By Jack Jodell, May 31, 2011
“One sure way to determine the social conscience of a Government is to examine the way taxes are collected and how they are spent. And one sure way to determine the social conscience of an individual is to get his tax-reaction. Taxes, after all, are the dues that we pay for the privilege of membership in an organized society.”
– Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in a June 10, 1938 speech before the U.S. National Education Association –
According to the definition set forth above by the late, great FDR, GROVER NORQUIST, (1956- ), founder and President of Americans for Tax Reform, has NO social conscience. Having always known wealth (his father was a vice president of Polarid), Norquist went to Weston High School, recently rated the number 1 high school in all of Massachusetts. He then went on to Harvard, where he obtained a B.A. and an M.B.A. Along the way, at a very early age, he also became involved with Republican politics, having volunteered for Richard Nixon’s 1968 presidential campaign. At age 21, he observed, “nobody learned anything about politics after the age of 21.” One would certainly think that would be true in his case. On the issue of taxation, he once stated, “Raising taxes is what polticians do when they don’t have the strength to actually govern.” A very simplistic and ignorant statement from one of his educational level who should definitely know better, or who doesn’t really understand or care what government is all about, or how it operates. He has also said, “Being married is kind of like being a Ken doll; you don’t get to dress yourself anymore.” Well, speak for yourself, wimp.
Norquist, as a member of the wealthy elite, hates taxes. He created the taxpayer advocacy group Americans for Tax Reform in 1985. Its primary goal has been to reduce the percentage of our Gross Domestic Product that is consumed by our federal government. In other words, to reduce the size and scope of government., standard fare for those who are wealthy or who share libertarian or cpnservative beliefs. To achieve this end, he has worked tirelessly to elect conservative Republicans to high office. He co-authored Newt Gingrich’s notorious 1994 Contact ON (sic) America plan, and helped draft George W. Bush’s horridly regressive first round of tax cuts for the very rich. Norquist has even devised an agreement for Republican officeholders to adhere to called the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. It states:
“Politicians often run for office saying they won’t raise taxed, but then quickly turn their backs on the taxpayer. The idea of the Pledge is simple enough: Make them put their no-new-taxes rhetoric in writing.
In the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, candidates and incumbents solemnly bind themselves to oppose any and all tax increases. Qhile ATR has the role of promoting and monitoring the Pledge, the Taxpayer Protection Pledge is actually made to a candidate’s constituents, who are entitled to know where stand before sending them to the capitol. Since the pledge is a prerequisite for many voters, it is considered binding for as long as an individual holds the office for which he or she signed the Pledge. Since its rollout with the endorsement of President Reagan in 1986, the Pledge has become DE RIGUER for Republicans seeking office, and is a necessity for Democrats running in Republican districts. Numbers in Congress are approaching 50% in each house.
Today the Taxpayer Protection Pledge is offered to every candidate for state office and to all incumbents. More than 1,200 state officeholders, from state representative to governor, have signed the Pledge. Statehouse tax-and-spend interests have to contend with Pledge signers in every state.”
A nice, intimidating piece of handiwork for all those who wish to seek political office. I see no such refusal-to-raise-PRICES pledge being circulated to corporate CEOs by Mr. Norquist, though, even as the health care insurance, prescription, and oil companies rob us blind every day with constantly increasing prices! No, heaven forbid – that would interfere with huge profits, and the rich would stop getting richer at everyone else’s expense! It is confining pledges like this, combined with unneeded subsidies and twi unneeded wars which are driving our debt and deficit to unsustainable levels, NOT aid for the unemployed, poor, or elderly.
This explains why the Republicans so often vote as a bloc against tax increases, or why any mention of an increase for anyone is immediately met with loud protests. Of the 287 Republican and Tea Party members in the current Congress, Norquist has gotten an astounding 273 of them (95.1%) to sign his pathetic pledge!
Norquist subscribes to all the usual conservative Republican nonsense about “free trade” economics, deregulation, and government being the problem rather than the solution to the nation’s problems. He has frankly admitted, “My goal is to cut government in half in 25 years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.” Such idiocy! Like most of the pampered, spoiled-rotten wealthy, he mistakenly views government not as an institution being of, for, and by the people for their protection and benefit, but as an abstract entity he wants to drown because it prevents he and his rich pals from doing whatever they want whenever they want. He has no concern for the poor, the handicapped, or the unemployed and apparently sees the ever-widening gap between the very rich and everyone else as no problem at all. I would suggest that uncaring trust-funders like him with their bad, uncooperative attitudes about government are the REAL problem this country faces right now, not the government itself. Just remember, Mr. Norquist: unless YOU are part of the solution, YOU are part of the problem! And shrinking down government to where it can no longer provide the average citizen protection from the greedy excesses of big banks, big insurance companies, big oil – Wall Street, in general – is IS NO SOLUTION AT ALL!
