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!
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' ?
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.