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Who is Grover Norquist?

Grover G. Norquist, a native of Massachusetts, has been one of most effective issues management strategists in Washington for over two decades.

Mr. Norquist is president of  Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), a taxpayer advocacy group he founded in 1985 at President Reagan’s request. ATR is a coalition of taxpayer groups, individuals and businesses opposed to higher taxes at the federal, state and local levels.

ATR organizes the TAXPAYER PROTECTION PLEDGE, which asks all candidates for federal and state office to commit themselves in writing to oppose all tax increases. In the 112th Congress, 236 House members and 41 Senators have taken the pledge.


What have our Reps actually Pledged to this "issues management strategist" anyways?

Hint:  They're not called the 'Party of No' for nothing!



What is the Taxpayer Protection Pledge?

In the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, candidates and incumbents solemnly bind themselves to oppose any and all tax increases. While 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 candidates stand before sending them to the capitol. Since the Pledge is a prerequisite for many voters, it is considered binding as long as an individual holds the office for which he or she signed the Pledge.

... "considered binding" by whom?  ... the authorities of ATR?


SO, Who exactly has 'solemnly bound' themselves to this Pledge, and to the 1-Dimensional Ideology 'for which it stands' ?

List of Pledge Signers in the 112th Congress (pdf)


What exactly, have the undersigned 'Pledged' to the ATR?

Americans for Tax Reform   [from previous link]


Taxpayer Protection Pledge:  

I, ____, pledge to the taxpayers of the (____
district of the) state of _
____ and to the American
people that I will: ONE, oppose any and all efforts
to increase the marginal income tax rate for
individuals and business; and TWO, oppose any
net reduction or elimination of deductions and
credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further
reducing tax rates.


Sounds innocuous enough.  

Take your medicine -- Taxes Be Gone!

Simple.   E-z, P-z. Lemon Squeezy ...

Just put your 'John Hancock' on the dotted line.  You're one of US now.


SO, how is signing the Norquist Pledge 'Un-Constitutional' for OUR Representatives in Congress ?

That's Simple too.

Our Constitution instructs our Representatives to actually 'Collect Taxes'.

Our Constitution instructs our Representatives to actually 'to pay the Debts'.


The Constitution of the United States -- Article I, Section 8

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;


Congress is supposed to Raise Taxes --

To provide for the general Welfare.


Congress is supposed to Honor our Debts

To provide for the common Defense.


Congress is supposed to borrow Money  on the credit of our Nation

To regulate Commerce -- both Foreign and Domestic.  
[and Corporate Commerce too, as we shall see shortly ...]


That's all in the Constitution!

Grover's 'matched dollar for dollar' Pay-fors -- Not So Much.


OK, that's all well and good, but What the Heck is an Imposts?  

or an Excise, or Duties?

Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises
by Library Answer Person, Duke University --  Oct 4, 2004

What are the respective differences between taxes, duties, imposts and excises?  [...]

ANSWER PERSON RESPONDS: This is from Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution: “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States…”.

The glossary from the U.S. Treasury Dept’s International Trade Data System  defines

-- duty as “a tax levied by a government on the import or export of goods,”

-- imposts as “a tax, especially an import duty,” and

-- excise taxes as “taxes on the manufacture, sale, or consumption of goods, or upon licenses to pursue certain occupations, or upon corporate privileges,”

which, they explain, in current usage covers about everything besides income taxes. It seems like the writers of the Constitution were throwing in all sorts of synonyms to cover the bases, although in the usage of the 18th century the words may have had other subtle differences. [...]


OK so Congress has many, many routes for Raising Revenues 'Constitutionally speaking' --

including Import and Export Fees;

including Business Licensing Fees.

including levying taxes 'upon Corporate Privileges'.


So, one Question left:  Why Don't they?


The Answer:  They have 'Pledged their Allegiance' to Grover Norquist

-- and NOT to the American Constitution!


The writers of the Constitution were covering all sorts of Revenue Angles.

They were envisioning a truly exceptional and a very empowered Country.


The writers and signers the Norquist Pledge were simply envisioning their overstuffed wallets.

They are envisioning a Country were each person would 'sink or swim' on their own.


The writers of the Constitution, seem to be saying 'were all in this together' with those sweeping goals to "provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States".

