What Grover’s Tax Pledge Actually Means

It’s a death trap, it’s a suicide rap

This week, Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia did what amazingly few elected Republicans do: He said that he cared more about his country than some “twenty year old pledge.”

He means the Americans For Tax Reform Taxpayer Pledge, which is advocated for and enforced by the most powerful American who has never won an election — Grover Norquist.

Chambliss now joins Senator Tom Coburn as one of the few outspoken Republican critics of a position that has infected nearly all of the GOP. It’s not an empty stand; he now risks a primary challenge funded by Norquist’s allies like the Club for Growth.

For two decades, by implicitly threatening every elected Republican with a career-ending injury, Grover Norquist has dominated the right-wing discourse with his strict belief that taxes should only be cut.

He’s been so successful that we’re having a fierce debate that’s only about raising taxes on income over $250,000 by a mere 3% — even though tax rates in general are at a 30-year low and the richest are paying some of the lowest taxes rates in 80 years.

This is the discussion that we are stuck with after Bush’s failed experiment which resulted in the richest 1% now having a greater collective net worth than the bottom 90%.

Everyone agrees we should leave Bush Tax Cuts for the middle class intact which is understandable considering that we are still in a jobs crisis. But, in exchange for keeping that $2,000 a year, what will middle class families give up? Is it worth working two more years before you get your Social Security or reforming Social Security so that it won’t keep up with inflation? Is it worth cutting education or health care for the most vulnerable?

Call Norquist’s pledge what it is: it’s a pledge to cut Medicare. A pledge to cut Social Security, Medicaid for seniors and the disabled, college loans, food stamps… And, it’s a pledge to raise taxes on your kids. Most of all, Norquist’s pledge is a promise to transfer wealth to the richest.

It’s not a pledge to be fiscally responsible, balance budgets or set priorities. It’s a pledge to do the opposite of all that.

That there are only a handful of Republicans willing to publicly object to basing their entire career on that kind of promise tells you everything you know about the GOP.

[CC image credit: Gage Skidmore | Flickr]

  • madisonianprogressive

    GET YER PITCHFORKS!!!! IT’S PRIMARY SEASON AND TAXBY CHAMBLISS IS GOIN’ DOWN!!!!!!!!

  • mdantuon
  • http://www.facebook.com/bob.harvey.92 Bob Harvey

    well Thank Goad that there are at least a couple of Rep.s to vote the right way for the coming tax bill. Maybe something will get done in the NEXT 2 years.

  • http://twitter.com/ReginaHamaker Regina Hamaker

    How could Grover’s pledge override the oath of office that they swear upon the Bible “to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America, from all enemies, both foreign and domestic”; I did not think we lived under a tyrannical government but rather a representative government. Since when do our elected officials report to their King Grover Nordquist?????

    • Daniel McCully

      Ever since Republicans all started signing and agreeing to his ideas.

      If you don`t like his pledge then do your part to make sure anyone who signed with him never gets back into office.

  • mark99k

    We shouldn’t delude ourselves into thinking Chambliss or Coburn has suddenly found reason. These two know that their states are firmlly on the moocher end of the tax spectrum. (Both Georgia and Oklahoma get more in federal tax expenditures than they pay in federal taxes.) And as the issue of taxation comes to a boil, states below the midline of that graph will risk increased & perhaps justifiable resentment from the rest. Maybe southern Republicans who continue to whine about “states’ rights” and how unhappy they are with the supposedly socialist [yeah right] direction in which us naughty blue states are pushing the nation should consider urging their states to secede. The rest of the country would be much better off — financially, physically, emotionally, morally, and intellectually.

    • majii

      Your take on Chambliss is dead on, mark99k. I live in GA, and I’ve had many opportunities to see him in action. When all is said and done, he’s the same as the rest of the GOPers in Congress. He may sound open to a tax increase on the wealthiest Americans, but I’ll only believe it when I see him actually vote for it.

      • KarenJ

        A leopard doesn’t suddenly change his spots. I remember what Saxby Chambliss did (no doubt advised by Karl Rove) to Max Cleland in 2002.

  • Gebman

    The GOP position of no tax increases is very self serving as most politicians are very wealthy individuals or will be by the time they leave office. Perhaps their pledge to King Grover is a convenient excuse to save themselves some money and sooth their guilt over violating their oath of office.

  • Sassychick

    I love the way you think you get to take my money and give it to someone else. It’s not your money. It’s mine. I will choose where to spend it. If you want to give more to your government, I suggest you add a zero to what they take from you. Stop trying to steal mine to cover your effing bets.

