Auto Load Responses: 
Font Size: 

April 15, 2011

1:01
P.M.

Grover Norquist discusses the no-tax-increase pledge

Total Responses: 56

About the hosts

About the host

Host: Grover Norquist

Grover Norquist

Grover Norquist is president of Americans for Tax Reform, a taxpayer advocacy group he founded in 1985 at the request of President Ronald Reagan. He serves on the board of directors of the American Conservative Union, the National Rifle Association, and The Center for the National Interest. He is the author of the book Leave us Alone – Getting the Government’s Hands Off Our Money, Our Guns, Our Lives. His Twitter handle is @GroverNorquist

About the topic

Grover Norquist took your questions on the no-tax-increase pledge that he authored, which has become a rite of passage for GOP candidates.
Q.

Grover Norquist :

Grover Glenn Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, here to discuss the Obama and Ryan budget's and general questions about how much of our lives belong to the state, or how much we should pay in taxes. Same question.

Q.

Is Debt now a Bad Thing?

You pushed intentionally running up the debt to force a cut in the size of the federal government during the Reagan years. Are you still pushing that agenda? Is that why you are against tax increases? How much of the country's wealth should be allowed to be held by how small a percentage of the population?

A.
Grover Norquist :

I believe that  New York Senator Moynihan accused president Reagan of this strategy.  IN fact, Reagan wished to reduce non-military spending and Congress balked.  I am an advocate of limiting spending.  Democrats focus on the deficit rather than total spending so that tax hikes can be seen as part of the solution rather than enabling the problem.  The problem is not the deficict, but total government spending. That is the metric to watch.

– April 15, 2011 1:04 PM
Q.

Trickle down economics

Mr. Norquist, could you please provide some facts/data that shows the "trickle down economics" worked since year 2000?  And could you please explain why "corporate welfare" is not socialism?

A.
Grover Norquist :

I am old enough to remember Hubert Humphrey attacking Republican economics before supply side economics (pre John F. Kennedy) as "trickle down." I suppose it is supposed to be a clever phrase.  But Conservatives and Reagan Republicans argue that  history demonstrates that liberty is not only the best politics it is the best economic strategy.  People should be secure in their person and property, have the rule of law and low tax rates.  That creates jobs, opportunity and wealth.  Job creation, by definition helps those who do not have jobs.  The millions of jobs created during the Reagan presidency following the 1983 phase in of his tax cuts all went to folks without jobs.

– April 15, 2011 1:08 PM
Q.

Taxes

When would you consider it necessary to raise taxes?

A.
Grover Norquist :

Looking at the present size of federal and state government and the high level of taxes paid by Americans, Never is  a pretty good timetable for new and higher taxes.

– April 15, 2011 1:09 PM
Q.

Qualifications

What are your non-political qualifications to discuss budgetary policy ?

A.
Grover Norquist :

What allows me to speak out on federal budget issues?  Been a citizen since the late 1950s. First amendment.  Sense of patriotism.  Of lesser importance,degree in Economics from Harvard and MBA from Harvard also.

– April 15, 2011 1:11 PM
Q.

Grover Norquist discusses the no-tax-increase pledge

The "Gang of Six" has proposed removing tax breaks and loopholes from the tax code. This will cause taxes for some special interest groups to rise. Do you consider this simplification of the tax code a tax increase?
A.
Grover Norquist :

The actual language of the Taxpayer Protection PLedge commits congressmen and Senators to oppose net tax I ncreases.  The pledge and list of 247 House members and 41 senators who have signed it are found at www.atr.org. Americans for Tax Reform was created to help pass the 1986 tax reform act that reduced tax rates and eliminated or reduced deductions and credits such that taxes were not increases: it was revenue neutral .

 

All revenue neutral (or tax cutting legislation ) is within the commitment congressmen make when they sign the pledge.

 

The gang of six are advocating about a trillion (or two) in higher taxes if they keep with the Simpson/Bowles targets. That is not revenue neutral and is a tax hike, not reform

– April 15, 2011 1:14 PM
Q.

One step at a time with tax increases last if at all

What are your views on the following process?:

 

1. Cut spending till we fund only those government programs supported by an overwhelming (80%+) of voters and do so in the most cost effective manner possible.

 

2. Reform entitlements incorporating means testing of payments to focus primarily on those who actually need public support with only minor income supplements for moderate income citizens and none for upper income people.

