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]