Reaching and Meeting those Goals is WHY the United States should incur National Debt, as needed.


It's extremely easy to say NO to everything -- two and three-year olds do it all the time -- exercise their One Word Vocabulary -- NO!


It's takes a national consensus of thoughtful, multi-dimensional Adults, to find ways to 'Say Yes' ...

to find ways of actually Meeting the Goals , of exercising the Mission, of our 'exceptional' Country, that the Founders had envisioned.

-----------

1)  opposing any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rate for individuals and business  and

2)  oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.

Were NOT among the stated Goals or Congressional Powers left to us, by the Nation's Founders.


Those very restrictive, limiting goals were created, after the fact, by the "issues management strategist" Grover Norquist, in order to turn a "Nation of We's" -- into a "Nation of Me's" -- instead.


No wonder Schoolyard Bully tactics have reigned supreme in their  Obstructionist battle plans.

"Shared Sacrifice" is a only a slogan, a tactic to take ever-more the weak and the powerless.  It's not the Reality in a Congress where Revenues are "Off the Table",  by divine fiat.


That is the world that Grover, and his followers, have built.

Nothing  very 'exceptional' about it at all -- All they have to do, is "Just say NO!"  

-- even if saying NO mean protecting Corporate Jets and Big Oil Subsidies ... and a wide variety of other Corporate Interests.

NO Means NO -- when you have signed away your "common sense" to a "strategic" Pledge -- that seeks to override Constitution.



Poll

Is it 'Constitutional' for Representatives to 'Pledge their Allegiance' to Grover Norquist?

6%13 votes
86%172 votes
3%6 votes
1%3 votes
1%3 votes
0%1 votes

| 198 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  hey, I thought the constitution barred (5+ / 0-)

    religious tests

  •  Yeah, it's Constitutional. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Crashing Vor, emelyn, Loge, debedb

    It's also creepy, but there it is....

    "Faced with what is right, to leave it undone shows a lack of courage." - Confucius

    by IndieGuy on Sat Jul 02, 2011 at 09:50:42 AM PDT

  •  Nothing in the Constitution says a legislator (11+ / 0-)

    can't refuse to vote to raise taxes. Nothing in there forbids swearing allegiance to Grover Norquist, or a ham sandwich, or their belly button lint.

    But they're on constitutionally shaky grounds to assert that we can't raise taxes, or set up this or that social program either.

    liberal bias = failure to validate or sufficiently flatter the conservative narrative on any given subject

    by RockyMtnLib on Sat Jul 02, 2011 at 09:57:46 AM PDT

  •  Operative words... (4+ / 0-)
    Mr. Norquist is president of  Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), a taxpayer advocacy group he founded in 1985 at President Reagan’s request.

    Thanks for this Diary, james.  I've been obsessing over this issue and have not been able to frame an argument against it.  Unconstitutional is a possibility but more importantly, IMO, is the fact that republican voters put government officials in office who have, in most cases, signed the Pledge before they are elected in exchange for support from ATR.

    It's my understanding that there is an implied threat by ATR to actively work against a candidate if the Pledge is not signed.

    I recently saw Norquist crowing about the defeat of GHW Bush because he raised taxes.

    I've read several articles re this and other "pledges", i.e., DeMint's latest attempt to control votes, and that newer GOPers are resisting.

     

    May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house. George Carlin

    by msmacgyver on Sat Jul 02, 2011 at 10:11:12 AM PDT

    •  Hmm... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jamess, msmacgyver

      ...what has ATR done lately that could be construed as working against a condidate? Methinks Mr. Norquist has been sitting in his bathtub too long, and has acquired a soggy contenance. Be nice to actually test his group's mettle.

      Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

      by JeffW on Sat Jul 02, 2011 at 10:16:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Let's hope so...perhaps Coburn (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jamess, JeffW, phonegery

        stole his Rubber Duckie...

        From David Frum, hand-ringing and adrift conservative:

        http://www.frumforum.com/...

        Coburn, Norquist Spar Over No-Tax Hike Pledge (4/15/11)

        Republicans are feuding over whether to abandon the party’s long-held opposition to higher taxes in pursuit of a deficit-cutting deal with Democrats.