 

3. Reform tax code to generate revenue ncessary to pay for what will now be a much smaller government with the minimum disruptive impact on the economy.

A.
Grover Norquist :

An interesting strategy.

I like the Paul Ryan proposal that will block grant most all welfare programs--those government programs targetted to the poor--so called means-tested spending programs.  WE did this weth aid to families with dependent children (AFDC) or General welfare and it worked well in reducing costs, reducing dependency and giving state governments more flexibility. 

– April 15, 2011 1:16 PM
Q.

Why is spending an inherenetly a bad thing?

Government spending circulates money around and for some things like Medicare, the government is much more efficient than private industry. We are recovering from a major recession, and are fighting in 3 wars; should not our spending be at WW II levels?

A.
Grover Norquist :

All government spending requires thegovernment to first take by force money from people who earned it. This discourages hard work on the part of folks so taxed. And when that money is handed out to the politically connected--i.e. Obama's green corporate welfare for make believe energy from pixie dust--it encourages folks to  avoid honest work.

 

The idea that government spending can creaste wealth or income or jobs is the equivalent of having Obama, REid and Pelosi stand on one side of a lake and dip three buckets into the lake. THey then take the full three buckets to the other side of the lake and --in front of MSNBC cameras--pour the three buckets into the lake.  Obama's economists believe that doing this 800 billion times will stimulat the lake to great depths.  I believe that there will be no mor water in the lake after this exercise than before...just as there were fewer americans employed after the stimulus than before....FDR turned a recession into the ten year great depression with the same economic theory.

– April 15, 2011 1:21 PM
Q.

Tax rates

What do you think is an appropriate level of taxation for a family making $60,000 per year? How about someone making $1,000,000?
A.
Grover Norquist :

Samuel Gompers was asked what he and labor unions in general wanted.  He said, "more."

How much should any given person pay in taxes in America.."Less" is a good start.

– April 15, 2011 1:22 PM
Q.

Grover Norquist discusses the no-tax-increase pledge

The U.S. government is using borrowed money to pay for the Iraq war. Unlike WWII, where the government asked people to buy war bonds, the Bush administration and Congress never called for the American public to finance the war effort. Instead Bush called for a tax cut, and Congress approved. But everyone knows that when you buy something, even with borrowed money, it has to be paid for. Without restoring taxes to their pre-Bush levels, how will the $900 billion needed for the Iraq war be paid for?
A.
Grover Norquist :

You point out correctly that wars are dangerous for taxpayers and other living things.  Wars are not free. They are expensive in lives and treasure.  Occuations are even more expensive than wars.  For the record I supported the idea of hitting the Taliban after 9/11.  I am less convinced that sticking around and, as Obama has chosen to do, spending $100 billlion plus to occupy an entire nation with a GDP of some $14 billion (?) with plans to turn the county into martha's vineyard strikes me as something Obama should do with his own money. Not ours.

– April 15, 2011 1:26 PM
Q.

No-Tax Increase

Tax rates are at their lowest due to a decades long mantra of no new taxes. The US infrastructure is crumbling, wages for middle and lower classes are stagnant while the cost of living continues to rise. How can you justify an across the board pledge of "no new taxes"? It is a great talking point but does not address the realities of our economic situation--i.e. 2 wars that were not budgeted or paid for, an aging population and a dying industrial sector. While "no new taxes" sounds good, it is like suggesting that a person live a prosperous life in 2011 based on a "good" salary circa 1935. Great talking point...terrible reality!
A.
Grover Norquist :

Federal taxes are not at some historical low.  I went to public schooo, but recently noticed on the History Channel that we didn't have an income tax imposed on the American people until (temporarily) the war to save the union, end slavery and keep the tarriffs.  Then the income tax was only made permanent in 1913.

State and local taxes have also shot up tremendously.

National defense (not including the occupations) runs about 3 percent of GDP.  Obama is spending at the federal level about 25% of gdp.  Obama insists on maintianing the racist DAvid-Bacon laws that were designed to  keep non -union black workers out of government financed construction work.  Gettting rid of those obnoxious laws would drop the cost of building infastructure by 25 or 33%.

– April 15, 2011 1:32 PM
Q.

Coburn

I read in the Post this morning that Sen. Coburn is planning to raise taxes. What is going on there?
A.
Grover Norquist :

Good question.

