On the Role of Grover Norquist in Budget Debates (To the Lopez Clan)

5 Jan


Hello Balke Bros! Soooo, here is the question of the hour coming from my mama on the fiscal cliff, economics issues: What pull/right/role should Grover Norquist have in the governmental debates regarding our current tax debate? Thank you from the Lopez Clan!”

First off, thanks for the question!

I think Grover Norquist is a perfect example of how influence can be distorted in our democracy.  The fact that he has more power than the vast majority of individuals in the nation should disturb anyone.  The same goes for any Wall St. CEO or any individual that commands influence far greater than any one person outside of government normally does; while the rest of us have to write a letter or pick up a phone to talk to our more or less disinterested representatives, Mr. Norquist can just get in front of any number of cameras that eagerly seek his opinion, issue his blessing or warning to representatives, backed up by the millions of dollars from organizations like Club for Growth, and public officials march in lockstep with him.  This is no way for a democracy to work. 

That’s to say nothing about the nature of his pledge, which so constrains public officials by taking out a Constitutionally endowed power, levying taxes, that it results in the slashing of public programs that benefit the poor and middle class while protecting all taxpayers, including the wealthiest few that pay disproportionately low tax rates.  Now, tax rates have risen for the wealthiest, but our tax code still perversely benefits the wealthiest families, and in any future tax reform debate, politicians would be better served reading the Constitution and listening to their constituents and feeling their pain than heeding Mr. Norquist.  If he has a problem with that, then he can go ahead and write his representatives in Congress.


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