        The rift in the Republican ranks has surfaced in a bitter back-and-forth between two heroes of the conservative movement: Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, who has been working with a bipartisan group of senators on a compromise to reduce government borrowing, and Grover Norquist, author of the no-tax-increase pledge that has become a rite of passage for GOP candidates.

        At stake is a pillar of Republican orthodoxy that has for decades united every wing of the party in a quest to shrink government’s reach.


        May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house. George Carlin

        by msmacgyver on Sat Jul 02, 2011 at 10:47:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  It's about time (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      msmacgyver

      for the Norquist Crowd to have to justify their Blind Allegiance

      with more than just One-Note Answers.


      It is time they are Confronted with Article 1, Section 8.

      to see how they "square that circle"?


      thx for the feedback, msmacgyver,  I hear ya.


      What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.
      -- Maslow ...... my list.

      by jamess on Sat Jul 02, 2011 at 10:23:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  i saw the smarmy motherfoxer (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jamess, msmacgyver, phonegery

      on colbert the other night. glad that i understand better the ground on which i need to make my stand regarding the constitutionality of the pledge itself, and i agree with your point that signing prior to election is the big problem.

  •  Of course it's constitutional. (4+ / 0-)

    I'm guessing that it might not be legal if Norquist were the agent of a foreign government, but since we don't recognize Crazyland as an independent entity that doesn't come into play.

    It's better to curse the darkness than light a candle. --Whoever invented blogs, c.1996

    by Rich in PA on Sat Jul 02, 2011 at 10:12:44 AM PDT

  •  The Constitution gives legislators... (4+ / 0-)

    ...the power to do such things as raise taxes and settle debts, but it does not require them to do so.  
    So, there's no Constitutional issue here.

    •  so, if I may ask (0+ / 0-)

      what is your criteria

      that would raise something to the level of being

      "a Constitutional issue"  ?


      thx for your reply Bill W


      What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.
      -- Maslow ...... my list.

      by jamess on Sat Jul 02, 2011 at 10:40:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  A Constitutional issue, to me... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jamess, phonegery

        ...would be if the Representative didn't qualify to hold office according to the requirements in the Constitution.  But the only requirements the Constitution stipulates, if I'm remembering correctly, have to do with age and residency.  Nowhere does it bind an elected representative to vote in any particular way.

        •  another question (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bill W

          should Congressional Reps

          be "required to" have actually read the Constitution,

          and abide by its principles?


          [ "required to" in the sense of "civic responsibility" ]


          What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.
          -- Maslow ...... my list.

          by jamess on Sat Jul 02, 2011 at 11:07:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  If by "required", you mean... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jamess

            not actually required, then yes.  I think they all should read it and abide by its principles.  I just don't favor any kind of literal requirement that they do so.  
            Remember, they pretty much all believe they're abiding by its principles, and look at the breadth of thought that encompasses.  It's just way too subjective to make it a legal requirement.

        •  If this Norquist pledge, word for word, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jamess

          was offered to legislators by China, (or any other foreign country), and they signed it, would it raise a constitutional issue?

          Democrats - We represent America!

          by phonegery on Sat Jul 02, 2011 at 08:03:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, defaulting on the national debt (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jamess, phonegery

        would be unconstitutional, because the 14th Amendment states that "the validity of the public debt, authorized by law....shall not be questioned [except debts incurred by the Confederacy in the Civil War]. This requirement is one reason why the US is able to borrow at such low rates (being the biggest economy in the world being the other reason).

        "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

        by Alice in Florida on Sat Jul 02, 2011 at 11:23:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  This is a necessary conversation that you have (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight, IndieGuy, jamess, phonegery

    begun, jamess. Now let's see if MSM has a dialogue going along this vein.

    Hummm. NYT. No. All Strauss-Kahn all the time. And war. WSJ. As I expected, there's an opinion video dissecting this with mention that taxes on the rich are high enough already, but that corporate profits aren't high enough to generate jobs. It's class warfare, says the WSJ. No new taxes.

    From the 'liberal' Grey Lady to the Murdochian WSJ, this conversation is going nowhere in MSM. It will be up to the voice of workers and labor, and conversations like this to offer a pushback on raising taxes.

