Grover Norquist - Redux

Grover Norquist and his anti-tax pledge has the entire Republican party tied in knots.

Grover Norquist, the founder and head of Americans for Tax Reform, suffered some serious setbacks in the recent November election although he isn’t admitting to it.  Mr. Norquist is best known for his anti-tax pledge – the Taxpayer Protection Pledge – which he started promoting over 20 years ago.  Those
elected officials who signed the pledge agreed not to vote for any tax increase
for any reason ever.

Before the 2012 election, Mr. Norquist claimed that 279 incumbent candidates and 286 challenger candidates had signed the pledge.   The election results showed that 55 Republican incumbent  or challenger candidates for the House of Representatives who had signed the pledge had lost .  In the Senate 24 Republican incumbent or challenger candidates similarly lost.  At the same time, exit polls indicated that a majority of voters including Republican voters supported increased taxes for those with the highest incomes.

This disconnect is becoming more untenable for those who were elected and now must take steps to avoid the fiscal calamity that is possible at the first of the year.   Even though the majority of the newly elected Republicans in the House of Representatives have signed Mr. Norquist’s pledge, there 16 who have not and one new Republican Senator also has not signed.  Support is starting to fall  away.  Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) has announced he is no longer bound by his pledge of 20 years ago.  Former Republican Senator Alan Simpson,  co-chair of the Simpson/Bowles Commission, attempting to find a way to avoid the fiscal crisis, has denounced the pledge and its supporters, and  key prospective Republican Presidential candidate, Jeb Bush,  has refused to sign it. 

Mr. Norquist continues to say that the pledge-signers will not waiver going forward.  Maybe so, but has he noticed that the Republican leadership in Congress is twisting themselves into knots trying to find a way around the “tax” word and find other ways to  do the same thing by proposing to close tax code loopholes and eliminate deductions among other methods, all of which raise “taxes” by another name?   While not raising taxes is certainly a goal supported by most, being beholden to Grover Norquist, an individual who is not anyone’s representative, makes those who are elected to solve the fiscal problem look and act both foolish and ineffectual.