 

Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn was elected promising his voters in Oklahoma that he would never raise taxes. He signed the pledge promising to keep rates low and that any tax reform that culled back deductions or credits would be matched dollar for dollar with further rate reduction so that this would not increase the overall tax burden on Americans.

Coburn reiterated his commitment to this principle in a public letter to me on February 17. Letter is available at ATR's website: www.atr.org.

 

Now Coburn  is telling the press that he leads a faction of Republican Senators who want to raise taxes.  I cannot find any R who will publically say he stands with Coburn and the simpson/bowles commission plan to hike taxes by between one and two trillion dollars over the next decade...the heritage foundation says it is closer to $3.3 trillion in higher taxes.

Coburn's theory is that when obama threatens to remove tax incentives from the Oklahoma oil and gax industry--like investment tax credits or expensing or deductibility of investments--that this is not a tax hike.

He might ask the workers in Oklahoma who would lose theor  jobs and businesses and see if they think those tax hikes are actuallyt  tax hikes.

 

 

– April 15, 2011 1:39 PM
Q.

Debt

Even if the non-defense discressionary spending were set to zero, entitlement spending would still be a debt driver for the federal government. If you are opposed to all revenue (tax) increases, do you have a proposal to drive down entitlement spending?
A.
Grover Norquist :

Best proposal on reforming major entitlements is the Paul Ryan plan to block grant most welfare spending programs and to adopt the Medicare reform that Pual Ryan and Democrat economist Rivlin created. These lead to big savings.

– April 15, 2011 1:40 PM
Q.

Taxing the rich fallacy

Why is it that taxes on the rich is seen by some as the solution to a balanced budget? Isn't this a really unstable approach since the rich, who's incomes are most affected by economic downturns, will, as a percentage of income, lose the most. How can you balance a budget if the premise of my question is true?

A.
Grover Norquist :

The point of promising to tax the rich is that Obama, and before him Clinton, hoped to convince voters that they would not pay for new or present government spending.

Reality check: sixteen days into the Obama administration the very first tax hike he signed was a tax on tobacco.  Now the only American citizen who earns more than $250,000 and smokes cigarettes is named Barack Obama.  Obama, and Clinton with this energy tax threats, promised to tax the rich, but targeted all Americans.  Obama throws real spending subsidies to the rich on Wall Street.

 

Today, the top one percent of American families pay 40% of all federal income taxes.  The top 5% pay 60%.  The top ten percnet pay 70% and the top half pay 97%

The idea that the rich remain unlooted is a left wing fantasy.

– April 15, 2011 1:45 PM
Q.

Marcellus Shale

Do you oppose the ability of Pennsylvania to tax Marcellus Shale, thus continuing that Pennsylvania is the only state that does not tax this asset?
A.
Grover Norquist :

If you drill for shale oil in Pennsylvania you pay social security taxes on all your employees. You pay property taxes on land.  You pay corporate income taxs on your earnings.  You and your employees pay social security taxes and income taxes.  Just what isn't taxed in this process.

– April 15, 2011 1:46 PM
Q.

Social Safety Net

Do you believe that the U.S. should continue to provide a social safety net, including the existing Social Security and Medicare programs?
A.
Grover Norquist :

The proposals that you will find in my book, "Leave us Alone" and in the Ryan budget plan reform the entitlement programs tomove them to defined contribution plans--rather than unsustainable defined benefit plans--that give citiznes control over their own assets and savings and retirement.  The private sector has largely moved to defined contributin pensions. Utah just passed a law that all new state and local employees will have a DC plan so that there will be no unfunded liabilities.  Good reform.

– April 15, 2011 1:48 PM
Q.

Fees vs. Taxes

Why doesn't your pledge cover not adding fees, or increasing the cost of existing ones?
A.
Grover Norquist :

Federal pledge focuses on income taxes  The state pledge is explicit that it covers all taxation.

Almost everything politicians like to call fees are actually taxes.  Fees must be voluntary, like the fee to enter a national park.

– April 15, 2011 1:49 PM
Q.