Mr. Norquist, I happen to like good public schools, policemen, firemen, the best postal system in the world bar none, our roads and freeway system, pur national defense, and many MANY other things that TAXES and our GOVERNMENT provide us with which we all, even YOU, seem to take for granted. Contrary to what you may believe, our taxes, ESPECIALLY at the very top of the income scale, are NOT too high at all, They rank at about HALF that of other civilized nations. What I DON’T like, Nr. Norquist, are tax cheats, PARTICULARLY CORPORATIONS WHO CHEAT, or the fact that big business and their lobbyists have successfully shifted much of the corporate tax load onto individual taxpayers over the past 60 years. I also don’t like that the tax rates paid by the very wealthy have gotten so low as to burden those with incomes much smaller with an excessive amount, in comparison. Put that in your pipe and smoke it for a while, pal!
That Grover Norquist, with his crazy and obsessive vendetta against taxes and the government, should be listed as one of our TRUE enemies should surprise no reader of this blog!
His old-fashioned, 1920s-Ronald Reagan-style haircut and ancient laissez-faire economics plans tell it all. This guy is thoroughly reactionary. Ryan should really know better than to want to eliminate federal entitlements programs as he does, having been raised on Social Security survivor’s benefits (his father died when he was 16). He saved those benefits to apply toward college tuition and expenses, which was good, but they were government entitlements nonetheless. He has apparently forgotten all that, because in his public career after college he has championed conservative economic causes. He has done so even to the point of trying to do away with, and actually privatizing, Medicare and Social Security. He has become a solid supporter of tax cuts for the wealthy, smaller government, deregulation, and “free trade.” Nothing like biting the very hand that once fed you, I guess. He worked for a time during college as an Oscar Mayer Wienermobile driver: a fitting job for one who has turned his back on the poor and elderly to now help those who exploit and neglect them.
After college, his mother, fearing that Ryan was “…destined to ne a ski bum”, tongue-lashed him into accepting a position in the office of then-Senator Bob Karstens (R-WI). He became a staff economist for Karstens, and later served as a legislative director for conservative Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS), and later on was a speechwriter for both U.S. “drug czar” Bill Bennett and Rep. Jack Kemp, during the latter’s unsuccessful run for vice president in 1996. Ryan ran for Congress from Wisconsin’s 1st District in 1998, and won. He quickly began to politic with other Republicans on the Hill, notably GOP yuppie parrot and current Republican Whip Eric Cantor. Like a number of Republican politicians, Ryan is quick to look after his own interests while skirting the law for his own benefit if need be. A February 10, 2011 complaint filed by Citizens for Responsible Ethics in Washington (CREW) cites Ryan and 22 other Congressmen for RESIDING WITHIN the U.S. Capitol building offices AT TAXPAYER EXPENSE! In other words, Ryan has been living in his office rather than renting a home or a room as everyone else does in Washington, and YOU AND I have been paying for it! So much for concern for the taxpayer, or worries about the solvency of the country for future generations goes…
Ever the eager beaver when it comes to finding ways to privatize government programs, Ryan has put forth a number of “solutions” that would reduce or eliminate federal spending on entitlements. Like most conservatives, he views entitlements (rather than ridiculous tax cuts for the rich, or our horribly expensive, unfunded wars, or tax shelters the rich employ illegally outside our borders), as the biggest problem we face which is increasing our indebtedness. He has propsed ending Medicare as we know it and replacing it with a voucher system for seniors. In his plan, these cash-strapped seniors would end up spending their limited money with the profit-obsessed private insurance industry to obtain health care. Anybody with half a brain realizes this would place an unbearable financial burden on most seniors living on a fixed income, and would effectively ration the best health care only available to those who could afford it. Rather than benefitting ALL seniors, Ryan’s plan would only help cash-rich insurance companies at seniors’ expense. Earlier reckless Ryan attempts at tinkering with the federal budget would have eliminated the President’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and lowered the top tax rate to only 25%. How passage of these would have either created jobs or lowered our deficit is way beyond me, but Ryan still keeps trying to enact these crazy schemes. It is up to us to stop him.
Like Grover Norquist, Paul Ryan wants the government to be involved as little as possible with the nation’s economics. The problem with this minimalist philosophy is that it fails miserably to solve the country’s very real problems of aging infrastructure, joblessness, increasing poverty, and the ever-growing disparity in income between the very richest and everybody else. NONE of these concerns are being addressed by the private sector, nor will they ever be. It assumes naively that the market will self-correct all its flaws and will provide prosperity for all. It does NOT reduce our indebtedness and it perpetuates the very regressive economic cycle we have been saddled with for the past 30 years. That is why both of these men are dangerous to us all, and that is why BOTH ARE OUR TRUE ENEMIES!