The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

November 19, 2012

Other Views: Anti-tax pledge loses favor

— One of the impediments to a congressional deal that would avert the dreaded fiscal cliff seems to have been removed or at least greatly diminished after this past election.

According to the Congress-watching newspaper The Hill, “Grover Norquist’s majority in Congress is all but gone.”

Norquist is — or, perhaps now, was — one of the most powerful influences on Congress that most people never heard of. He was head of something called Americans for Tax Reform whose signature feat was to cajole, wheedle or threaten new members of Congress, mostly Republicans, to sign a pledge never to raise taxes.

While every Congress legislatively starts anew, Norquist insisted the pledge was binding for the entirety of the member’s career. And his goal was clear — small and ineffectual government. As he often said, “My goal is to cut government in half in 25 years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.”

The pledge applies not only to tax increases but to loophole closings and elimination of deductions that are not offset by cuts in federal spending elsewhere. It was a successful recipe for fiscal paralysis and why two major wars and the prescription drug entitlement have never been paid for. They were funded by borrowing, but we seem to be drawing close to the end of our line of credit.

The Hill says, “About a dozen newly elected House Republicans refused to sign the anti-tax pledge during their campaigns, and another handful of returning Republicans have disavowed their allegiance to the written commitment.”

With the GOP loss of seats in the House, fewer than the 218 signees (there were 238) needed for a majority remain, and in the Senate 39 members who were signers of the pledge remain.

The great 18th-century political theorist Edmund Burke said, “Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.” In this case, substitute Grover Norquist for “your opinion.”

The decision of whether to raise taxes and whether this decision is good for the constituents should rest solely between the representative and the people.

— Scripps Howard News Service

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Opinion
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  • Your View: ‘Right to Farm’ is wrong

    On Aug. 5, voters will be asked to make a decision about Amendment 1.

    July 29, 2014

  • Your View: No on Amendment 7

    The Missouri Department of Transportation is wanting more money through a three-quarter-cent addition to the sales tax. Consider one example of how it spends your money.

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  • Your View: Bad way to get revenue

    I received two fliers through the mail today asking me to vote “yes” on Amendment 7, which would add a three-quarter-cent tax to Missouri’s sales tax to help maintain roads and bridges.

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  • Rebecca French Smith, guest columnist: Amendment 1: Farmers are 'boots on the ground'

    Take a moment and ask yourself who was the last person in your family to farm.

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  • Your View; Makes no sense

    Chess was never my game. It’s too complicated.

    July 28, 2014

  • Your View: Time value of money

     I was shaking my head along with Anson Burlingame (“Much has changed in U.S. over 14 years,” Globe, July 22), then he offered his readers a chance: “Go ahead — take your pick.”

    July 28, 2014

  • Your View: Boiling a frog

    We voters are now being urged to vote on Aug. 5 for Amendment 7 “to fix our roads, highways and bridges.”

    July 28, 2014

  • Our view: 'Yes' on 7

    Opponents of Amendment 7 say this: “Missouri families are already hard pressed to pay their bills during this period of slow economic recovery.”

    July 26, 2014

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