Smaller vs responsible government

Grover, It seems to me that the problem is not the size of government, but irresponsible bad government. And it seems disingenuous to turn people against government when what we need is to focus on good government. And just because government is smaller does not mean it is any better. What are your thoughts on that?
A.
Grover Norquist :

As government has tried to do too much it has become less competent.  The total size of government is itself a problem.  A government consuming 35% of the nation's income is taking that away from people in taxes or debt. Government should be  limited in its powers to those listed in the Constitution.  If someone really wants the government to do something else--amend the constitution.  That would at least slow down the growth of Leviathan.

– April 15, 2011 1:52 PM
Q.

Tax Rates

What would be a fair tax rate, in your opinion? Always lower? 0%?
A.
Grover Norquist :

A fair tax rate?

 

Taxation consists of taking money from people who earned it.  Fairness, my friend, does not enter the equation.  One can tax  in more or less destructive ways. Fairness is an odd requirement to demand of the state's appropiration of our time, money and lives. Better to limit that power.  Safer.

 

States have found that taxing income zero is the prefered rate.  Texas and Florida are growing and attracting investment and jobs--not Illinois and California.  The zero rate income tax states are all growing faster than the high income tax states.

 

At the federal level we should start by reducing the top tax rate for individuals and businesses to 25%.  At the state level, zero is a reasonable goal.

– April 15, 2011 1:56 PM
Q.

Tax levels

You stated earlier "high level of taxes"...how can you say that when the current rax rates are the lowest in history?
A.
Grover Norquist :

Today individual income tax rate: 35%

1900....top individual income tax rate 0%

Sue your history teacher.

– April 15, 2011 1:57 PM
Q.

Taxes

What do you consider to be the biggest issues / loopholes with the current tax code? And what can be done to correct them?
A.
Grover Norquist :

Senator Coburn has suggested we target and cut or abolish the charitable deduction, the home owner mortage interest deduction, the deductibility of state and local property and income taxes and the exclusion for employer provided health insurance.  He figures the government could increase it taxes by at least $700 billion a year or seven trillion a decade by getting rid ot those.  He and Obama have a theory that you would not notice this and would not find this a tax hike when you file on April 15 and that infact youwould think this wasw a spending cut from the budget.

 

I think this unlikely.

 

A great economist commented on this last night on  the Daily show.  Mr. Jon Stewart did a lovely rant on the idea that Obama thinks tax hikes are spending cuts.

– April 15, 2011 2:01 PM
Q.

No Taxes

Do you think its right for companies like GE and Exxon to pay no Federal income tax whatsoever? How does this effect our economy ?
A.
Grover Norquist :

My unhappiness with GE is that it is trying to sell the Pentagon an engine it doesn't want.

 

Corporations do not pay taxes.  They collect them from consumers and send the money to Washington.  Corproate taxes are simply individual taxes that politicians are trying to hide.  They hope you won't notice that you pay corporate income and property taxes everytime you go to the grocery sore or Walmart.  In your case they have succeeded.

– April 15, 2011 2:03 PM
Q.

Tax rates

Can I at least get you to admit that current Federal tax rate is now the lowest since 1950?
A.
Grover Norquist :

Top marginal tax rate for individuals in 1987 after Reagan's historic tax reform (and I helped) was 28 percent.

 

Today Obama creams off 35% and wanted 39.6% of every additional dollar.

 

35 is a bigger number than 28. 

 

Always check this stuff with a homeschooler.

– April 15, 2011 2:06 PM
Q.

Why should I pay

Why should I pay taxes to repair a bridge in Utah?
A.
Grover Norquist :

I would certainly support the effort by some in congrss to dismantle the federal highway program and allow each state to pay for and repair and build their own bridges and roads.

 

WE have a very nice highway system already in place and repaving can be done by state taxpayers.

 

Utah feels the same way about our metro system in DC that they get to pay for but rarely have the opportunity to use.

– April 15, 2011 2:08 PM
Q.

Gov't spending

Do you think that if we stop funding programs like food stamps, WIC etc, that poor people will just go away? Or do you believe that private citizens will fund these people's needs...or they just go away?
A.
Grover Norquist :

The idea that if the federal government didn't do something that it would never happen is one of liberalism's oddest assertions.

 

The reform that I have endorsed is that of block granting all such means tested programs--like food stamps--and sending them to the states as we did with welfare reform. At the time the Left made many hysterical predictions. They were wrong about everything.  Now they try and take credit for the legislation Clinton twice vetoed.  I say we give them credit and allow them to repeat their wonderful success with food stamps and medicaid.

