First in 2007, Norquist blesses Virginia’s HB 3202 — a massive tax increase that magically gained the sanction of Americans for Tax Reform.
Today? Plan B gets a similar blessing, courtesy of National Review:
ATR has consistently maintained that individual Members of Congress make a pledge to their constituents to oppose and vote against tax increases. The House this week will vote on a tax bill. This legislation—popularly known as “Plan B”–permanently prevents a tax increase on families making less than $1 million per year. Republicans supporting this bill are this week affirming to their constituents in writing that this bill—the sole purpose of which is to prevent tax increases—is consistent with the pledge they made to them. In ATR’s analysis, it is extremely difficult—if not impossible—to fault these Republicans’ assertion.
In particular, in this Congress the House has already voted twice to prevent any tax increases on any American. When viewed with this in mind, and considering this tax bill contains no tax increases of any kind—in fact, it permanently prevents them—matters become more clear. Having finally seen actual legislation in writing, ATR is now able to make its determination about a legislative proposal related to the fiscal cliff. ATR will not consider a vote for this measure a violation of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.
“Permanently prevents tax increases” — through permanent tax increases.
Gee… whouda thought?
This isn’t an argument one way or the other on tax reform and its implications — America needs to be prepared for some sort of tax hike in order to pay off a $16 trillion debt I’m afraid, as Republicans (and Americans in general) are simply unwilling to dismantle the social welfare state we’ve collected around us… or at the very least, are more than happy to dismantle the elements that do not affect us directly, but consider the subsidies that directly affect us as critical to the American experiment, blah blah blah.
But for Norquist — after today — to tout the “no tax pledge” as having teeth? The rest of America gets to learn what Virginians learned almost six years ago… the pledge is tossed aside in cavalier fashion when it suits specific interests.
The first rule of getting out of a hole? Stop digging.
The second rule? Buy a ladder.
The no-tax pledge took care of the first. But it utterly failed conservatives on the second. It took 80 years for America to travel to the social welfare state we have today — perhaps now, Republicans can set aside the facade of the no-tax pledge and start discussing how we are going to get back to asserting a free society filled with productive, self-reliant producers again?
Or heck — don’t listen to me… listen to George Allen:
Congress should review and act on a smart plan similar to those advanced by Mark Levin and Fred Smith of FedEx. Slightly reduce taxes on middle and lower income taxpayer, reform our worst in the world corporate tax on business with fewer ‘loopholes’ and lower rates, bring money back to the US with a territorial system of taxation, utilize our plentiful American energy resources for affordable fuel and keep our money in America, and expand access to international markets. All of which will create economic growth, revenues and much better opportunities for jobs!
You want solutions? There’s a start!
Now that the Taxpayer Protection Pledge — which ultimately was used as a fulcrum to maintain government largess rather than reduce the size, scope, and orientation of government — can die the death it rightly deserves, let’s hope the GOP can have an adult conversation about true government reform — taxes and all.
Maybe then we can break the back of a 19th century bureaucracy and bring America roaring into the 21st century. Certainly, the pledge has done little to arrest the growth of government over these last few decades — and so the proof is in the pudding, as it were. Simply put, the pledge doesn’t work.
But until we break with the theological idiocy of “no-tax pledges” and the like, we will certainly straightjacket outselves into socialism. Americans are certainly struggling in it today, no thanks to some.