The Tax Battle and the Consequences for Grover Norquist

Grover Norquist

The last few weeks and for the next couple of weeks the pundits of the world will be talking about the speculative congressional/White House fiscal deal and its consequences on the Grover Norquist Republican tax pledge. Democrat pundits are giddy because it could be the end of irrationally not raising taxes while Republican pundits are trying to say its not a big deal if revenue is raised by closing loopholes and ending tax incentives; as long as rates are not increased. It’s all very annoying and stupid, let me tell you why.

Grover Norquist is the president of a *lobbyist* group called Americans for Tax Reform. He formed it 20 years ago after George H. W. Bush promised not to raise taxes, but then went ahead and raised taxes. Norquists thought was that if he could get every elected republican to sign his pledge, then taxes will not be increased because they would have the backing of his lobby. It’s a brilliant financial move on his part: reach out to wealthy political donors and tell them “I stand for never raising taxes” – pretty easy sell really. Then, offer all this donor money to campaigns, as long as the person running for office signed the pledge – easy sell for the person running for office too. The problem is, the elected officials really wanted to live by this pledge because at the time, they thought it was a good idea. However, a lot of them are now realizing it was unrealistic because its simply not fiscally responsible to only ever lower taxes.

So, now pundits are having a field day because they can talk about what the consequences of a signed deal will mean for Grover Norquist. Democrats think it is the end of the tax pledge days and Republicans are hoping Norquist does not take a serious blow if tax rates happen to go up January 1st. Well let’s put all the speculation to bed right now, because I can see the future and I know exactly what will happen regardless of the details of a potential fiscal deal: nothing will fucking change. That’s right, you heard it here. You know why nothing will change? Because business will still be booming for Grover Norquist. There will still be rich people that will want to donate to his lobby because they do not want more taxes. And new Republicans running for office will still sign the pledge because then they get those fat lobby dollars. Pundits will continue writing about Grover into the new year and speculate his future, all the while his bank account will continue to grow and remain secure. Sure, he might lose a few big donors in the process because some Republicans will break the pledge, but they will be easily replaced by new donors.

The sickening thing here is not the outcome of any fiscal scenario – it’s the fact that everyone knows Grover Norquist runs a lobby, that Republicans get into its pocket if they sign a pledge, and in doing so it completely effects the legislation they are willing to pass. It has NOTHING to do with what is the right thing to do with the country and EVERYTHING to do with where their campaign contributions are coming from. And this is just a public pledge; imagine how many under-the-table pledges exists between lobby’s and candidates on both sides.