Grover Norquist, an unelected right-wing lobbyist accountable to no one except his wealthy funders, has had the Republican Party in his hip pocket for several decades. All but a handful of congressional Republicans have signed his pledge never, ever to raise taxes. Perhaps no other individual is more responsible for the intransigence and irresponsibility of the modern GOP. With the “fiscal cliff” deadline looming, it is time finally for the Republicans to exercise true statesmanship by defying Norquist and asking the most privileged among us to assume a little more sacrifice. The Norquist vision, as he has famously said, is a government so small “we can drown it in the bathtub.” He apparently believes that people who need government support ought to be washed down the drain. For the good of the country and also the Republican Party, it’s time to toss Norquist’s no-tax pledge over the cliff. – Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif.
Grover Norquist has become one of Washington’s favorite whipping boys, but taxpayers owe him thanks for focusing needed attention on the real problem in Washington: excessive spending, rather than too-little taxing. Norquist’s no-tax pledge does exactly that. Excessive spending is the cause of Washington’s unprecedented trillion-dollar budget deficits in recent years. The disorder in the federal government’s fiscal house can be set right only by getting rid of spending programs that America’s taxpayers can’t afford. There are plenty to go round. Signing Norquist’s pledge doesn’t mean opposing all changes in the federal tax code; it merely means looking to spending cuts, first, and then to reforming our Byzantine IRS tax apparatus for collecting them. Republicans, especially, and all of us owe Norquist thanks, not condemnation. – William F. Shughart II, Independent Institute