Some pundits are now saying that there is some hope for compromise on the budget, tax reform and reduced spending before the end of this year. The Tax Armageddon of the combined expirations of the Bush and payroll tax cuts on December 31, 2012 might prompt our government to some last minute action. This “solution” will be less than “strategic” to say the least – just crisis management like the debt ceiling debacle of last summer.
I submit that a major contributor to this chaos is the Americans for Tax Reform (“ATR”) and it’s President, Grover Norquist. Norquist and ATR are the developers of the “No-Tax Pledge,” or in their parlance, the taxpayer protection pledge. The organization’s description starts as follows: “Americans for Tax Reform opposes all tax increases as a matter of principle.”
Of course, Norquist takes this to the absurd. To cite just two examples: ATR opposes closing any loopholes for any reason, or for even ending ineffective and market distorting Ethanol subsidies, arguing these would both be tax increases. I will not get into the flawed logic of ATR’s “starve the beast” philosophy here; however, suffice it to say that our recent history has shown that tax cuts are generally accompanied by increases in government spending, not decreases.
41 Senators, 236 House Members and 1,263 state legislators have signed the “Pledge,” scared to death of Norquist’s wrath and threats of electoral retaliation.
America needs an anti-Norquist with matching political cunning. The pledge we should ask candidates to sign is a “No Pledge” Pledge. Other than the Pledge of Allegiance, all others should be out. We need people of honor and integrity in government, individuals who we trust to have wisdom to balance principle with compromise. Many veteran legislators in Washington possess these sensibilities, but are punished for showing them by the ATR.
Norquist’s influence needs to be neutered and exposed for what it is – horribly crippling demagoguery over public policy and the implementation of true tax reform. Maybe I will be scolded by some for making analogy to the terrible images of McCarthyism; but similar fears are engendered in the hearts of politicians today. It’s time to stand up against ATR and to just say no to the “No-Tax Pledge”.
I believe money would pour into an organization supporting and backing the idea of a “NO PLEGDE” PLEDGE. I am not promulgating the idea big government or limited government, higher taxes or lower taxes; rather for supporting a democracy that actually works as intended.
To whom should we write our checks?