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Amanda Terkel at the Huffington Post reports today that "hardcore gamers" have been commenting on blogs and news sites to assert that Herman Cain drew inspiration for his 9-9-9 tax plan from -- wait for it -- SimCity 4. The popular Maxis game has long allowed users to design a city, presenting them with many of the real dilemmas that real city planners face everyday. Apparently the 2004 edition has a default tax system that is pretty close to the one Herman Cain is advocating for America. Terkel writes:

Long before Cain was running for president and getting attention for his 999 plan, the residents of SimCity 4 -- which was released in 2003 -- were living under a system where the default tax rate was 9 percent for commercial taxes, 9 percent for industrial taxes and 9 percent for residential taxes. 

That's not quite the same as Cain's 9 percent national sale's tax, 9 percent income tax, and 9 percent corporate income tax, but it's pretty close. The game's makers have a humorously earnest response:

"We encourage politicians to continue to look to innovative games like SimCity for inspiration for social and economic change," said [Maxis senior producer Kip] Katsarelis. "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."

So while most have likened Cain's 9-9-9 plan to a pizza commercial promotion, they now have a new origin story. And as DealBook's Will Alden (formerly of HuffPost), tweets, "If you're gonna rip a tax plan from a video game you could definitely do worse than SimCity." 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.