Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist addresses the American Conservative Union's annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington February 11, 2012. (Photo : Reuters)
In the face of the fiscal cliff, which looms only a month away, some in the Republican leadership are finally bucking Grover Norquist's hold, and vowing to break a pledge he has extracted a pledge from nearly every Republican in Congress.
Anti-tax crusader Norquist, founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform, a libertarian lobbying group, has nearly every Republican on record promising that they will never, under any circumstances, ever raise taxes.
In it's entirety, his pledge reads, "I, [name] pledge to the taxpayers of [jurisdiction] and to the American people that I will:
ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses; and
TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates."
This simple pledge has been the bane of Democrats looking to raise revenue for social programs and to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and it has been the rallying cry for tax-averse Republicans like the Tea Party.
In the current House of Representatives, only six of the 242 Republican members have not signed the pledge. Forty Republican Senators have also signed it, leaving only seven Republicans who have not.
Norquist gained notoriety when he found Americans for Tax Reform in 1985. He famously once said, "I'm not in favor of abolishing the government. I just want to shrink it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub."
He has been an untiring and ceaseless advocate for smaller government, lower taxes and the abolishment of federal and governmental programs.
Americans for Tax Reform also supports global warming skeptics, claiming that efforts to curtail carbon emissions do more damage than increases in atmospheric carbon.
This is a position directly at odds with the vast majority of climate scientists, and victims of storms like Hurricane Sandy may disagree that their tax burden is onerous, given that taxpayer-funded organizations like FEMA led the rescue and cleanup effort. Scientists also conclude that storms like Sandy are becoming stronger and causing more damage due to excess heat in the atmosphere from global warming.
But many powerful Republicans are jumping ship, abandoning their commitment to Norquist's anti-tax pledge. The fiscal cliff negotiations must be concluded within the next month. Next year we'll see how much sway Norquist continues to hold in Washington.