    It is no longer good enough to cry peace. We must act peace, live peace, and march in peace in alliance with the people of the world. Chief Shenandoah, Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy

    by 4Freedom on Sat Jul 02, 2011 at 10:22:07 AM PDT

    •  That's what I'm hoping to do (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      4Freedom

      find a way, to "kick off" this very important national conversation.


      Why are we marching in lockstep,
      to this Liberatian-Rand-ite from the 80's ?


      What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.
      -- Maslow ...... my list.

      by jamess on Sat Jul 02, 2011 at 10:44:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Randians have spent decades down-educating (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jamess, sfbob, phonegery

        our youth, scrambling the airwaves with winger malarkey, and now the rest of us are reaping the whirlwind they have sewn.

        Pushback is needed, and I'm off to LTE the local paper. That's because the NYT and the WSJ already have their propaganda in place, and tend to ignore opposing viewpoints unless presented as a strawman argument to knock down.

        It is no longer good enough to cry peace. We must act peace, live peace, and march in peace in alliance with the people of the world. Chief Shenandoah, Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy

        by 4Freedom on Sat Jul 02, 2011 at 11:38:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  They have sown the wind, and they shall reap the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jamess

          whirlwind.  

          I had to look it up, to see what it really meant.

          - As the husbandman reaps the same kind of grain which he has sown, but in far greater abundance, thirty, sixty, or one hundred fold; so he who sows the wind shall have a whirlwind to reap. The vental seed shall be multiplied into a tempest so they who sow the seed of unrighteousness shall reap a harvest of judgment.

          This is a fine, bold, and energetic metaphor.
          http://bible.cc/...

          Democrats - We represent America!

          by phonegery on Sat Jul 02, 2011 at 08:19:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I like where you're going with this. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess, Alice in Florida, phonegery

    I like the 14th Amendment questions on the Debt Limit too.

    Fight fire with fire.

    Ideology is an excuse to ignore common sense.

    by Bush Bites on Sat Jul 02, 2011 at 10:47:53 AM PDT

  •  Lawrence O'Donnell has done some... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess, sfbob, phonegery

    ...extensive reporting on "The Last Word" regarding Norquist and the power he has on Republicans nationwide. It's far more than just constitutional to me. These Republicans are so willing to place their allegiance to Norquist and his pledge above the best interests of the country that they are willing to destroy U.S. financial interests just so they can keep faithful to their pledge to Norquist. This alone is more than ample reason to show that Republicans are not only morally incompetent, they are totally unfit and unworthy to hold any post of governing responsility in this country, including dog catcher.

    The people united will never be defeated.

    by alaprst on Sat Jul 02, 2011 at 10:50:51 AM PDT

    •  good to know (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      phonegery


      great angle too:  "moral competency"

      more than ample reason to show that Republicans are not only morally incompetent, they are totally unfit and unworthy to hold any post of governing responsibility in this country, including dog catcher.


      After they have outsource ALL our Jobs, somewhere overseas ...

      Can we then speak up and question their "moral competency" ?

      to question their sense of "civic duty" ?

      to question the final results of their "Slash and Burn" tactics ?


      thx alaprst


      What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.
      -- Maslow ...... my list.

      by jamess on Sat Jul 02, 2011 at 11:01:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  In relation to other countries our taxes are low (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess, sfbob, phonegery
    U.S. Is One of the Least Taxed Developed Countries

    U.S. Is One of the Least Taxed Developed Countries

    Revenue Increase the Obvious Answer to Deficit Impasse

    June 30, 2011Contact: Steve Wamhoff (202) 299-1066 x33

    Some members of Congress are threatening to allow the U.S. to default on its debt obligations— and send financial markets into a tailspin — unless the President agrees to large, sudden cuts in the budget deficit without any increase in tax revenue. But the most recent data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the Office of Management and Budget and the Census Bureau reveal that the U.S. is already one of the least taxed countries in the developed world. Only two OECD countries have lowertaxes as a share of gross domestic product(GDP) than the United States.

    Overall, U.S. Taxes Are Third-Lowest Among OECD Nations

    In 2009, total federal, state and local taxes in the United States were 22.6 percent of our gross domestic product, ranking 26th among the 28 OECD countries for which data are available. Only Chile (18.2 percent) and Mexico (17.5 percent) had lower taxes.

