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A study that I recently ran into noted the following items, that blew me away -

Privatization in Practice
The key strategies as to how to downsize government and transfer programs to the private sector are described as:
•  Privatization by attrition - Cessation of public programs and disengagement of government from specific kinds of responsibilities. Example might be the U.S. postal system.
•  Transfer of assets - Direct sale or lease of public land, infrastructure, and enterprises. Examples might be federal and state parks, state-owned liquor stores and the proposed privatization of public libraries.
•  Contracting out (public/private partnerships) or vouchers - Instead of directly producing some service, the government may finance private services, for example through contracting out or vouchers. Examples might be charter schools, prisons.
•  Deregulation - Deregulation of entry into activities previously treated as public monopolies. Examples might be utilities, water, waste management, air traffic control and ports.
Sometimes I’m a little slow at processing information – in an introverted type of way.  Mulling – is my way of life, until the proverbial light bulb goes off and the facts hit me upside the head.

That list of “privatization in practice” is the game plan for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).  Previously, I had viewed each of those bullet points as separate entities, separate but unrelated ALEC goals – but they are in fact, the bits and pieces of one agenda - “privatization”.

In that same study, they note in the overview (my emphasis):

The pace of the movement to privatize has escalated since 2008. The current economic recession and the trend in government over the years to reduce taxes have increased government budget deficits. The current recession is resulting in business failures, high unemployment, and a loss of tax revenues for federal, state and local governments. These revenue losses have added to the drive to downsize government by privatizing functions, services and assets. As was discovered throughout the study, as Connie Prince points out in the education article below, "information is limited because most of the operations are proprietary in a private company leading to a lack of transparency." That factor causes a bit of an unbalance in the study materials toward the negative effects of privatization in general. Failures are usually publicized and glaring, while actual facts are still behind the closed books of the private companies.
And at that point I am not only thinking of ALEC – but I am thinking of Grover Norquist and his “No New Taxes Pledge” that is creating havoc and destruction at the state and federal levels.

So I thought it was time to do a little research on if and how the two are associated.  Because while the supposition may be made that Norquist / ALEC may be working in tandem to achieve the same final goal, I had not found documentation that definitively linked them over any specific period of time.

A preliminary review of documents showed the following connections between Grover Norquist and ALEC.

1995
ALECs 22nd Annual Meeting 1995
Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform, briefed legislators on the progress of various tax reform proposals on Capitol Hill.

1996
In the ALEC Annual Business plan they made the following statement regarding the focus of the Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force for the upcoming year.

Growth Tax and Fiscal Policies A one-day National Summit on Tax Reform will be held in conjunction with the spring meeting of the Task Force on Tax and Fiscal Policy; a State Factor will be published addressing either the flat tax or supermajority requirements; a Focus Event will be sponsored in a targeted state ; policy experts will be provided to testify in committee hearings in up to two key states ; information packets will be mailed to key members in five targeted states; tax reform legislation will be continuously tracked and Legislative Updates will be distributed to Task Force members monthly through July; one edition of FYI will focus on tax and fiscal policy issues, about half of which will address tax reform; and one workshop each at the Annual Meeting and the National Orientation Conference will be dedicated to tax and fiscal policy issues .
And always – being focused and maniacal to their goals it appears ALEC did accomplish those goals set in the 1996 Annual Business Plan.

1997
Panelist – ALEC annual meeting on public pensions
Peter Ferrara, General Counsel and Chief Economist,
Americans for Tax Reform

Panelist ALEC annual meeting session on Why Tax Reform Is Necessary
Grover Norquist, President, Americans for Tax Reform

Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force Meeting Speaker
Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform will discuss progress in obtaining state legislators' signatures on the ATR Taxpayer Pledge.

Commerce and Economic Development Task Force Meeting
A panel consisting of Peter Ferrara of Americans for Tax Reform, Sam Beard of Economic Security 2000, Adam Dubitsky of the Fund for a New Generation, Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute. Steve Buckstein of the Oregon based Cascade Policy Institute and Oregon State Senator Gene Derfler will explore the problems with the current Social Security system and the viability of state-based alternatives.

2010
Inside ALEC article on crime – A direct quote for the article
Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist recently noted, “Viewed through the skeptical eye I train on all other government programs, mandatory minimum sentencing policies are not worth the high cost to America’s taxpayers.”

2010
September Inside ALEC article
Online Taxes
The Holy Grail of revenue
BY KELLY WILLIAM COBB,
Executive Director for the Digital Liberty
Project, Americans for Tax Reform

2010
ALEC States and Nation Summit
“ALEC’s First Predatory Tax Academy:”
State legislators also heard from Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform, who spoke on the topic of budget transparency.

