Herman Cain: SimCity rumor 'a lie'

Monday, October 17, 2011

Cain at the Values Voter Summit in October 2011.
Image: Gage Skidmore.
SimCity 4 cover.
Image: Maxis.

U.S. presidential candidate Herman Cain denied a suggestion from Huffington Post reporter Amanda Terkel that his 9-9-9 tax plan was derived from Maxis' 2003 computer game SimCity 4. During an interview that aired on The Rachel Maddow Show Friday, Cain bluntly characterized the suggestion as "a lie".

Cain, the former CEO of Godfather's Pizza, has risen to first place in some polls for the Republican Party's presidential nomination. His campaign features the 9-9-9 plan, which calls for the implementation of a 9 percent national sales tax, and a shift of the personal and corporate income tax rates to 9 percent.

Terkel compared Cain's plan to that of the default setting on SimCity 4, which institutes a 9 percent rate for commercial, industrial and residential taxes. She contacted both Maxis and Rich Lowrie, a Wells Fargo employee credited with helping Cain formulate the plan. Though Lowrie did not respond, Maxis producer Kip Katsarelis commented:

We encourage politicians to continue to look to innovative games like SimCity for inspiration for social and economic change. While we at Maxis and Electronic Arts do not endorse any political candidates or their platforms, it’s interesting to see GOP candidate Herman Cain propose a simplified tax system like one we designed for the video game SimCity 4

Cain maintains that the plan is original. When probed on the issue, he remarked "that's the difference when you become one or two in the polls. People make up stuff."

Cain received similar attention in August after closing a GOP debate with a quote from the theme song for Pokemon: The Movie 2000, which he referenced to an unnamed poet. It was later reported that Cain had quoted the song on previous occasions.