I will: ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rate for individuals and business; and TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.
No, that isn’t a riff on the oath that every member of Congress swears when they take office. That’s anti-tax activist Grover Norquist’s pledge, a pledge that every GOP member of Congress and every GOP Presidential candidate save Jon Huntsman has signed on to. It’s the single biggest reason the Congressional “supercommittee” failed (as if they ever had a chance) to reach consensus on budget cuts. With Norquist being the invisible “13th member” of the supercommittee, there was no way that Republicans were going to be willing to negotiate. Democrats bent over backwards in an effort to make things work, to find some common ground, but Republican intransigence stifled every attempt at progress. “The Pledge” was the single biggest reason that no agreement was reached.
I pledge allegiance to Grover Norquist….
Silly me, I’d always thought that a Congressperson’s responsibility to the constituents and their country should trump an artificial politically-motivated pledge that carries no legal weight.
KERRY: We Democrats put a $4 trillion dollar plan on the table. We had $1.3 trillion of cuts, and we had $1.3 trillion in revenue. Now, some of that revenue, we’re not asking that to happen tomorrow or the next day, it could happen in a year. This is a ten-year plan and longer. So we have the ability here to do something that’s fair for all Americans. But unfortunately, this thing about the Bush tax cuts and the pledge to Grover Norquist keeps coming up. Grover Norquist has been the 13th member of this committee without being there. I can’t tell you how many times we hear about ‘the pledge, the pledge.’ Well all of us took a pledge to uphold the Constitution and to full and faithfully and well-execute our duties and I think that requires us to try and reach an agreement. So we have to compromise.
If one party to a negotiation- in this case, Republicans- are unwilling to compromise or even budge one iota, then what hope do we really have of trying to move this country forward? When most Republicans live in abject fear of both Grover Norquist and the Tea Party, and are more concerned with their continued employment than with doing the jobs they were elected to do, what we have is gridlock. In this case, we know exactly who’s responsible for gridlock. Democrats made a good faith effort, and then some. Republicans fell back on “The Pledge” as they refused to even considered the idea of additional revenues. No, you can’t fall back on the tired “both parties are doing it” argument.
There is one silver lining, I suppose. Doing nothing will insure that $6 billion in deficit reductions take place, including the end of the GOP’ cherished Bush tax cuts. And yet, as we speak, Republicans are doing whatever they can to protect the interests of their wealthy benefactors. How’s that for some principled leadership, eh?
The again, when the leaders of the GOP have stated that “Job One” is to make certain that Obama is a one-term President, you can begin to understand why Republicans have their thumbs up their posteriors. It’s not about doing what’s right for the country; it’s about serving their own interests and those of their wealthy owners. May their be reserved parking spaces in Hell waiting for ALL of them….