    In 2009, total taxes in the 25 OECD nations with higher taxes than ours ranged from 24.6percent of GDP in Turkey to 48.2 percent in Denmark.

    In most cases, the difference in tax levels between the U.S. and OECD countries is not even close. Of the 25 OECD nations with taxes higher than ours, 22 of them have taxes that are at least 25 percent higher, and 15have taxes at least 50 percent higher.

    Personal Income Taxes

    In 2000, the year before President George W. Bush took office, personal income taxes were12.3 percent of our GDP.

    Since the Bush tax cuts were enacted, personal income taxes have plummeted. Even with the brief economic bubble that caused income tax receipts to rise in 2007, personal income taxes were consistently well below their 2000 level as a share of GDP ever since the Bush tax cuts were enacted.

    In 2009, U.S. personal income taxes were just 7.7 percent of GDP.

    Social Insurance Taxes

    Social insurance taxes and other wage taxes have risen rapidly worldwide.

    Since 1965, social insurance taxes in the U.S. have risen from 3.2 percent of GDP to 6.2percent of GDP in 2009.

    In other OECD countries, social insurance and other wage taxes rose from 6.1 percent of GDP to 10.8 percent over the same period.
    Sales, Excise and Other Consumption Taxes

    In 1965, total federal, state and local consumption taxes in the U.S. were 5.5 percent of GDP. By 2009 they were 4.1 percent.

    In other OECD countries, consumption taxes were 9.6 percent of GDP in 1965, and 9.1percent in 2009.
    Property & Wealth Taxes

    Property and wealth taxes in the U.S. (about 90 percent of which are state and local realestate taxes) fell from 3.9 percent of GDP in 1965 to 2.9 percent in 1980, and have held stablethereafter. They were 3.2 percent of GDP in 2009

    Plutocracy too long tolerated leaves democracy on the auction block, subject to the highest bidder ~ Bill Moyers

    by Lefty Coaster on Sat Jul 02, 2011 at 11:04:48 AM PDT

  •  of course it is constitutional (0+ / 0-)

    to make such a pledge. It's dumb, ridiculous, counter-productive, and harmful, but the Constitution does not mandate that only intelligent people are elected.

  •  Not only their pledge to Norquist, but their (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess, phonegery

    behavior in general, seems to be in direct conflict with their oath to uphold the Constitution.  But then again, what do I know?  I've bounced between their actions being downright terroristic to treason.  Depending on what that those actions are, they have fallen under the definition of both.  And I think it's time to start calling them out on it.

    The GOP will destroy anything they can't own.

    by AnnieR on Sat Jul 02, 2011 at 12:16:07 PM PDT

  •  quote - Grover (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess, Catte Nappe, phonegery
    “We will make it so that a Democrat cannot govern as a Democrat.” ~ Grover Norquist

    GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell is willing to tank the economy for the sake of protecting tax breaks for oil companies, yachts and corporate jets. - Senator Charles Schumer D-NY

    by anyname on Sat Jul 02, 2011 at 01:05:59 PM PDT

  •  just some friendly advice (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess

    When you write: "Congress is suppose to Raise Taxes", you should have written "supposed to", even though we don't ever actually say the "d".  

    I don't mean to be rude by pointing this out, but I find that correct spelling helps keep away people who'd try to derail your thread with a nasty comment about your spelling.

    As for your point, Congress isn't even supposed to raise taxes, etc.  They have the power to do so, but they are under no obligation to exercise that power.  

    Pas de bras, pas de chocolat!

    by nominalize on Sun Jul 03, 2011 at 12:27:53 AM PDT

    •  They have an Obigation (0+ / 0-)

      to pay our Debts

      somehow.

      Raising Taxes, Duties, Imposts, and Excises,

      are stated as Payment Options.


      What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.
      -- Maslow ...... my list.

      by jamess on Sun Jul 03, 2011 at 08:54:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Obligation (0+ / 0-)

        is what I meant to type.


        And our elected Reps do have those.

        They're in the Constitution.

        If they don't want to do the job,

        they should quit and go home,

        and be like Sarah.


        What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.
        -- Maslow ...... my list.

        by jamess on Sun Jul 03, 2011 at 08:59:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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