Dorian Dale examines the success of Grover Norquist’s No Tax Pledge and argues that the benefits should extend to everyone. Why waste perfectly good tax cuts and loopholes just on the rich?
In the wake of the Big, Bad Debt Deal, Grover “No Tax” Norquist declared victory. We should all concede. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Every Man & Woman a Fat Cat! Warren Buffet keeps griping that his secretary shouldn’t be paying taxes at a rate 67% higher than he and his fellow billionaires. So level the playing field. The Fat Cat Manifesto proposes to extend billionaire/ corporate breaks, subsidies, loopholes and deductions to everyone:
ESSENTIAL POINTS OF THE FAT CAT MANIFESTO:
- Any wage earner will avail themselves of the same 15% capital gains rate heretofore available only to hedge fund managers the likes of Bain Capital’s Mitt Romney.
- Cars, ATVs, jet skis, bicycles etc. will be depreciated at the same rate as corporate jets.
- Backyard gardens will be subsidized at levels comparable to “genteel farmers” like Dave Letterman and the Waltons of Wal-Mart. The cost of looking for vehicular and housing fuel will also be subsidized.
- Joe & Jo Q Citizen will get to incorporate and catch all the breaks of corporations. This follows the logic of the Citizens United v FCC ruling delivered by the activist majority on the Supreme Court in 2010 declaring that corporations are just like citizens and will have unrestricted First Amendment rights to lavish unlimited amounts of money electing their quislings.
Who is this Grover Norquist, Patron Ain’t of taxation misrepresentation? First, know that he is a Harvard grad, not the effete, elitist type of Harvard grad like Obama and the Winklevoss twins, but the regular-guy type like George Bush and Bill O’Reilly. After his Americans for Tax Reform pitched in to help Reagan chop the top tax rate from 50% to 28% in 1986, Grover declared he was out to “reduce government down to the size where it’s small enough to drown in a bathtub.” Drowning the Federal government in the tsunami of debt that swept over America in the first decade of the new millennium is not exactly the same principle, but the result is the same.
To date, Grover has gotten 336 congressmen, 41 senators, 13 governors and 1,247 state legislatures to sign his Taxpayer Protection Pledge otherwise known as the “No Tax” pledge. Stephen Colbert pressed Grover on whether there were any circumstances under which he would accept a tax increase:
“Terrorists have kidnapped all of our grandmothers and they’ve got them in a subterranean burrow and all of them have been slathered with honey and they’re going to release fire ants into this burrow that will bite them to death. Their only demand is that we increase the marginal tax rate for the top 2% and they will release them. Do we increase the tax rate or do we let our grandmothers die from ant bites?”
“I think we console our self with the fact that we have pictures,” quipped Grover
Momentarily jaw-drop speechless, Colbert blurts “That’s the right answer!”
A few years back, Grover served up a bigger whopper of a jaw-dropper to NPR’s Terry Gross. At the time, Grover was representing for another one of his noble causes – elimination of the estate tax which he had renamed the Death Tax while successfully convincing many average folks that it applied to far more than the top 1%. Never one to shy away from over-the-top metaphors, Grover was claiming that arguments for higher taxes on rich people echo the ones Nazis used to single out Jews for gas chambers.
“I mean, that’s the morality of the Holocaust,” said Grover. “‘Well, it’s only a small percentage,’ you know. ‘I mean, it’s not you, it’s somebody else.’”
It took Terry Gross twenty-six seconds to lift her jaw off her microphone and say, “Excuse me. Excuse me one second. Did you just …”
Gross: “…compare the estate tax with the Holocaust?”
I ran into Grover’s dad at a fraternal gathering in Langley soon after Gross’ interview and suggested his son might want to reign in the Holocaust Tax metaphor, particularly when he is talking to a Jewish host. Unbeknownst to me, at that point, was that papa Norquist was the one who had given little Grover his first taste of anti-tax fervor. Copping bites from his son’s ice cream cone, he labeled each bite “sales tax” or “income tax.” But was the ice cream loaded with loopholes and subsidies trickled on top?
America has come full spiral since Louisiana’s Huey ‘Kingfish’ Long delivered his ‘Every Man a King’ speech during the Great Depression proposing to ‘Share Our Wealth’ (SOW): “It is not the difficulty of the problem we have; it is the fact the rich people of this country – and by rich people I mean the super-rich – will not allow us to solve the problems.” Within a year, 7.5 million Americans had joined ‘Share Our Wealth’ clubs. A year later the Kingfish was assassinated.
Today Grover Norquist & Co has convinced the descendants of SOWers that the acronym stands for Spare Our Wealthy. Super-rich job-creators are the solution, not the problem. Their cause is everyone’s because we all aspire to be wealthy. Who Wants to Be a Millionaire then Pay Taxes? Soon the average Jersey Shore Fat Cat wannabes who get hit with 50% higher tolls to drive over the bridges into Manhattan to maybe glimpse Donald Trump gnawing his way through rib eye at the ‘21’ Club will be able to deduct those tolls from their taxes. Got that Grover?