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John Gruber November 26, 2012 at 11:43 PM
that;s funny, because I recall the debt ballooning because of 2 wars, tax cuts, and bail outs that have yet to stop. None of which were even mentioned in your response. A) Obamacare has not contributed a single penny to the debt so far B) those "entitlement" programs have been around much longer then before the debt had gotten so out of control, it's clearly not the biggest problem C) you think businesses will use the money to hire workers and whatnot, when in reality they just keep it for themselves, hence why trickle-down economics doesn't work. Less regulation is exactly how you end up with 2008, when bankers and traders put themselves above their clients and clearly participated in if not illegal, at very least severely shady activity in which they toyed with people's life savings, and you think LESS regulation is needed? D) you do realize Romney wanted to give unprecedented spending increases to the military right? Your and other's logic that entitlements are solely or even mostly responsible for the debt is severely misleading and flat out wrong.
John Gruber November 26, 2012 at 11:54 PM
Were you clamoring for spending reforms when Bush pushed the debt over 10 trillion? And FYI it exceed 10 trillion because of 2 wars, tax cuts, both of which have continued to go on, not "entitlement programs" that have been around for DECADES, LONG BEFORE WE EVEN PASSED $1 TRILLION IN DEBT. Clearly, there are factors that have raised the debt by so much, maybe it could have to do with the 2 wars we started, the ensuing tax cuts and of course, the bailouts between 07-09, none of which having really changed. And I guess things like Gay Rights and Women's Rights are "nonsense" issues simply because they don't affect you...
Aidan November 26, 2012 at 11:58 PM
Listen, if the Bush tax cuts expire, the tax payments will run the day-to-day operations for 8.5 days. Each year. How does that solve anything? Now it's Norquist's turn at the stocks ... because if the issue is taxes, well, then Norguist is very ripe. But the issue is spending. It has always been spending ... until it got licoriced by those who think that government is a licensed manna-maker. If taxes are to be raised to cure the debt ... or even just manage it properly ... the middle class is going to have to be involved in the revenue activity ... and that means higher taxes on them. Where else can the gov't turn to for relief? No one's left. Nobody. And that takes us all back to spending. This spotlight on taxes is nonsense. Argue all day ... and night ... and the cause is still the same: the federal government lives beyond its means. It promises too much. Delivers it inefficiently. And, in some cases, perpetuates a dependency that suspends responsibility. And leave Mother Theresa out of this. She was a "zero percenter".
John Gruber November 27, 2012 at 12:19 AM
just to prove my point about C, look no further than the Miami Marlins of the MLB. Taxpayers funded their new stadium under the assumption management would use the money saved to hire good players (workers) and stay competitive (and business' goal). Yet they finished in last place and then management got rid of the highest paid players so they could save money. This will happen 9/10 times in ANY industry. The money is kept by the people up top and never gets to where it eventually was intended to go
dita von struedel van trappyodel November 27, 2012 at 12:39 AM
Geeeze Boss, you know how to chill a spirited debate!
James Adnaraf November 27, 2012 at 03:58 AM
There is nothing earth shattering about a tax increase, but there should be no tax increase at all, unless it is part of a deal to control spending. Not a deal to promise to control spending, or a deal to control spending in a few years. Raising taxes has always meant more spending, not less. Thus, no tax increase without real spending curbs. As a matter of fact, the Republicans should call the Obama bluff- here is the tax increase, and it will be triggered by actual spending curbs. Remember, only in the world of the government can a spending increase of 10 % be considered a spending cut, if the spending was supposed to go up 15%.
James Adnaraf November 27, 2012 at 04:02 AM
I have no problem with an increase on top rates as part of the overall budget deal that includes real entitlement reform (such as a gradual increase in the retirement age to reflect longer lives and to help fortify medicare), but the middle class does not pay the majority of taxes. They pay only the majority of social security and medicare taxes. Income taxes fall mostly on the upper income,
James Adnaraf November 27, 2012 at 04:06 AM
Mr. Gruber, your answers read like Democratic talking points. Bush was a rotten President, but he is long gone. As to entitlements, we have had to bail out social security frequently, because its benefit formulas have not been sustainable. Hence, Carter "saved" Social Security, he said for decades, and then it needed a commission in the early 80's to get saved again. The income subject to the social security tax, and the social security tax percentage have exploded in the life of the Social Security program.
James Adnaraf November 27, 2012 at 04:13 AM
Here are some problems with Obamacare that will explode health care costs: *The penalty for not having health insurance is so low, compared to the premium, that companies will gradually stop offering health insurance because they save money simply by paying the penalty. *Individuals can pay a low fine for not having health insurance, get sick, and then get health insurance for their condition, What other insurance can you acquire after you incur the condition requiring the use of the insurance? Can you imagine having a car accident, then getting insurance, and forcing the insurance company to pay for it? *Obamacare does nothing to prevent the over usage of the medical system caused by doctors ordering tests of questionable value, to avoid being sued. Further, look at the estimates of what medicare was supposed to cost, versus its actual costs. Thus: Obamacare can be expected to explode the deficit.
James Adnaraf November 27, 2012 at 04:28 AM
Mr. Gruber, in 2003, when Barney Frank and Maxine Waters opposed additional regulation to Freddie Mac, and Fannie Mae, was they right or wrong? Those two entities did not cause the housing meltdown, but they did play a role in the degree of the meltdown. In 2003, when Barney Frank said that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were not in financial trouble, was he right or wrong? Another question to Mr. Gruber: Where did you get your documentation that 9/10 of any industry will do what the Miami Marlins did, ditching expensive employees? I think you made that fraction up out of thin air to make a point.
dita von struedel van trappyodel November 27, 2012 at 01:48 PM
No tax give ins without immediate spending cuts. The "promise" of future cuts never happens but tax hikes do. Cut entitlements to the bone!
John Gruber November 27, 2012 at 04:37 PM
