WASHINGTON -- Herman Cain's now-famous "9-9-9" tax plan was crafted by a rank-and-file investment adviser working at a Wells Fargo branch in an affluent rural Ohio town with a population of about 6,000 people.
Cain name-checked Richard Lowrie during Tuesday night's Republican debate on economic policy, and his campaign confirmed to HuffPost that Richard Lowrie Jr., a Wells Fargo employee in Pepper Pike, Ohio, outside of Cleveland, was the official adviser to his campaign who hammered out the "9-9-9" plan. The plan calls for creating a new 9 percent federal sales tax on everything consumers buy, while cutting the corporate tax rate to 9 percent and imposing a flat 9 percent income tax on all wages.
Cain said on "Meet the Press" that his program is "revenue-neutral," meaning it will raise exactly the same amount of tax money as the current tax system. By cutting corporate taxes and taxes for the wealthy, the program puts a heavy new tax burden on the poor and the middle class.
It is unusual for a presidential campaign to employ a local investment adviser as an economic policy expert. Major electoral campaigns typically seek out high-profile economists with federal policymaking experience or academic gravitas.
According to Lowrie's LinkedIn profile, his education tops out with a Bachelor of Science in accountancy from Case Western University. He has no formal training in economics, and there is no indication that he has ever worked on public policy. According to that same profile, Lowrie's political experience includes working on the board of advisers for Americans For Prosperity, a hardline conservative outfit founded by the Koch Brothers, until 2008. In 2011, the group ran into trouble for posting fake eviction notices on the doors of Detroit families. Lowrie's LinkedIn profile also says he works on the volunteer advisory panel for the American Conservative Union.
Lowrie was not immediately available for comment.