    • djchefron

      You right.We dont need no stinken goverment.Its my money and I did it all by myself.Now take your stupid ass to your paradise known as Somalia.Your utopian dreams of not having services will be realized

      • Dr Billy Kidd

        The “my money” folks sound more like the moochers than the people who support hiring more police, firefighters, and teachers.

    • Trevor

      Who issued that money? The government. So, basically you want a government service for free. Nice.

    • http://eclectablog.com Eclectablog

      You need to leave the country, then. Find some place that doesn’t impose taxes. I think Somalia has a pretty open immigration policy.
      We don’t need selfish, unpatriotic types like you here. The rest of us are part of a “union”. UNITED States of America.

    • majii

      If you feel this way, please stop using the highways, post offices, libraries, airlines, etc, that are supported by the tax dollars of the rest of us. Without our tax dollars, you couldn’t afford these, even with the amount of money you say you have.

  • OldAndWise

    There is nothing wrong with the pledge. Our government is broken and halting their income increases is one of the ways to try and fix it. You and I have to live within our means, why not the government? And why does nobody dare mention the sacred cow of the military industrial complex? Shouldn’t we care for our elderly sick and poor before marching our empire cross the globe? Ron Paul was pointing in the right direction. The government has plenty of our money, but we are at fault for not giving them proper direction on how to spend it. The wealthy and powerful individuals and corporations have been molding the laws to expand the US empire to consume the rest of the natural resources across the globe. I do not resent them for that. We, you and I, have shirked our responsibility to restrain our government as its framers intended. As a result we steadily lose our freedoms and become slaves of the empire we now live in. And here we are on the very brink of tyranny, bickering about who should pay more.

    • sunmusing

      good point sir/madame…I disagree with two points though…the pledge is NOT their Oath of Office…I DO resent people like the Kochs and corporations who care nothing for the rest of us and how they are using this great wealth to deliberately harm this country to force us to their way of thinking…this is wrong and the Framers of our Constitution believed it is the PEOPLE and not the corporations who should govern…or I could be wrong…

  • Zumba900

    Grover and his fellow thinkers are Dinosaurs whose day is gone.
    Banish them to the dust of history along with their self-serving philosophy…if that’s not being too generous with the word.
    A pox on you clowns! Begone!

  • waaminn

    Hmm what song did that come from?

    Max-Anon.tk

  • waaminn

    Dude what song does that come from? I knpow I have heard that before.

    Anony-Max.tk

  • Carol

    My suspicion is that with his donation to my DINO Senator, Coburn is trying to woo him over to the other side, which is the preferred direction in our politically sad state recently…with our large “white supremacy” contingent. He’s already an ALEC member. While I understand Manchin not voicing enthusiastic support for the President (which still made me SCREAM BLOODY MURDER and withhold my vote), his voting record belies his rhetoric…at least so far. With the State D machine at work, he’s unlikely to be defeated by any real Dem any time soon. Capito is widely expected to take Rockefeller’s seat, if mostly on name recognition…that will be a sad, sad day for WV Progressives.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jo-Hargis/100002882420472 Jo Hargis

    Pleassssse, don’t anyone be fooled by any of this. If we let the GOP back into any kind of meaningful power, Norquist and his kind will be right back where they were two years ago. Nothing these people say is sincere or well meant; it’s pandering because elections are on the horizon, and because they got their arses handed to them on Nov. 6. Don’t ever forget Norquist’s own statements of his mission: to destroy the US government, a coup to put the GOP in permanent ruling status. Yes, his words, not mine. Google it.

  • http://profiles.google.com/dhfabian DH Fabian

    Enough of government of the Norquist, by the Norquist, for the insatiable pigs. First, General Assistance aid (for those who are unable to provide for themselves) was wiped out, and all that money was redistributed upward. Next, the entire AFDC program (for impoverished families) was wiped out, and all that money was redistributed upward. Cuts have been made in everything from disability aid to homeless shelters, schools to parks, science to job development. Yet the flow of money going to the richest few continues. The US today has unprecedented economic/class disparities, with a truly Dickensian world of poverty in our midst. I never thought I’d see the day when American citizens could die as a direct result of poverty, but this is happening today. Either govt learns to put some restraints on the rich, or we will have to act on the fact that the relentless greed of the rich is the greatest threat facing this country.

  • http://profiles.google.com/dhfabian DH Fabian

    Note to all Americans: Do the research. Check to see how much of the budget goes into each item. Note that Social Security comes out of funds already paid specifically for that purpose, and does not come out of the general budget (nor, of course,does it add a penny to the deficit). Note that over 50% of the fed. budget goes into the military alone! That is unprecedented. No other country drains citizens to this degree for the purpose of maintaining a state of warfare (doesn’t much matter where or why — we’ve remained engaged in war more often than not for the past century).

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