservative candidate that we can get behind and support.

Now, suddenly Newt Gingrich is inching back into the top three.  In fact, while Cain tops out the very volatile state of Florida, Gingrich has hit double digits.  As a matter of fact, Gingrich’s facebook page shows a photo of him on the Drudge Report with a story about how he is still in this.  And he definitely is.

The difference between Newt and the other candidates is that Newt’s laundry has been on the line for years now.  Everyone knows who Newt Gingrich is.  He isn’t going to come out with a plan that sinks his campaign a month from now.  No one is going to learn during a debate about him forcing 12 year old girls to get vaccines for sexually transmitted diseases.  Everyone knows how imperfect his past is.  That’s why he hasn’t been in this race up to now.  And that is why he will be very dangerous if Cain falls on 9 9 9.  Of course, I mean “dangerous” in the best way possible.  Newt versus Mitt with no specter of late arrivals and no more candidates left to shoot up to the top could solidify January’s primaries.

Newt can carry Iowa and South Carolina easily once the other social conservatives lose their votes to him.  Newt was the first in the debates to really highlight how Obama was preventing jobs from coming to South Carolina.  And Iowa will pick the social conservative every time.  In a Newt/Mitt race, it will all be about Florida.

Could the debate in Jacksonville, FL determine the next President of the United States?

On January 26th, Republicans will hold the last GOP debate that matters before the primary.  I know, there will be one in Tampa the night before the primary.  No one is going to change their mind because of the Tampa debate.  It will all come down to January 26th in Jacksonville, Florida.  Mitt Romney versus the TEA party favorite.  The last time the Superbowl was held here, the Patriots won.

Cain’s Gain?

Mike Huckabee made it official over the weekend. He is not running. Huckabee was one of those candidates who was able to corner a specific share of the GOP market and turn them into a cult following. As the 2008 primary dragged on and Huckabee appeared on shows like Saturday Night Live to joke about how his mathematical chance of winning required winning every remaining state, Huckabee continued to campaign and siphon votes away from Mitt Romney in crucial states.

Even coming into 2012, Huckabee has maintained a Ron Paul-like base of support who will chide media outlets for not casting him in a bright enough light or leaving him out of 2012 primary analysis. To be honest though, I wasn’t surprised when Huckabee said no this year. Any Republican candidate is going to have a huge uphill battle facing their own divided party, the media, and then the Obama political machine. Who can blame Huckabee for wanting to sit this one out and make money hand over fist at his TV show?

Can Herman Cain pick up Huckabee's votes?

So who will get those voters who faithfully showed up and voted Huckabee even after his chances of winning evaporated in 2008? Only one candidate sofar has come out firmly for the socially and fiscally conservative platform, including the Fairtax, that Huckabee represented: Herman Cain.

Cain stands to pick up many of your neighbors who have the anti-IRS Fairtax signs in their yard and on their bumper stickers. He also will pick up many of Huckabee’s fans who are also mainstream Conservative media fans. There is a great deal of overlap between Foxnews talk show fans and Conservative radio fans.

Huckabee and Cain share another large support base among TEA Party candidates. Many of these small government conservatives who supported Huckabee in 2008 will look to Cain in 2012 as the most Conservative candidate who is not as radical as Ron Paul on foreign policy.

Will this be what bumps Cain into the top tier? It certainly is an opportunity sitting on the table. If Cain can make the connections in voters’ minds, he stands to be the one to gain.

Airtime for the backups

Aside from Tim Pawlenty, going into last night’s debate I think most pundits considered these to be second tier candidates. After last night, I will admit that the perception that most of these candidates don’t have a viable shot probably hasn’t changed. However, there were clear winners and clear losers. Here is my take on the debate, which at times will be blunt and harshly honest:

Tim Pawlenty

Pawlenty demonstrated why he is a top tier candidate. He was professional, studied, and Presidential. He took clean shots at Obama and did not make missteps. However, his answer to Cap and Trade may come across to the base as a weak answer. Cap and Trade is already widely unpopular with the TEA party and conservative right. It is almost as unpopular as humbling yourself before the media and admitting a mistake. I think it was the best answer Pawlenty could give, but it highlighted that unfortunate decision to initially support Cap and Trade. Pawlenty’s other disadvantage coming into last night was that everyone expected a polished performance. He will be judged at a higher standard. I was pleased to see Pawlenty show some charisma and get the crowd motivated. However, when it came to charisma, Pawlenty was not the candidate who stole the show.