2011
ALEC Publication “State Budget Reform Toolkit”
Contributing Authors:
Josh Culling
State Government Affairs Manager, Americans for Tax Reform

This would imply that the ALEC/Norquist relationship has been growing over the course of at least almost 20 years and maybe longer.

Common Cause Documents
Then in addition to that short tour through history, we have the current documentation of the ALEC / Norquist relationship that is furthered in the Section 4 documents of the IRS complaint filed by Common Cause IRS paperwork challenging ALEC’s tax exempt status.

Telecommunications & Information Technology Task Force
2010 and 2011  
Christopher Butler
Private Sector Member (M1)
Chief of Staff Delegate
Americans for Tax Reform Foundation

2010 and 2011)
Kelly Cobb
Private Sector Member (M2)
State Affairs Manager
Americans for Tax Reform Foundation

2011
Rep. Thoreson and Mr. Cleland announced the formation of a Working Group, comprised of Mr. Kelly Cobb of Americans for Tax Reform and Rep. Curry Todd of Tennessee, to study and recommend changes to old model legislation adopted by the Task Force.
    •  Motion to Repeal the Life Line Telephone Service Guidelines – Rep. Don Parsons (GA) and Mr. Kelly Cobb (Americans for Tax Reform)
    •  Motion to Repeal the Concurrent Resolution Creating a Special Joint Committee to Develop a Comprehensive Telecommunications Plan for the States – Rep. Don Parsons (GA) and Mr. Kelly Cobb (Americans for Tax Reform)
    •  Motion to Repeal the Utility Gross Receipts Tax Act – Rep. Don Parsons (GA) and Mr. Kelly William Cobb (Americans for Tax Reform)
    •  Motion to Repeal the Emergency Telephone Service Enabling Act – Rep. Don Parsons (GA) and Mr. Kelly Cobb (Americans for Tax Reform)
    •  Motion to Repeal the Alternate Certification for Distance Learning Instructors Act – Rep. Don Parsons (GA) and Mr. Kelly Cobb (Americans for Tax Reform)
    •  Motion to Repeal the Resolution Concerning Management of the National Spectrum – Rep. Don Parsons (GA) and Mr. Kelly Cobb (Americans for Tax Reform)
    •  Motion to Repeal the Resolution Urging Congress to Open the Cable Industry to More Competition in the Marketplace – Rep. Don Parsons (GA) and Mr. Kelly Cobb (Americans for Tax Reform)

Kelly William Cobb of Americans for Tax Reform and the Task Force’s Model Legislation Review Working Group offered three motions to strike: 1) the Resolution on MFJ Restrictions on Manufacturing and IntraLATA Information Services, 2) the Resolution in Favor of Unrestricted Caller*ID, and 3) the Resolution Lifting the MFJ Restriction on Long Distance Services. After Mr. Cobb’s presentation, there was no further discussion. Then, Mr. Cobb moved and was seconded to consider the three motions on one vote. Both public and private sectors voted unanimously to approve the motions to strike the model resolutions.

Public Safety and Elections Task Force
2010
Holly M. Jackson
Private Sector Member (Info)
Director of Development
Americans for Tax Reform

Commerce, Insurance, & Economic Development
2010
Agenda Item
A Resolution in Opposition to Value Added Taxes
Americans for Tax Reform

Private Sector Members
Mr. Kelly Cobb, Americans for Tax Reform Foundation
Mr. Nathan Pick, Americans for Tax Reform

Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force
2010
Private Sector Members
Mr. Christopher Butler, Americans for Tax Reform Foundation

2011
Private Sector Members
Mr. Josh Culling, Americans for Tax Reform Foundation

2012 (May)
Agenda Items
Panel Discussion: Debunking Tax Myths
Josh Culling – Americans for Tax Reform
Jonathan Small – Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs
Jonathan Williams – ALEC

Consideration of Proposed Model Legislation
Resolution on Taxation of Smokeless Tobacco Products versus Cigarettes
Utah Sen. Wayne Niederhauser
Christopher Butler – Americans for Tax Reform

Title: Resolution on Taxation of Smokeless Tobacco Products versus Cigarettes
Sponsors: Senator Wayne Niederhauser, Utah
Christopher Butler, Americans for Tax Reform
Summary:
This resolution recognizes that tobacco harm reduction is a vital component in a successful tobacco control strategy. While abstaining from all tobacco is the best way for smokers to reduce their risk of disease, state governments must also consider if those who will not abstain can reduce their risk by switching to tobacco products that present less risk.