– April 15, 2011 2:11 PM
Q.

Tax cuts

How do we know that you and the rest of the Republicans' zeal for low taxes is not motivied solely by greed?
A.
Grover Norquist :

Greed is wanting other people's stuff.  Tax collectors and those who profit from money taken from taxapyers and given out to Chicago's friends are greedy.  People who simply wish to be left alone with what they earn themselves are Americans.

– April 15, 2011 2:12 PM
Q.

Justification for Future Tax Cuts for Wealthy Individuals and Corporations

Hello Mr. Norquist. Rep. Ryan's plan proposes further tax cuts for wealthy individuals and corporations; how would this help decrease the deficit? -Nick Eustrom West Hills, CA

A.
Grover Norquist :

There are two ways to reduce the size and scope of government.

Spend less...which Ryan does to the tune of  six trillion in spending over the next ten years.

Second:

Grow the economy so that the cost of government is smaller relative to the size of the economy. 

Ryan calls for reducing tax rates to 25% from 35%. This is the European average for taxation of companies. Heck even many Dems understand that our corporate and individual tax rates are too high.  This is not controversial....the dems just want to trade this obvious good for something destructive--like higher taxes elsewhere.

Ryan wants to cut the rate to 25% in a revenue neutral way which might include reducing some tax credits or dedutions--but not enoughto turn this into a tax hike.

– April 15, 2011 2:16 PM
Q.

Was Dick Cheney Right?

Isn't it a myth or accepted as dogma by the MSM that the Democrats are the party of tax and spend and the Republicans are fiscally responsible? Doesn't the evidence going back to Reagan indicate the GOP when in power has run enormous deficits and debt and grew the Federal government? Dick Cheney said that Reagan proved deficits don't matter.

A.
Grover Norquist :

When comparing D and R policies it is better to look at who controls congress than who has the presidency.

Clinton had two periods...the one where he had dem control of the house and Senate for two years....little growth.  And the last six years of his administration when there were GOP majorities in the House and Senate that limited spending and cut the capital gains tax from 28% to 20% and the jobs, stock market and economy flourished. Bush's four years of GOP control of House and Senate from 2003 to 2007 saw good growth and job creation. Dems took over the house and Senate in 2007 and things did less well.....

– April 15, 2011 2:19 PM
Q.

Subsidies

As a free-market conservative, how do you justify the market distortions introduced by farm subsidies?
A.
Grover Norquist :

Dont'.

NEver did.

I supported the Freedom to Farm act that phased them out....but they came back ...

all subsidies bad.  not just farm subsidies.  Windmills, solar etc.

– April 15, 2011 2:20 PM
Q.

Tax Loopholes

Are you for or against closing tax loopholes?
A.
Grover Norquist :

ATR was founded do enact the 1986 tax reform act that lowered rates and reduced and eliminated many tax credits and deductions.

I am for continuing the process.  Lower rates and fewer tax credits or deductgions.  Just don't  try and screw taxapayers by increasing overall taxes--keep the rates falling so uncle sam doesn't get rich from tax reform.

– April 15, 2011 2:22 PM
Q.

Raising taxes ?

Or what? Mr. Norquist can you give ONE example of a consequence for disobeying your pledge? After all, what good is a pledge without a consequence?
A.
Grover Norquist :

Tell me about George Herbert Walker Bush's second term.

– April 15, 2011 2:22 PM
Q.

No-Tax-Increase Pledge

Does changing the tax code (for example eliminating itemized deductions) that increase taxes for some while not effecting others, break the no-tax-increase pledge?
A.
Grover Norquist :

The pledge is one of revenue neutrality overall.

Total tax revenues must not be increased as we trade lower rates for fewer deductions.

yes. Fred may pay higher taxes while mary pays less. But the total take cannot rise to be consistent with the pledge.

– April 15, 2011 2:24 PM
Q.

trickle down effects since 2000

Mr Norquist, could you please answer the question on the lack of effectiveness of the trickle down since 2000?
A.
Grover Norquist :

Bush spent toomuch and some expected this to trickle down.  Obama threw 800 billion intheair and expected it to trickle down. Theonly thing that went down was employment.

When Republicans cut the capital gains tax in 2003 and the taxation of corporate dividends from 35 to 15% there ws a great deal of new investment and job creation.  That is called supply side pro-growth tax reduction It worked.