Herman Cain

Cain provided the night with a dose of Donald Trump charisma mixed with Sean Hannity conservatism. Cain was unequivocal and commanded the stage. He was a crowd pleaser who handled each question without a gaffe or misstep. I think Cain’s performance brought many conservatives to believe that he could be the conservative answer to the straightforward, no nonsense approach that Trump had become so popular for. My prediction is that we will begin to see Trump wane in popularity now that the birther issue has run its course and Cain stands to benefit. We will see if Cain can capitalize on his performance.

If Cain’s popularity does grow, he will need to find answers to a lot of questions on issues that have not seen the light of the mainstream media yet. For example, Cain defended his support of the Fairtax by mentioning the concept of a “prebate” paid to every family at the beginning of the month for essentials. But is Cain prepared to face scrutiny on the prebate idea? The IRS paid out billions in fraudulent stimulus checks as a one time deal. Kiplinger says that the IRS estimates that 25% of earned income credit payouts were incorrect and fraudulent. Can the government cut a check to every family in America at the beginning of every month without an Internal Revenue Service, individual tax returns, and massive fraud? Also, getting rid of the IRS sounds nice, but who is going to make sure businesses remit the fairtax and prebates are paid out without a revenue department in the government? Perhaps we will see in the course of this primary if Cain is running on answers or populism.

Rick Santorum

Santorum did a good job as a whole, and will appeal to the same conservatives that Bush appealed to. The question is if Santorum can position himself as more likely to win than Obama. Santorum’s message resonates with social conservatives, and he made it clear last night that his message hasn’t changed. Will conservatives vote for Santorum? While presenting himself as a solid candidate, he did not say anything last night that distinguished himself or rocketed him into the top tier. Santorum’s win for the night was the fact that he showed up, while Gingrich, Huckabee and others did not. But he is still overshadowed by other conservative heavyweights, including Gingrich, Bachmann, Huckabee, and now Cain.

Ron Paul

Paul hasn’t changed since 2008. While he says many things that make sense to conservative constitutionalists and libertarian Republicans, Paul still comes across as the enemy of all things Democrat and Republican. This is great for wooing independents and libertarians, but will not win Paul the Republican primary. For most of the night, I felt myself agreeing with and cheering Paul, but he will once again be the martyr of the protectionist, states rights conservatives. They understand what Paul is saying, they just can’t figure out why non-Paul Republicans don’t. Here’s a hint, Ron Paul still comes across as abrasive, obnoxious, and anti-Republican. This man could be President if he could figure out how to sell himself and explain why what he believes would actually work. I spent a good part of the evening asking myself why Republicans don’t support Ron Paul, but the answer is the same as last time he ran. He is an uncompromising and radical philosopher campaigning in a world of soundbites, and soundbites are not kind to Ron Paul.

Gary Johnson

Picture a more abrasive and whiny version of Ron Paul, but without the name recognition. With Ron Paul in the race, who needs Gary Johnson? He did not distinguish himself, except to come down on the traditionally liberal side of Iraq, Afghanistan (supported it before he was against it), and drugs. His “cost/benefit” approach to drug legalization portrayed a dollars above principles approach to policy. Whether his views on the cost benefit of the war on drugs are right or wrong, such a calloused approach to a moral question will not win him a conservative majority. Johnson only made matters worse by dismissing the conservative majority in the Republican party as unnecessary in the primary and guaranteed to be loyal in the general election. He should ask John McCain if Republicans need social conservatives to defeat Obama.

Johnson’s moment of charisma showed itself in the form of scolding the moderators for not asking him enough questions, a move that screams “I am unpolished, second tier, and everyone knows it but me”. He will find his frustrations at not being taken seriously will continue to grow, mainly because he is not a serious candidate.

Summary

After last night, I think Herman Cain moved up, Santorum, Paul and Pawlenty remained unchanged, and Johnson moved down. Gingrich was probably hurt the most by not showing up, Romney was hurt the least. Gingrich could have used the exposure and chance to showcase his debate skills. Romney sofar has seemed to transcend any primary activity in early polls as an assumed front runner by most whether he shows up or not. Mitch Daniels was probably the most unfairly represented absentee at the debate itself. In the end, the only lasting effects of this debate will be a bump for Herman Cain.

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