Bloggers Briefing Preview: Grover Norquist Talks Taxes, Defends ‘The Pledge’

Let’s be honest, liberals want to raise your taxes. President Obama talked about it on the campaign trail in 2008, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid raised it again last week. They tried to do it last year in the debt-limit deal and failed. Now they’re at it again.

Yet despite this rhetoric and corresponding pressure from mainstream journalists, Republicans have remained steadfastly opposed to tax increases.

This is where Grover Norquist enters the picture. The president of Americans for Tax Reform -- best known for its Taxpayer Protection Pledge -- has endured withering criticism for taking tax hikes off the table.

Norquist, who founded the taxpayer advocacy group in 1985 at President Ronald Reagan’s request, will speak at The Bloggers Briefing on Tuesday at noon ET. Breitbart News Network, in conjunction with The Heritage Foundation, will carry the briefing live.

The timing of Norquist’s visit comes as the liberal mainstream media attempt to divide conservatives on “the pledge.” The Washington Post ran a front-page story Saturday suggesting that a growing number Republicans were refusing to sign it -- “a small sign that could signal a big shift in Republican politics on taxes,” according to the Post’s Rosalind S. Helderman.

A closer look at the details, however, reveals that there might be less of a shift among the GOP on taxes than liberals would have you believe -- a point that even the the  acknowledges in 23rd paragraph of its story. Some of the Republican candidates who have declined to sign the pledge apparently face uphill battles in their races for Congress and might never make it to Washington.

And even with some Republicans declining to sign the pledge this year, Norquist notes that his organization is ahead of schedule collecting signatures. Mitt Romney has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge as have 236 (of 242) Republican House members, 40 (of 47) Republican senators and nearly all challengers for the 2012 House and Senate races.

Norquist attributes the growing number of attacks to the 2011 debate over the Simpson-Bowles commission, which Obama created by executive order. The commission proposed a $2 trillion tax increase, which Republican members rejected. It set the stage for the debt-limit debate, which resulted in spending reductions -- including dangerous cuts to the military -- but no tax hikes.

“Only by taking tax hikes off the table will politicians begin to focus on reforming government to reduce spending,” Norquist wrote in The American Spectator in March. “Verbal promises to avoid tax hikes are worse than meaningless. Written, public commitments like the Taxpayer Protection Pledge are increasingly self-enforcing and this past year alone they've saved American taxpayers trillions in avoided tax hikes and in actual spending restraint.”

The debate over taxes won’t soon fade. The central theme of Obama’s reelection campaign is “fairness,” which is a code word for redistributing wealth. And then there’s the unprecedented $494 billion tax hike that’s coming on Jan. 1, 2013. It’s been dubbed “Taxmageddon” given the economic devastation it would cause.

Norquist will certainly be a factor as these debates play out in the coming months. Tune in on Tuesday at noon ET to hear his outlook.


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