Your have the goverment spend other people's money and hope it trickles down doesn't work. Didn't work for FDR either.

– April 15, 2011 2:27 PM
Q.

Acceptable Tax Level

If it is always good to cut taxes, and never acceptable to raise taxes, then how would it be possible to have any acceptable tax rate above zero?
A.
Grover Norquist :

I believe this is Zeno's Paradox.

Let's try it.

– April 15, 2011 2:29 PM
Q.

Tax expenditures

Consider two policies. In one, the government collects a tax from companies A, B, and C and then gives a payment of $x to company A. In another, the government collects the same tax but gives company A a tax break of $x. Can you explain why we should see any difference between these two policies? It seems to me that the distinction between them is a matter of labels but not of substance, yet your organization opposes policies of the first form and supports policies of the second form.
A.
Grover Norquist :

This is not complicated.

ATR has no objection to ending any tax credit as long as it is not a backdoor tax hike.  Obama wants to label all his tax hikes as spending reductions--because he doesn't want to reduce spending in reality.

If you find an obnoxious tax credit, simply pair it with a tax cut of the same or larger size.  The we will join you at your press conference and highlight that you are reforming the tax code and not hiking taxes.

Tax hikers like to pretend they want to clean up the code when allthey want to do is raise taxes.  This must be stopped so as to protect and advance real tax reform.

– April 15, 2011 2:32 PM
Q.

Free Market

Does your group have any official position on tax policies that distort the free market, such as ethanol subsidies, home mortgage deductions, and the fact that health insurance policies are not taxed as income?
A.
Grover Norquist :

ATR has long opposed the ethanol tax credit, the mandates by the feds that you and I buy this crap and the tarriffs to be sure that the market distortions only benefit people who can legally contgribute to congressmen.

Let's end the mandates. 

Let's end the tax credit and cut eveyone's income taxes the same amount. (Unless you just wanted the cash and are not interested in ending distortions to the market.)

– April 15, 2011 2:34 PM
Q.

Is all spending bad?

Or are there things that the government does that help our productivity, trade or just our quality of life and ar wortht he cost? I think our Representatives in Washington should be able to decide for us and spend our money wisely. What do you think?

A.
Grover Norquist :

There are legitimate and useful functions of government. Protecting property and life. Keeping the Canadians on their side of the Border.  Rule of law.

Other than those things mentioned in the constitution I think you can spend your money better than a politician.

And if youthink the politicians can spend money better than you....just send it in. Its a (relatively )free country. No one is stopping you.

– April 15, 2011 2:36 PM
Q.

Federal Pay scale

Why hasn't the government taken a 10% pay cut like most of us have in the private sector?  A spending freeze is not a pay cut.

A.
Grover Norquist :

Because they can.  Because we didn't beat enough of them in the last election. Because they are the government and have the really big guns. 

When they continue to spend your money at this rate is goes beyong being inconsiderate.

– April 15, 2011 2:39 PM
Q.

which is better flat tax or fair tax.

Which tax structure would you prefer? The flat tax or the fair tax.
A.
Grover Norquist :

A flat tax that taxes consumed income one time  is the same --economically--as the fair tax which is a retial sales tax of one rate on consumption.

Politically we have to end the death tax, get to a single rate income tax and then we can discuss moving the incidence of taxation to the time of purchase rather than when you earn the dollar.  By then I will be retired and you can figure it out.

– April 15, 2011 2:41 PM
Q.

state-funded infrastructure

You say Utah should be responsible for paving their own highways/bridges, but given that states typically have to cut back during recessions, is it not a bad idea to subject infrastructure funding to the ups and downs of the business cycle?
A.
Grover Norquist :

The funding of highways is looted by the DAvid BAcon act, by bike paths and subways built in cities far from the taxpayers who pay for them.  Let's let each state decide whether they would like to build their own roads or send the money to washington and trust Congress.

– April 15, 2011 2:43 PM
Q.

Reagan tax history

Do you dare to pretend that Reagan wanted the defense budget lowered? IT was POLICY to build and build and build defense to the degree that the Russians could not keep up. Earlier administration officials bragged that they'd been successful...brought the Soviet Union down. I was often obliedged as a political appointee, to listen to your stuff then....don't remember that you were completely dishonest then....or perhaps I wasn't savvy enough as a rookie to catch it. But you're lying through you teeth now. You and your tax cut everything has been thoroughly debunked. You're a fraud. Or rather, why aren't you a fraud....if you like it in question form.
A.
Grover Norquist :

My error.
The spending and monetary and tax policies of Nixon, Ford and Carter were much better than those of Reagan.

