Tuesday, 24 January 2012 11:57

The Anti-Norquist Pledge

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The Anti-Norquist Pledge

The Norquist Pledge has nothing to do with tax reform as understood by most American taxpayers. For example, the majority of Americans favor increasing -- rather than capping -- the marginal tax rates of the top 1%. (By the way, Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) -- a tax-exempt institution -- pays no taxes on its annual revenues of about $5 million per year, according to ATR tax forms.)

Grover Norquist even emphasizes that the pledge has no exceptions for war, natural disaster, or other misfortunes. For example, a signer of the Norquist Pledge isn't permitted to vote to increase tax rates on America's 1% -- even if such changes would be revenue neutral, and/or are desperately needed for a national emergency. Mr. Norquist's real goal (explained in his other writings) is to substantially shrink the size of government.

I oppose the Norquist Pledge for (at least) two reasons:

  1. ATR is a misleading, Orwellian assault on our language: ATR is entitled to a view that tax revenues should be capped, or that the '1%' shouldn't pay more taxes -- but they should call themselves Americans for Flat Tax, Americans for Limited Government, or anything which describes their real goals.
  2. We need compromise, not gridlock: The Norquist Pledge was directly responsible for the near default of the U.S. government, and contributes to the acrimonious political atmosphere we all suffer from. The American Bill of Rights and the Constitution are core non-negotiable commitments every American has the right to insist our politicians pledge to defend and protect. But pledges to not raise marginal tax rates on the top '1%' make normal compromise and negotiation impossible.

To counter this harmful situation, I propose the American Citizen's Anti-Norquist Pledge:

  1. As an American citizen, I hereby irrevocably commit that I will not support, contribute to or vote for any politicians who have signed the Norquist Pledge, unless they publicly renounce that pledge.
  2. As a shareholder of any American corporation, I pledge to oppose any corporate contributions to ATR and to vote against any corporate management using corporate funds to support ATR.
  3. As a consumer, I will not knowingly purchase goods and services from corporations that support the Norquist Pledge.

Finally, I would welcome your comments:

  • Do you agree the Norquist Pledge is harmful to our country?
  • If you agree that the Norquist Pledge is harmful, would you be willing to sign the Anti-Norquist Pledge?
  • What else could we do to reverse the Norquist Pledge?

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steven-strauss/norquist-tax-pledge_b_1221193.html

Steven Strauss was founding Managing Director of the Center for Economic Transformation at the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC). He is an Advanced Leadership Fellow at Harvard University for 2011-2012. He has a Ph.D. in Management from Yale University.

Norquist notes proudly that he’s been pushing this pledge since 1986. Let’s take a quick look at how successful Norquist has been at inducing his signatories to “reduce the size of the federal government.”

You will obviously draw your own conclusions; however, once Norquist perpetrated his inviolable pledge upon our Nation's leaders, the great machinery of the state bent its collective will to the task of WHAT? ...cutting spending? ...reducing the size of the federal government?

So we have a balanced budget and pragmatism in Washington?


Spending and debt have exploded since politicians started deciding to let Norquist bind them to a policy of never raising enough revenue to pay for the spending they do?

It turns out that Republican politicians who break their oath to the Constitution by signing a superceding oath don’t care about deficits or the size of the federal government -- at least their collective action does not reflect it. Look back at the debt chart. If overspending was the real issue, then why a pledge that simply forces signatories to pay for all the spending they want to do?

Merely asking people to stop raising revenue to pay for stuff accomplishes nothing; it’s a myopic plan completely devoid of any corresponding policy objective(s) -- or contingency planning!

See also:

  1. House GOP Lawmakers Want Out Of Tax Pledge
  2. Norquist Pledge Signers - 112th Congressional List
Read 1517 times Last modified on Tuesday, 10 April 2012 13:49
Rich Wermske

My pedigree and bona fides are published elsewhere. That said, I respect that a few may wish to learn more about the private person behind the writing.  While I accept I am exceptionally introverted (tending toward the misanthropic), I do enjoy socializing and sharing time with like-minded individuals. I have a zeal for integrity, ethics, and the economics of both interpersonal and organizational behavior.

The product of multi-generational paternal dysfunction, I practice healthy recovery (sobriety date December 11, 2001).  I am endogamous in my close personal relationships and belong to a variety of tribes that shape my worldview (in no particular order):

☯ I participate in and enjoy most geek culture. ☯ I am a practicing Buddhist and a legally ordained minister. I like to believe that people of other spiritual/faith systems find me approachable.  I am a member of the GLBTQA community -- I married my long-time partner in a ceremony officiated by Jeralita "Jeri" Costa of Joyful Joinings on November 18, 2013, certificated in King County, Seattle WA. We celebrate an anniversary date of February 2, 2002.  I am a service-connected, disabled, American veteran (USAF).  I am a University of Houston alumnus (BBA/MIS) and currently studying as a post baccalaureate for an additional degree in Philosophy and Law, Values, & Policy.  I am a retired Bishop in the Church of Commerce and Capitalism; the story arch of my prosecuting and proselytizing the technological proletariat is now behind me.  I am a native Houstonian (and obviously Texan).  At 50 years old, I am a "child of the sixties" and consider the 80's to be my formative years.

As I still struggle with humility, I strive to make willingness, honesty, and open mindedness cornerstones in all my affairs. Fourteen years of sobriety has taught me that none of "this" means a thing if I'm unwilling, dishonest, or close minded.  Therefore I work hard on the things I believe in --

  • I believe we can always achieve more if we collaborate and compromise.
  • I believe that liberal(ism) is a good word/concept and something to be proud to support.  The modern, systematic corruption of liberal ideas is a living human tragedy.
  • I believe in a worldview founded on ideas of liberty and equality. The pragmatism of this site and my journey is rooted in both classical and social liberalism.
  • I believe in democratic elections and institutions including a media free of commercial and governmental bias.  Liberty and equality perish when a society becomes uneducated and/or ill-informed.
  • I believe in diversity of life and ideas.  Life and ideas can only flourish when the gene pool is vast and abundantly differentiated.
  • I believe in advancing balance in civil, social, and privacy rights such that all of humanity is continuously uplifted.
  • I believe in separation of church (spirituality) and state (governance) -- with neither in supremacy nor subjugation.
  • I believe in private (real or tangible) property explicitly excluding ideas, knowledge, and methods; such non-tangibles, by natural law, being free for all humanity and emancipated at conception.

While change and the uncertainty of the future may be uncomfortable, I do not fear the unknown; therefore:

    • I believe I must be willing to make difficult choices, that those choices may not be all that I desire, and that such may result in undesirable (or unintended) consequences;
    • I believe we must be willing to make mistakes or be wrong; and I am willing to change my mind if necessary.
I undertake to abide the five precepts of Buddhism; therefore:
  1. I believe it is wrong to kill or to knowingly allow others to kill.
  2. I believe it is wrong to steal or to knowingly allow others to steal.
  3. I believe in abstention from sexual misconduct.
  4. I believe it is wrong to lie or to knowingly allow others to lie.
  5. I believe in abstention from non-medicinal intoxicants as such clouds the mind.

Suicide, major depression, borderline personality, and alcoholism are feral monsters ever howling at my doorstep. However, despite my turbulent and tragic past, rare is the day where I have to rationalize, defend, or justify the actions of that person I see looking back at me in the mirror...

Website: www.wermske.com
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