actually you may think I'm wrong, but I don't consider Bush to be as bad as everyone says, but he is not "long gone", we feel the effects of a president well after they left office. I was just making a point that they only care about spending because it's a democrat doing the spending and was curious as to their stance on Bush's spending. social security is one entitlement, that one entitlement alone is not responsible for $16 trillion. Also, carter only (comparatively) increased the debt by $200 billion to "save social security", so entitlement's can not be solely or even mostly responsible for the 16 trillion. to drive home my point, Bush and Obama have collectively put on over $11 trillion of debt in 12 years. What was different now than in 2000 when the debt was $5 trillion? A) 2 wars B) tax cuts C) terrible recession D) bailout after bailout this is indisputable. it's fact. these 3 factors are what directly led to the massive spending in the last decade or so. Entitlement programs have been around much longer than we've been $5 trillion or more in debt.
John Gruber November 28, 2012 at 08:31 PM
you should do some research before reciting talking points. Math actually shows Republicans have increased "entitlement" spending at twice the rate of Democrats since 1981. http://www.usgovernmentdebt.us/spending_chart_1980_2013USb_09s1li111lcn_00f10f40f_En
John Gruber November 28, 2012 at 08:41 PM
The Marlins were just an example of how giving rich companies even more money to spend doesn't work they way it's intended to. Yes the 9/10 was an exaggeration, by how much I don't know but after 2008, you cannot trust big businesses to do the right thing with money. Look at Apple or Wal-Mart, you think they can't afford to have products made here? Considering Apple has more cash than the US Gov't, I'd say they could afford it, they just wouldn't be making $400 per iPhone. but they make MORE MONEY for THEMSELVES by outsourcing to Asia. The point is with big companies, the money never "trickles down" to where it's needed, instead it's pocketed by executives in the form of bonuses and perks
Billy November 28, 2012 at 10:45 PM
And what's your plan? To just crank up taxes on everyone making over $250k and nothing else? If those are our only propects, I say let's go over the cliff. Care to hold my hand before we jump?
Billy November 28, 2012 at 10:49 PM
Sorry John the deficit problem is Obama's. Stop blaming everything under the sun and man up, take responsiblity & give us a plan. So far I see no plans coming out of the White House. If this had been dealt with before the election, everyone would have seen what a clown our president is. Where's the leadership?
John Gruber November 28, 2012 at 11:15 PM
you completely avoided just about everything I said. I said nothing about the deficit nor who's problem it is, and no, it's not HIS problem it's OUR problem and it's not ALL Obama's fault, we owed $11 trillion before he even took office, I'm not justifying his spending, just stating facts. I'm not sure where you came up with that response to my comments on trickle down economics
John Gruber November 28, 2012 at 11:17 PM
you mean the same entitlements that Republican presidents increased spending on by over $1 trillion in the last 30 years? Those entitlements?
John Gruber November 28, 2012 at 11:22 PM
I'm not quite positive of the proportions as far as who pays the taxes, but all I know is that the only way to decrease debt is to take in more than you spend. We're all going to eventually have to pay our fair share of taxes to account for $16 trillion
John Gruber November 28, 2012 at 11:24 PM
Did I say that? No, like in any business, reducing debt requires you to cut spending and increase revenue.
James Adnaraf November 30, 2012 at 04:09 PM
I have just seen the Obama proposal to avoid the fiscal cliff, it is mostly tax increases, very specific ones, and vague on spending economies. Simpson Bowles, whose majority recommendations both parties basically walked away from (Republican opposition was stronger), should have been the way to go. Obama is not showing the leadership needed. This does not mean the Republicans are good, it means that Obama as the President is not showing any political courage. Very sad.
dita von struedel van trappyodel November 30, 2012 at 04:16 PM
So much for the "balanced approach" this liar of a president we have promised during the campaign. Shame on all of you who voted for him. And shame on the Republicans if they don't stand up to him. They were re-elected also, and not on a tax hike platform.
Walden Macnair November 30, 2012 at 07:26 PM
Hey Smelly. Obama won the election and part of the reason was the incompetence of the Republican Party. Elections have consequences. Deal with it. (And wash your pants while your at it)
Silly Season 2012 November 30, 2012 at 08:29 PM
SmellyMacnair: You are both right! Look how sound together... So much for the "balanced approach" this liar of a president we have promised during the campaign. Obama won the election and part of the reason was the incompetence of the Republican Party. Elections have consequences. So, deal with it. And shame on all of you who voted for him. And shame on the Republicans if they don't stand up to him. They were re-elected also, and not on a tax hike platform. (Now kiss, hug... and wash your pants while your at it).
Billy November 30, 2012 at 08:36 PM
smelly you're 1000% correct.
Billy November 30, 2012 at 08:39 PM
Well the Republican's did something right as they control the House of Representatives. Both you & more importantly Obama need to deal with that fact & soon. The my way or the highway approach isn't working nor will it ever work. And why's Obama in PA today? Shouldn't he be in DC crafting a plan? Or is that not worthy of this time?
Brian November 30, 2012 at 08:48 PM
What kind of diet is starting two wars and borrowing every penny to fund it?
Walden Macnair November 30, 2012 at 09:01 PM
Billy, Yes the Republicans won the house. Gee! How did that happen? Well maybe because they gerrymandered the districts in 2010 so that they had an advantage by drawing the lines to include heavily republican areas. Your argument would have more weight if the figures didn't show that even though the Democrats lost the elections, they still had more of the popular vote than the Republicans. So you see, you can spin it either way, but President Obama is still President and Romney; well he's at the beach house, or the ski house or the city house or whatever but thank God he ain't in the White House.
John Gruber November 30, 2012 at 09:05 PM
I find it hilarious you're views are "cut entitlements to the bone" yet support the party that has increased entitlement spending at a higher rate than the other party over the last 3 and half decades. Aint' life funny
Billy November 30, 2012 at 09:24 PM
Walden, this isn't Obamacare all over again. He doesn't have the same majorites as when he tacked left in that debate so he better turn to the center now & figure how he's going to get things done for the betterment of everyone. I personally think going over the cliff is better than doing a bad deal, but its really up to the president to get things done and not wait for others to lead.


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