Herman Cain’s ‘999 Plan’ Looks a Lot Like Sim City’s 999 Plan

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Presidential hopeful Herman Cain has jumped to the top of Republican polls thanks to a bold tax scheme called the “999 Plan.” But it’d be even bolder if Sim City hadn’t come up with the idea eight years ago.

The 999 Plan would impose a nine percent corporate tax rate, a nine percent income tax rate and a national sales tax of nine percent. Those are the exact same rates used by 2004’s Sim City 4 for industrial, residential and commercial taxes, the Huffington Post points out.

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While it’s possible that Cain’s simple and memorable tax plan drew inspiration from his years as chairman and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, there’s no denying that Sim City 4 had the idea first.

Kip Katsarelis, a producer from Sim City developer Maxis, seemed pleased about the similarities, even though the studio isn’t endorsing any political candidates. “We encourage politicians to continue to look to innovative games like SimCity for inspiration for social and economic change,” he told HuffPo. Maxis chose the simple tax model so players could focus on infrastructure and national security.

Cain’s campaign spokesman was cryptic about any possible connection between Cain’s plan and Sim City, telling HuffPo that “we all like 9-9-9.”

An obvious question follows: Can we use Sim City as a model to figure out what would happen to America under a 999 Plan? Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer. Sim City is an open-ended simulation, and at best it can only model one metropolis at a time, not an entire country.

Also, Sim City 4 features meteors, UFOs and robot attacks, which would probably mess up most attempts at realistic modeling. Still, I’m glad to see someone take inspiration from video games—intentionally or not. And I’m glad Herman Cain isn’t campaigning on a Magnasanti Plan instead.

(MORE: Herman Cain: Flash in the Pan or “Serious Candidate”?)

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