And Obama sure turned the economy around with the stimulus bailout thing.

Happy?

– April 15, 2011 2:45 PM
Q.

Block grants

On block grants and other items, how about we limit a state to getting no more than it sends in?
A.
Grover Norquist :

Interesting.

 

Labor leader Andew Stern and I have dueling letters on the  Daily Caller today on just this topic.

 

Great fun.

– April 15, 2011 2:46 PM
Q.

Income Gap

What are your thoughts on the growing income gap in this country, where CEO's are making in a day what their lowest wage earner makes in a year?
A.
Grover Norquist :

As long as you legally and morally earn your salary I do not envy anyone. 

If your big paycheck is driven by money taken from taxayers by force, then it is wrong.

Even low paid bank robbers are doing something wrong.

Even Highly paid entrepreneurs are doing something right.

– April 15, 2011 2:48 PM
Q.

Norquist > Voters?

Do you think that taxes are so toxic that Americans need to be protected from directly voting to raise taxes on themselves? Republicans in California's state legislature recently disenfranchised the people of the state by not allowing us to vote on potential new taxes.
A.
Grover Norquist :

For readers not from CAlifornia, Governor Brown wants Republcians in the state legislature to puttheir fingerprints on his 12 billion dollar tax hike so he, brown, doesn't have to cut spending.

Oddly enough, the Republican members of the legislature who signed the taxpayer protection pledge consider keeping their word more important than tgiving Brown cover for his incompentence.

Brown has said if the R's dont' help him raise taxes he will balance the budget by spending restraint.  OBama should learn something.

– April 15, 2011 2:54 PM
Q.

Tax Pledge

Even though I support the idea of reduced government spending and lower taxes, I think signing such pledges is a bad thing for our democracy. Our representatives get payed to make reasoned judgments, and if they fail, they should be voted out of office. Such pledges effectively tie the hands of legislators and prevent them from doing what needs to be done in certain circumstances.

A.
Grover Norquist :

Thankfully, the founding fathers did nothave your trust in politicsains. Thewhole point of the constittuion is a list of things politcians are not trusted to decide for us--like what church we go to, or don't or what we read or say.

The pledge is a public commitment that a congressman or senator will cut spending rather than raise taxes.  If you want your taxes raised everytime the government spends too much---vote for the the non-plege signer. There is one available in most races.

– April 15, 2011 2:57 PM
Q.

Cutting Taxes

The conservative argument continues to be 'cut taxes' and your organization advocates for not increasing taxes. Would you be opposed to a tax freeze that neither cuts or raises taxes? What effect do you believe would result? Wouldn't this add the certainty to the economy that so many have argued does not exist under the Obama administration?
A.
Grover Norquist :

The  economy is damaged by America's fears that obama will come up with more spending proposals and/or more tax hikes.  They are not traumatized by the fear that he might reduce spending and taxes.  We need a limit on the growth of taxes and spending, not on reductions in same.

– April 15, 2011 2:58 PM
Q.

Compromise

How does a rigid ideology, like "no new taxes", lead to better outcomes in a democracy where one party has their hands tied?
A.
Grover Norquist :

How?

By stopping Obama from raising taxes and doing more damage to the economy.  Was this a trick question?

– April 15, 2011 2:59 PM
Q.

Whats the reality of a Flat Tax system?

Seriously. Deductions are not fair for everyone. If you don't own a home, are married, or have kids, that is discrimination. Deductions allow fraud and those that make good money to deduct their way into a lower bracket. It's time to reform the tax code.
A.
Grover Norquist :

No argument from me.

Let's take the rates really low and limit such deductions.

– April 15, 2011 2:59 PM
Q.

Why should there be any taxes?

Why not run everything on fees that pay for goods and services that are delivered?
A.
Grover Norquist :

Where possible that is a good start.  However, if you can identify beneficiaries directly--then the service or product could be dealth with  in the private sector.

Buy your own car.  Your own hamburger. Your own home.

