The Republican Party has undergone a radical transformation, reorganizing itself around a grotesque proposition: that the wealthy should grow wealthier still, whatever the consequences for the rest of us.
Modern-day Republicans have become, quite simply, the Party of the One Percent – the Party of the Rich. President Obama continues reaching out across the divide to make the GOP a part of the solution to the troubled American economy. Always to encounter a wall or resistance! Quite confusing the GOP action or rather non-action when it comes to the America Jobs Act and the Debt Reduction Super Committee the President created. The Republican resistance is causing for Reagan administrative officials to speak out their dismay.
REAGAN’S BUDGET DIRECTOR SPEAKS OUT:
“The Republican Party has totally abdicated its job in our democracy, which is to act as the guardian of fiscal discipline and responsibility,” says David Stockman, who served as budget director under Reagan. “They’re on an anti-tax jihad – one that benefits the prosperous classes.”
With 14 million Americans out of work, and with one in seven families turning to food stamps simply to feed their children, Republicans have responded to the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression by slashing inheritance taxes, extending the Bush tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, and endorsing a tax amnesty for big corporations that have hidden billions in profits in offshore tax havens. They also wrecked the nation’s credit rating by rejecting a debt-ceiling deal that would have slashed future deficits by $4 trillion –simply because one-quarter of the money would have come from closing tax loopholes on the rich.
Grover Norquist IS A MAJOR Roadblock to the Super Committee
He has never held elected office. He’s not a political appointee or a congressional staffer, and few voters know his name.
Yet this anti-tax lobbyist wields immense power over the Republican Party, enforcing a hard-line position that compels the GOP to protect tax breaks for the rich and billions in federal subsidies for America’s wealthiest corporations.
Norgquist forces GOP candidates to sign a NO TAX Pledge
Norquist – a Harvard MBA and former head of the College Republicans – challenged GOP candidates to take a two-part pledge: that they would never raise taxes, and that they would only close tax loopholes if the additional revenue was used to pay for further tax cuts. Before long, he had 102 congressmen and 16 senators signed up.
Over the past 25 years, Norquist has received funding from many of America’s wealthiest corporations, including Philip Morris, Pfizer and Microsoft. To build a farm team of anti-tax conservatives, Norquist shrewdly took the pledge to state legislatures across the country, pressuring up-and- coming Republicans to make it a core issue before they’re called up to the big leagues.
“We’re bran,” Norquist says. “The people who are going ding the whole party that way to be running for Congress in 10 or 20 years are coming out-of-state legislatures with a history with the pledge.”
Norquist also built the anti-tax pledge into the DNA of the GOP by hosting weekly Wednesday meetings that enable activist groups representing everyone from gun nuts to home-schoolers to mix with top business lobbyists and conservative officials.
The meetings, which began shortly after Bill Clinton was elected, turned Norquist into the Republican Party’s foremost power broker – and gave him a forum to enforce the no-new-taxes pledge as the centerpiece of the GOP’s strategy. “The tax issue,” he says, “is the one thing everyone agrees on.”
Norquist cemented his influence by forging an early alliance with Karl Rove and setting himself up as a gatekeeper to George W. Bush’s inner circle. Then, after Obama was elected, this ultimate Washington insider positioned himself as a leader of the anti-establishment Tea Party, complete with financial support from the billionaire Koch brothers.
Bruce Bartlett, an architect of the Reagan tax cuts weights in on Norquist.
“These Tea Party people, in effect, take their orders from him. “He decides: This is a permissible tax action, or this is not a permissible tax action. And of course, anything that cuts taxes is per se OK.”
- Today, GOP politicians who have signed Norquist’s anti-tax pledge include every top Republican running for president, 13 governors, 1,300 state lawmakers, 40 of the 47 Republicans in the Senate, and 236 of the 242 Republicans in the House.
- What’s more, the GOP’s Tea Party foot soldiers are marshaled by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor – a veteran of Norquist’s farm team, who first signed the pledge as an ambitious member of the Virginia legislature.
- Under Cantor’s leadership, Norquist’s anti-tax pledge was directly responsible for last summer’s debt-ceiling standoff that wrecked the nation’s credit rating by leading the nation to the brink of default.
Paul O’Neill, Bush’s former Treasury secretary comments:
“Congress was willing to cause severe economic damage to the entire population,” marvels , “simply because they were slaves to an idiot’s idea of how the world works.”
Parts of this story is from the November 24, 2011 issue of Rolling Stone.
- GOP Supercommittee Members Consider Tax Increase (npr.org)
- Grover Norquist: The Billionaires’ Best Friend (rollingstone.com)
- Reid says Republican lawmakers ‘being led like puppets’ by Grover Norquist (thehill.com)
- GOP Finds Leeway In Grover Norquist’s Tax Pledge (huffingtonpost.com)