I Pledge Allegiance…to Grover Norquist…

Grover Norquist - Caricature

Image by DonkeyHotey via Flickr

Grover Norquist. Grover Norquist? Who the hell is Grover Norquist? Never heard of him? Well I think you need to do a little research on this guy because he is probably one of the most influential and powerful men in this country. I never knew who he was until last year when I started to see him interviewed on C-SPAN (thank God for C-SPAN). Let’s put it this way, he doesn’t like taxes. I mean this dude really hates taxes… and government. Well, ahem, he abhors government and taxes when it supports the trifling classes but he swoons like a teenage girl at a Justin Beiber concert when government and favorable tax codes enrich the anointed ones, like corporations and the well-heeled.

Norquist is the founder of Americans for Tax Reform. He has been the grand poobah of cutting taxes for decades. Growing up sucking on a silver spoon in Massachusetts where daddy was the vice-president of Polaroid Corporation, Norquist actually volunteered to work for Trickie Dick Nixon when he was 12. Now that’s hard-core. He believes that there are never any good reasons to raise taxes, and has completely hog-tied much of the Republican/Tea Party with the signing of his “pledge”. In case you don’t know, “The Taxpayers Pledge” is what most of the Republicans signed for old Grover whereby they swore to uphold Grover’s obsessive line in the sand. No taxes. Under any circumstances. If fire ants were eating his grandmother and demanded a tax increase as ransom, Grover says attack away…we have pictures to remember her by.  This guy means business.

 His quote about his dislike for government is legendary. He opined:

“I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.”

 I don’t know, I kind of get this mental picture in my head of Grover dragging a lot of us riffraff (the middle class, the poor, elderly and disabled) into that bathtub, enticing us with promises of rubber duckies and jobs, and then slamming our collective heads under water and holding them there as we thrash about until our bodies become limp and lifeless. I really do, because I don’t buy for a second that old Grover really cares about how hard the working class has it right now. However, I think he really, really cares that the affluent continue to gain by the redistribution of wealth upwards as they have been doing for the last few of decades since trickle-down economics was unleashed. Remember who pays his hefty salary at ATR. It’s the right-wing think tanks funded by the likes of the Koch brothers. It is also fueled by huge corporations who presumably have a lot to gain by keeping corporate tax rates very low. Are you having an Ah-ha moment yet?

Gosh, I do so love rainbows and puppy dogs and ice cream cones and the enticing thought of paying little to no taxes. But I also realize that I live in the real world where sometimes bad things happen to good people and I like that we have safety nets. I live in a country where we like to drive on smoothly paved highways and cross over sound bridges and educate our kids. I like to have clean air and safe food and uncontaminated drinking water. I’m funny that way. I like NPR and libraries and parks and museums a lot. I think it enriches us as a nation and as a civilization, and contrary to the big lie by the right, hardly shows up in the budget. I think people should have proper healthcare which is unaffordable now for many and becomes practically unaffordable for all as we age without some government intervention. I think people who bust their asses all their lives should have a decent retirement. But Grover Norquist doesn’t think so.  Grover Norquist works on behalf of his corporate masters. Grover Norquist is a man who has never been elected by anybody and yet is the grand puppeteer of our Republican/Tea Party politicians. Norquist, the architect of the ridiculous Bush tax cuts (which created no jobs, but sure as hell exploded our debt in case you were keeping score of stuff like that), is the not so silent partner in those debt ceiling talks where the right-wing has redefined compromise as, “You give me everything I want, I give you nothing. There! See how easy that was?” That’s compromise in 2011. That’s shared sacrifice.

I have grown so weary of the repetitious talking points by the far right. On their face, they sound plausible and reasonable to a disgusted country looking for answers, but they are in fact, distortions and exaggerations. Here is an excerpt from The Daily Kos. First the talking points from Norquist and his “We hate government” minions:

— Tax Cuts spur the Job Creators — to create Jobs.

— America has a spending problem.

— Government spending is a bad thing.

— Government must cut spending — no matter the fallout.

— If a family can cut back on its budget, so can the government.

— Raising any tax anywhere, is un-American.

— Government itself is a bad thing.

— Letting Americans keep more of what they’ve earned, will fix the economy.

 

Here are a few counter points…

— We’ve had over 10 years of unprecedented tax cuts — Where are the jobs?

— Families can live within a tight budget — but families don’t have to build roads, schools, power grids, or “provide for the general welfare or national defense“, either.

— Raising Taxes to provide for those things, is NOT anti-American — in fact the Constitution tells us to raise taxes, and to honor our debts, to provide for the general welfare and national defense.

 Those things are what the Founding Fathers wanted

Grover Norquist’s vision for a Me-First, Me-Only Society… not so much.

Sink or Swim, each on our own” — is NOT what they meant by “United we stand”  I don’t think, putting all of Reagan’s “rugged individualism” aside. That was Hollywood, after all.

If cutting taxes were the cure-all to our financial woes, then why are we in this mess because we have been cutting taxes for decades? If taxes were the problem with the economy than why are in we in this abyss because taxes have never been lower in half a century! Bill Clinton and George Bush Sr. raised taxes and the economy boomed. Hell, even Saint Ronnie Reagan raised taxes and the economy did just fine. Bush II gutted taxes and the economy stalled. So what chu talkin’ ’bout Willis?

