Is it right for one man to have so much power in the United States that he can control elections? We seem to have such a man in Grover Norquist. He is a 55 year old Harvard graduate who worked for Ronald Reagan and originated something called, “The Pledge.” Politicians who take The Pledge promise that they will never, under any circumstances, vote to raise taxes on anyone. Two hundred and seventy nine (279)Republicans, all sitting members of congress, have taken this pledge.
Norquist heads up an organization called Americans for Tax Reform, a groups whose ‘not for profit’ status makes it possible for them to conceal their funding sources.
So what is it that gives Grover Norquist and his group so much power? If you are a politician running for office and you violate your pledge, he and his wealthy backers will end your career by financially supporting your opponent and/or by causing voter retaliation of your constituents.
Consider that Mr. Norquist has lobbied Congress for communication laws and The Keystone Pipeline which would transport crude oil with all its inherent dangers, from the oil sands of Alberta, Canada through the center of the United States to the Gulf of Texas. Both communications and oil are very powerful and wealthy interest groups.
I find it hard to envision an America without Social Security, Medicare, welfare assistance, and unemployment assistance. So does Alan Simpson, a former Republican Senator and co-chair of The Deficit Commission which failed to decrease our national deficit by even one cent.
Senator Simpson has been quoted as saying our country is in such dire circumstances that taxes are inevitable. He went on to say, “It’s hard to imagine what more House Republicans could learn from conservative lobbyist Grover Norquist after they’ve already embraced his hyper-partisanship and his protection of tax breaks for Big Oil and billionaires, at the expense of Medicare and causing a payroll tax increase.”
Simpson (18 years a United States Senator from Wyoming) stated that Grover Norquist advocates “no taxes under any situation even if the country goes to Hell.”
Let’s be clear. I’m not advocating blindly raising taxes but it is hard to justify irresponsible tax breaks for the big oil companies and the mega-rich. Maybe it’s time for congress to quit acting like a bunch of clickish, bratty high school kids. Get to know one another. Have drinks and dinner together. Seek to form friendships across party lines. Do what we thought we elected you to do. WORK THIS OUT!