Government exists to do those things we cannot do for ourselves.  Like occupy countries we cannot pronounce.

– April 15, 2011 3:02 PM
Q.

Raise Taxes or Else?

"Tell me about George Herbert Walker Bush's second term." How about a REAL consequence, like one that affects Americans, not the political aspirations rich office holders.
A.
Grover Norquist :

Because of the pledge: taxes are not being raised in California, Florida, Maine, Texas, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, South CArolina, Georgia, Oklahoma, Idaho, Nevada, or in Congress.  Not bad.  For a start.

– April 15, 2011 3:04 PM
Q.

Taxpayer Protection Pledge

Grover- You created the Pledge roughly 25 years ago. Can you explain why it was necessary then and how it is still relevant today on the state and federal level?
A.
Grover Norquist :

Because the other team keeps trying to raise taxes rather than reform government.

Look at those states with pledge taker governors--they are reforming government.  Ryan's budget is a series of reforms driven by the need to rein in spending and his promise not to raise taxes.

– April 15, 2011 3:06 PM
Q.

Compromise

Why are you driving such a hard line on taxes when, if you are honest, know that revenue will have to be in any agreement?

A.
Grover Norquist :

There will not be a tax hike prior to 2012.

Until then....

Obama will fight for higher taxes.

The GOP will call for reform of government.

The electorate will then decide: tax hikes or government reform.  If you want higher taxes rather than a reformed and limited government there is a president and a party on the ballot just for you.

– April 15, 2011 3:09 PM
Q.

Block Grants

Don't block grants require Federal taxes in order to generate the funds that would be granted to the states? If so, how can you possibly support Ryan's plan?
A.
Grover Norquist :

Rome was not built in a day.

Patience,  grasshopper.

– April 15, 2011 3:10 PM
Q.

New York private contracting

The New York state government is trying to cut costs on executions, which cost about one million dollars. I wish they would use private contractors. I know a guy who knows a guy who could do the job for $10,000. I'm just saying.
A.
Grover Norquist :

I think the cost is driven by lawyers not the technology.

So if your friend wants to save taxpayers money....

– April 15, 2011 3:11 PM
Q.

Where are conservatives?.

The problem I have with the GOP is George Bush, perhaps the most conservative president we have seen in this century. But his legacy has been a huge expansion of the federal government with three new federal agencies -- Homeland Security, TSA and National Intelligence. As a result of Bush, haven't Republicans lost any claims to being small govrnment advocates. Isn''t the party that Lincoln created really just dedicated to increasing federal power, and are there any real conservatives anywhere?
A.
Grover Norquist :

Hmm. You say George W. Bush was the most conservative president and then list a series of very unReaganlike things he did in fact do.

Rethink your original assumption.

And I can think of a number of governors who are quite promising.

– April 15, 2011 3:12 PM
Q.

Internet sales taxes

Do you object to a state compact that would collect Internet sales taxes? The sales taxes are technically legally owed to the state. Should states be allowed to collect these taxes from Internet sellers?
A.
Grover Norquist :

Yes.

Debatable.

No.

– April 15, 2011 3:13 PM
Q.

Ideal Budget

If you had your druthers, what would the budget of the federal government be and what functions/ services would be funded?
A.
Grover Norquist :

The government should limit itself to things mentioned in the Constitution. A military strong enought to keep the Canadians on their side of the border.  Protecting life and property from annoying people.

Thank you for the fun questions.....I leave now and recommend highly the following video from last night's Daily Show:  Jon Stewart nails Senator  Tom Coburn's theories of spending cuts.  Starts at 4:30 into the video.

http://www.thedailyshow.com/full-episodes/thu-april-14-2011-ricky-gervais

OBAMA: “My plan will require us to come together and make up the additional savings with more spending cuts and more spending reductions in the tax code.

STEWART: WHAT? Spending reductions in the tax code? The tax code isn’t where we spend, it’s where we collect. Oh, I guess what you said IS tax code. Code for, raising taxes. You managed to talk about a tax hike as a spending reduction. Can we afford that and the royalty checks you’re going to have to send to George Orwell? That's the weirdest way, just say tax hike. That's like saying "I'm not going on a diet, I'm going to add calories to my excluded food intake."

Daily Show: This part of the clip begins at 4:30 minutes.

 

– April 15, 2011 3:21 PM
Q.

 

A.
Host: