What was once the “must signi” pledge for all republicans the Grover Norquist anti-tax pledge has started to show signs of cracking. In this last election according to the ATR websiteii there were 16 Republican House of Representatives who did not sign the pledge. There was another 6 Republican Senators who did not sign as well. The website also claims one new Democrat who did sign the pledge.
Thereiii has been some waves in Republican circles of politicians coming out against the pledge with a total of thirty-six so far that have put distance between themselves and Norquist. Norquistiv on Nov 28, 2012 stated:
“Chambliss, Graham and Peter King? None are in leadership roles, none lead on tax policy, and all three of them said the same thing two years ago.” He went on to state that, “”I think the sequester would help the economy. The growth of the government would be slowed based on what Obama planned to spend. I think we should do the sequester — there’s no reason not to.”
Shouldv the sequester happen the U.S. would end up with a larger contraction of the US budget than Greece, UK, Mexico, Spain, Brazil, Ireland and even more than the US had in 1968. Trickle down economics has been proven to not work. This is also a lesson learned by President Reaganvi; the one responsible for the Americans for Tax Reform and Grover Norquist’s rise to power. When President Reagan was first elected to office he made major tax cuts. After the 1981 tax cut unemployment soared to 10.8%. Then he scrambled to raise taxes again, including four times in two years making his tax increased in total larger than President Clinton’s; and took back half of the tax cut he initiated in 1981. He realized that he had cut revenue too deeply and had to reverse what he had done. He also grew the military at an unprecedented rate during peace time, and grew the size and function of the government; while slashing funding of Social Security (which he had to bail out after a failed attempt at privatization), Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, Federal Education, etc. President Reagan raised the debt from $997 to $2.85 trillion and called it the “greatest disappointment” of his presidency.
Bruce Bartlett a senior Reagan economic adviser even came outvii and stated that the tax reform deal of 1986, which cut the top marginal rate to 28 percent, did nothing to forestall the 1990-1991 recession. Those areviii the same policies that Gov. Romney pushed during his campaign and the Republican leadership has put forward as their “compromise” on the budget. The very ones that the American people voted against on November 6, 2012.
“If you had a pink unicorn, how many dollars in taxes would you raise to trade for the pink unicorn? Since pink unicorns do not exist in the real world, it’s never occurred to me to worry about the senator from South Carolina. He’s not going to vote for a deal because the kind of 10-1 ratio deal he’s talking about with real, iron-clad spending cuts is never going to happen.” He went on to state that there was “no reason to raise taxes.”
Later that same day whilex in an interview with Mike Allen Norquist seemed to double down on his earlier statements about the fiscal cliff. In fact he encouraged Republican’s and those that signed his pledge to hold the federal government hostage on a weekly basis if President Obama does not do as they want and monthly if he does. His exact words:
“Well, the Republicans also have other leverage. Continuing resolutions on spending and the debt ceiling increase. They can give him debt ceiling increases once a month. They can have him on a rather short leash, you know, here’s your allowance, come back next month.”
When asked if he was proposing that the debt ceiling be increased month by month, Norquist responded:
“Monthly if he’s good. Weekly if he’s not.”
Here is the video:
The last showdown of the debt ceiling resulted in the downgrading of U.S. Creditxi for the first time in history. In the press release Standards & Poors indicated that they would improve the rating if the ‘2001 and 2003 tax cuts for high earners lapse from 2013 onwards, as the Administration is advocating.” The entire incident also cost tax payersxii $18.9 billion dollars. Now Norquist is recommending that Republicans cause the same situation on a weekly basis to keep President Obama in line. That would be the equivalent of holding hostage the American economy in order to make sure the President, who was elected by a majority vote of the people, do what Norquist, appointedxiii by President Reagan, demands; regardless of the consequences to the country.
“As even Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke recognizes, it is long term unemployment, not excessive deficits or debt, that is now inflicting the greatest human toll and economic damage. Polls show that voters agree joblessness and a bad economy are much higher priorities than deficits. Yet too many in Washington are fixated on cutting public spending to balance the budget, not on how to put people back to work and get our economy going. There is no theory of economics that explains how we can deflate our way to recovery. Businesses are not basing investment decisions on how much Congress cuts the debt in 2023. As Great Britain, Ireland, Spain and Greece have shown, inflicting austerity on a weak economy leads to deeper recession, rising unemployment and increasing misery. In a deep recession, deficit reduction is a moving target. If you cut spending and consumer purchasing power in an already depressed economy, unemployment rises and revenues fall — and the goal of a smaller deficit keeps receding like a mirage in a desert. When private purchasing power is depressed by the aftermath of a financial collapse, only public investment can make up the gap.”
They go on to say a little later:
“Both bipartisan and conservative deficit reduction plans — Simpson-Bowles, Rivlin-Domenici, and the Republican budget — magically assume a recovery to “normal” levels of employment. Yet, the economy is nowhere near normal growth, and budget cutting will only retard growth. At the end of the year, we face a congressionally-created “fiscal cliff,” with automatic “sequestration” spending cuts everyone agrees should be stopped to prevent a double-dip recession. That threat has led to backroom negotiations, backed by a multimillion dollar public relations campaign, toward a “grand bargain” that would maintain tax give-aways for the rich; cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid; and impose new, job-killing spending cuts. This is no bargain, and it should be rejected.”
The letter concludes:
“In the face of today’s weak economy, the Federal Reserve has vowed to sustain extraordinary measures until unemployment comes down and the economy picks up. But as Chairman Ben Bernanke observed, very low interest rates alone cannot fix this economy. To make sure the American people are not crippled by another lost decade of joblessness, we need presidential leadership — and congressional action — to spur jobs and growth, not dangerous austerity.”
Links in article:
iiATR Federal Taxpayer Pledge 113th Congressional List (http://s3.amazonaws.com/atrfiles/files/files/112012-113thCongress.pdf)
iiiThirty-Six Congressional Republicans (And Counting) Have Distanced Themselves From Norquist’s Pledge (http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/11/30/1259051/22-republicans-norquist/)
ivGOP Pushback On No Tax Norquist: Less Than Meets The Eye (http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2012/11/26/165944895/gop-push-back-on-no-tax-norquist-less-than-meets-the-eye)
vCRS Removed Report (https://roseylinn.wordpress.com/2012/11/02/crs-removed-report/)
viiReagan Advisor: History Shows Romney’s Tax Plan Won’t Boost Job Growth (http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/10/16/1020461/reagan-advisor-taxes-job-growth/)
viiiMedia Buys Into GOP Spin: Labels Romney Like Proposal On Revenue Increases a “Big Concession” (http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/11/26/1236001/media-present-gops-romney-like-proposal-on-revenue-increases-as-big-concession/)
ixGrover Norquist: Pink Unicorns Aren’t Real and GOP Won’t Break Tax Pledge (http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/11/28/166000651/grover-norquist-pink-unicorns-arent-real-and-gop-wont-break-tax-pledge)
xNorquist: Republicans Should Hold Federal Government Hostage Every Month (http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/11/28/1248321/norquist-debt-ceiling-every-month/?mobile=nc)
xiBreaking: S&P Downgrades U.S. Credit for First Time in History, Repeatedly Cites GOP Intransigence On taxes (http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2011/08/05/289861/breaking-s-p-downgrades-u-s-credit-for-the-first-time-in-history-repeatedly-cites-gop-intrasigence-on-taxes/)
xiiAs debt Ceiling Looms, Last Year’s Debacle Cost Taxpayers $18.9 Billion (http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/11/28/1248011/debt-ceiling-cost-taxpayers/)
xvNorth Korea Says Its Archaeologists Discovered A ‘Unicorn Lair’ (http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/11/30/166265699/north-korea-says-its-archaeologists-discovered-a-unicorn-lair)