(Photo by Gabe Licht)
"They recognize that one of the biggest crises we have is a severe deficiency of leadership in D.C.," he said Tuesday afternoon at La Chiesa in Spencer, before heading to events in Rock Rapids and Okoboji.
He pointed to Congress' record-low approval rating of 10 percent.
"I think that is a reflection of the American people's dissatisfaction and disgust with how things have gone recently and how they are going," Cain said.
The former Godfather's Pizza CEO believes that one person, the president, can make a difference.
"That's why I'm not running for the House or Senate," Cain said. "One person can change that culture. It's called leadership from the White House. That's the difference."
Cain criticized President Barack Obama, saying he "has tried to lead totally in a partisan way, totally tried to lead in terms of his own agenda." Calling it Obamacare, Cain said passage of the Affordable Care Act was evidence of Obama not listening to the will of the people.
He went on to say he would have handled the debt ceiling situation differently.
"In a Cain presidency, we wouldn't have been in this mess because, a year ago, I would have put together a contingency plan that made sure we use the revenues we did have coming in," Cain said.
Those revenues would be used to pay interest on national debt, military salaries, Social Security payments and bills for Medicaid and Medicare.
"Then, everything else is on the table," Cain said. "Then, instead of these across-the-board cuts and these triggers with this super commission, you do the hard work of looking at specific agencies, specific programs within agencies and you look at specific duplication and redundancy, as well as inefficiency.
" ... If we had done this a year ago, the cuts would not have been as painful as they are going to be now," Cain concluded.
Economically speaking, the former businessman has a two-phase plan.
Phase 1 involves lowering the top corporate and personal tax rate to 25 percent, levying no tax on repatriated foreign profits and abolishing the capital gains tax.
"Most international companies that generate profits in foreign countries, if they bring those profits back home and put them on their U.S. dollar sheet, they get taxed twice. So, most companies just leave them offshore," Cain said.
Once those funds are repatriated, Cain believes about three-fourths of those profits will be re-invested in the U.S., based on estimates.
"The other part of Phase 1 is to take the capital gains rate to zero because most of the new jobs in this country are created from small businesses," Cain said. " ... Most importantly, make the rates permanent because uncertainty is one of the things that is killing this economy."
Phase 2 of his plan involves replacing the tax code with a "fair tax," or national sales tax on new goods and services. Fair tax legislation has been around for about 15 years and would tentatively set the rate at 23 percent, according to Cain.
"Contrary to what some of the opponents say, it is not regressive on the poor; it actually empowers the poor," Cain said. "They would pay no tax on used goods. They would have no payroll tax coming out of their check ... and they would receive, along with everyone else, a monthly prebate on sales tax for basic necessities."
He believes the new system would have positive effects on the economy.
"I think the fair tax will not only supercharge this economy, but it will re-ignite a rise in our standard of living in this country," Cain said. He acknowledged a transition would be needed between the current system and his proposed reforms, and said such a transition has been identified by himself and his advisors.
Abolishing the Internal Revenue Service and doing away with subsidies would come along with his reforms, Cain acknowledged. Furthermore, he said the marketplace, not subsidies, should determine the profitability of various types of energy and barriers to exploring such natural resources should be removed.
On social issues, Cain identified himself as pro-life, a supporter of the Second Amendment and a believer in traditional marriage and the Defense of Marriage Act.
Turning his attention to the Iowa Straw Poll this weekend, Cain hopes the event energizes his supporters.
"Success is not whether we finish first, second, third, fourth, fifth or sixth," Cain said. "Success for us is that our supporters leave there enthused and excited and empowered to continue to support us in an active way. That's our major success. This is for our supporters. ... How we finish in this particular straw poll isn't as important as the attitude we want our people to leave with."