So Norquist and his Americans for Tax Reform have their fingers in almost every piece of the pie at ALEC, influencing a large percentage of the ALEC pro-business "model legislation" that is produced.  They are an prominent factor in much of what comes out of ALEC.

When  you consider that ALEC brags of having approximately 1/3 of all state legislators and over 100 Congresssional members in their back pocket; and Americans for Tax Reforms brags of having over 1200 state legislators  and over 200 Congressional members that have signed their “No New Taxes Pledge”, there are a lot of ALEC/Norquist forces out there that are intent on removing tax revenues from the government, in an effort to fulfill ALEC’s dream of privatization of government goods and services.

And who is the winner in this ALEC / Norquist gameplan?  This phrase from Section 2a1 of ALEC “model legislation” written in 1995 pretty much says it all.

The government should not be in the business to compete with private sector services.

Originally posted to MNDem999 on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 01:10 PM PDT.

Also republished by American Legislative Transparency Project and ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement.

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Comment Preferences

  •  How do we combat this? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MNDem999, elwior, Ohiodem1

    I was on a conference call a few days ago where they were discussing this exact issue. The idea is to create an alternative progressive council, but one that is unique to each state because each one has different problems facing it. From there, then it becomes an issue of education, by showing the voters that their actions are ultimately detrimental to everyone involved, not just the corporations.

    •  Talking about it - is the first step (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elwior, PhilW, Ohiodem1, Gowrie Gal

      And an amazing step.

      It's my opinoin that one of the reasons that we've gotten where we are is because people have been watching and wondering "how is this happening?" - but not able to put the pieces together to figure it out.  The pieces are starting to come together now, and people are satrting to have that conversation.  I think it's working with each other - in state and across statelines that will be important to these issues.

      It will definitely take the input of "the village" and the nation to figure out how we stop this insanity.  The caveat will be not to fall down into the same gutter as ALEC  - cozying up to corporations to get done what needs to be done.

      Thanks for stopping by and reading and commenting.

      I look forward to the response of others to your question.

    •  Here's my take on "The Pledge" from 2010 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MNDem999

      http://www.dailykos.com/...

      That was when Ohio governor candidate John Kasich took the pledge.  Unfortunately, he won the election, and we have Radical Republican government in Ohio.

      It is time to run the Radical Republicans out of office this November.

      In Michigan, they are called Radical Republican Dictators.

      Republicans are like alligators. All mouth and no ears.

      by Ohiodem1 on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 02:28:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The ALEC/Norquist variety of top echelon right (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MNDem999, elwior, Gowrie Gal

    wingers are all totally incestuous. But the documentation is invaluable. Thank you.

    Though the day to day players are pretty much all puppets (and what a cast of characters is included in this group), while the strings are all pulled by more of an "intimate yet informal" group of vastly wealthy financers.

    (At the top might even be Beelzebub, but things are so murky up there that no one seems to be able to do more than speculate at this point.)

    There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

    by oldpotsmuggler on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 01:38:46 PM PDT

    •  Yeh, your comment reminded me (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gowrie Gal

      of the muckety muck maps that Bob Sloan has done to show all the right wing / ALEC relationships - as illustrated in his diary from February.

      I often wonder if the "puppets' realize that they are puppets.  Mike Papantonio referred to them as circus monkeys one day on a radio station.  I like that visualization of them dancing around with little hats on their heads and suspendered shorts - looking like fools before their organ grinder.

      Thanks for taking the time to read my history bits and commenting - very appreciated.

      •  Pound it, pound it, pound it. The battle only gets (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MNDem999, Gowrie Gal

        better from here on out.

        There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

        by oldpotsmuggler on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 02:04:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Don't forget this guy... (0+ / 0-)

        ... Lewis (Lew) Uhler at the Americans for Tax Reform Foundation which you mention here (the anti-tax version of Club for Growth - the exclusive mega-wealthy only org) who has been an MC at ALEC conferences, puts together and publishes letters that pull together all the players (around taxes) AFP, ALEC, the state level orgs, etc, and he is also along with Norquist one of the key players in formed the Tea Party movement.

        Hard to track all these tax orgs, there are some many, but maybe this Uhler guy is one of the key players around which they (and ALEC) orbit.

        Thanks for posting this. Not enough work has been done as of yet on this front.

        For the occasional reluctant tweet

        by Hector Solon on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 05:27:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Correction... (0+ / 0-)

          ... Lew Uhler's main organizational home is the National Tax Limitation Committee (the exclusive club of the mega-wealthy fighting taxes). All part of the same tree, just think this is one of the key orgs that make up the "trunk" of the tax government )read civilization) elimination cabal.

          For the occasional reluctant tweet

          by Hector Solon on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 06:50:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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