Norquist on Tax Reform, Deficit Reduction, Revenue Increases
COBURN: NORQUIST’S PHANTOM ARMY - Sen. Tom Coburn argues in the New York Times that anti-tax lobbyist Grover Norquist is hardly pulling the strings of the GOP: When Norquist “made a visit to Capitol Hill recently, leading Democrats welcomed the chance to build up their favorite boogeyman. Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, said Mr. Norquist has ‘the entire Republican party in the palm of his hand.’ A spokeswoman for Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, said Mr. Norquist – who is famous for getting lawmakers to pledge not to support tax hikes or deficit reduction that is paired with revenue increases – was coming to give the G.O.P. its ‘marching orders.
–”But this story is utterly false. Senate Republicans – and many House Republicans – have repeatedly rejected Mr. Norquist’s strict interpretation of his own pledge, a reading that requires them to defend every loophole and spending program hidden in the tax code. While most Republicans do, of course, oppose tax increases, they are hardly the mindless robots Democrats say they are. What the narrative does, however, is let Democrats off the hook. If they can make out Republicans as uncompromising ideologues, they can continue refusing to offer detailed plans to reform entitlement programs. That is the real obstacle to a grand bargain on spending, not Mr. Norquist’s pledge.” http://nyti.ms/MsYBhN