The Norquist pledge prevents progress

On October 4 Republican Congressman Frank Wolfe of Virginia made a courageous speech on the floor of the House of Representatives regarding lobbyist Grover Norquist.  What did he say?

 

Congressman Wolf decried his party’s almost total subservience to the Grover Norquist pledge to never raise any tax.  40 of 47 Republicans in the Senate and 236 of 242 Republicans in the House have signed his pledge to never raise taxes and only close loopholes if that revenue is used for further tax cuts.

 

Grover Norquist, more than any one other person, is responsible for Republican refusals to compromise on tax revenue to achieve spending cuts and deficit reduction agreements with democrats.  Commenting on the debt ceiling crisis, Paul O’Neill, president George W. Bush’s former Secretary of the Treasury, marveled that , “Congress  was willing to cause severe economic damage to the entire population simply because they were slaves to an idiot’s(Norquist)idea of how the world works.”

 

Speaking on the House floor, Congressman Wolf made the accusation that much of the anti-tax agitation in Washington is special interests masquerading as principle.  That is to say, special interests don’t want their tax credits and loopholes to end so they support lawmakers that steadfastly call ending those tax benefits tax increases.  Read the late Chuck Colson’s column on the issue.

 

Interestingly, even Ronald Reagan could not have met Grover Norquist’s no -new -tax pledge criteria.  In 1981 President Reagan dramatically lowered tax rates.  But as deficits began to rise, Republican Reagan and Republican Senator Robert Dole worked together to raise taxes 11 times over the next seven years.