But I’m hip to why you really detest the government Grover. It is really only because you need free reign for your bosses to make as much coin as humanly possible. You want business to be unencumbered by annoying rules or standards. You don’t want minimum wages, safe working conditions, unions, healthcare mandates or any other hindrances to wealth-making on your fat-cat friends. You don’t care about Social security checks because your swelled bank account will cover you quite nicely at 65. You don’t care about public education because your rich friends send their kids to private school. You don’t care about student financial aid because even though the cost of higher education can saddle the average family with humongous debt until they all croak, your wealthy friends hardly blink when the monthly tuition bill comes due. You don’t care about having enough cops on the beat because you live in gated communities with private guards to protect you 24/7. You don’t care about the environment because that will be somebody else’s problem after you are dead and gone. Businesses should be able to pollute and dump toxic soup into the water if they want because, hey, you want a job don’t ya? Stop being such a freaking tree-hugger. You really don’t care about Medicaid because sickly poor people, children and the disabled don’t get out to vote much. Screw ’em. And hey, why should you deny yourself an extra million or two by paying more taxes on capital gains? That can buy a really cool car with that automatic parallel parking doohicky or another ski home in Aspen even though you hate to ski. Unsurprisingly however, you don’t seem to mind corporate welfare, because that’s when government comes in really handy. Hands off those subsidies for oil companies who are hemorrhaging profits out their pipelines. That’s capitalism baby…even though it’s socialism baby…but it benefits your beltway buddies who receive wads of dough from those guys to get re-elected. It’s the “Me Generation” on steroids, this new radical he-man tax haters club.

Grover, I hate taxes too, but I want to live in a country that actually stands for what we say it stands for, which is power derived from the people, not the corporations. I hate taxes too but I want Americans to be assured that at the end of their lives they will have basic, humane care and dignity. I hate taxes too but I believe that poor children should not be relegated to more sickness or worse educational opportunities because of what neighborhood they grew up in. I hate taxes too but I believe that if you have fought for this country and served honorably, you should be taken care of properly and not shoved aside once your usefulness has been exhausted. I hate taxes but want disabled men, women, and children to have a shot at living the best life they can. One would think that all of these bible-thumping politicians who espouse Christian values would be leading the charge to take care of their neighbor. Sadly, it seems to be the opposite. WWJD? I guess if he was a Tea Partier he would destroy the social safety net and gut the capital gains tax on the money-lenders. Yes, God helps those that help themselves and the right-wingers have been helping themselves to a lot of our money in the form of tax cuts and loopholes…because they can.

Grover, you fail to understand that businesses take great advantage of the very infrastructure that my tax dollars pay for. Businesses benefit by my tax dollars through government-sponsored research and development. Businesses benefit by the protections of policeman and fireman that my hard earned tax dollars pay for. Businesses benefit from energy and electrical grids paid for by me and which they use to a much greater extent than I do. Businesses benefit by roads and bridges paid for by us. Businesses even benefit by the military and the protections it offers. You are great at promoting the big lie that we should let the free market reign because it helps the economy and taxes can only hurt it, but what you really do is cleverly rig the game. Your rich friends make the rules, benefit by the rules, and somehow get a lot of people to believe that you are doing this in their best interest. Hogwash.

Grover Norquist has a strangle-hold on Washington and has for some time. His brand of ideology is directly responsible for the gross inequality of wealth that we see today. Hey Grover, here are some things called FACTS. Over the last three decades, the bottom-feeding 90 percent of us have lost purchasing power while the top .1 percent saw their incomes rise dramatically. The wealthiest 10 percent own as much wealth as the remaining 90 percent. The average CEO is now making over 350 times what the average worker of that company makes. Compare that to 2004 when they made 104 times more. The wealthiest among us save billions of dollars in taxes because Congress has decided that people who don’t actually do work for their money deserve a big break. Yes they only pay 15% on capital gains, because that is not considered salary or wages, but it sure spends the same. For most of these folks this unearned income constitutes over half of their wealth so they pay the 15% rate on their millions that roll in which is not from the sweat of their brow like you and I. Therefore, it is not hard to understand how the wealthiest among us pay comparatively less in taxes than you and I.

Norquist and Paul Ryan and other Tea Party peeps worship the likes of Ayn Rand who celebrate the selfish nature of man and revere greed and wealth. Cut, cut, cut those taxes for the “job creators” (we are not allowed to call the rich, ‘the rich’ anymore…they are all job creators), and cut, cut, cut anything that serves the rest of us. After all, we are just the worker bees, not the Queen Bee. Long live the Queen, huh Grover?

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About Blithering Idiot

I am a teacher and I love my job.
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2 Responses to I Pledge Allegiance…to Grover Norquist…

  1. keygoddess says:

    Go Jodi! Why hasn’t some one put you on tv?

  2. Jodi says:

    {Blushing profusely}…thanks for the wonderful compliment but I’ll leave that to the professionals. I like to sit on my couch, nibble on snacks, and vent my frustrations in complete anonimity.

    But, believe me, you made my day 😉

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