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July 24, 2014

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Republican resistance to Grover Norquist started early in Nevada

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Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist speaks at Americans for Tax Reforms annual Tax Day Eve news conference, April 14, 2011, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

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A bevy of Republicans in Congress created quite a stir last week when they announced they would be willing to ditch a once sacrosanct pledge never to raise taxes. The announcement is a step toward a compromise to avoid the fiscal cliff.

“When you’re $16 trillion in debt, the only pledge we should be making to each other is to avoid becoming Greece,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. said on ABC’s "This Week."

Soon, other congressional Republicans followed suit, earning a sharp retort from the pledge’s keeper, anti-tax activist Grover Norquist.

While the dire situation with the federal debt spurred the movement by some Republicans away from Norquist’s pledge, Nevada Republicans started marching that direction some time ago.

State Senate Republicans—with an eye toward attempting to take over the majority in the upper house—made the strategic decision early this year to endorse candidates in the primary who generally had a more moderate view when it came to taxes and other issues.

None of the candidates they endorsed signed the tax pledge, opting instead to face decisions over Nevada’s cash-strapped budget from an everything-is-on-the-table position.

The strategy had mixed results. Although Republicans won three of the five competitive Senate races, they fell one seat short of taking the majority back from Democrats.

The failure to snag the top prize, however, didn’t force Senate Republicans to rethink their antagonism toward Norquist’s pledge.

Quite the opposite. Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson, who actually signed the pledge before his first campaign for office, sharpened his rhetoric against it in the weeks after the election.

“I don’t think he’s good for our party. I don’t think he’s good for politics,” Roberson said of Norquist on the political talk show "To the Point." “I think most people in this state want people who are reasonable and thoughtful and will consider putting everything on the table. We shouldn’t be afraid to talk about tax reform, spending reform and all of the issues.”

Roberson and other Republicans caution that shouldn’t be read as an endorsement of any increase in taxes. But it’s a distinct shift away from a caucus previously dominated by Republicans with a more ideological opposition to tax increases of any sort.

Still, champions of the pledge continue to defend it.

Chuck Muth, known as the keeper of the Nevada pledge, wrote Roberson off as a hypocrite for criticizing Norquist and said voters will have the final say when Roberson runs for re-election two years from now.

“He has completely flip-flopped and is now in direct opposition to the Republican Party’s stated platform position opposing tax increases,” Muth said on "To the Point." “Maybe he has the support of the vast majority of the people and taxpayers in Nevada, but he’s going to have a big problem trying to persuade his own party’s base that he is in the right position on this issue.

“I’m telling you, the grassroots Republicans in this state do not support Michael Roberson. They support the position of Grover Norquist.”

Muth also sought to marginalize congressional Republicans who said they’d break the pledge, saying the fiscal cliff debate is the perfect test case for the importance of the signed promise not to raise taxes.

“A lot of these folks have signed the pledge years ago when it was easy to sign the pledge, when there were no real efforts to raise taxes,” Muth said. “What we have now is a serious effort and serious pressure to raise taxes and you’re seeing that most of the Republicans, the vast majority in Congress, are sticking to their guns.”

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  1. Comment removed by moderator. Inappropriate

  2. Our economy and our nation will collapse regardless of anything the Congress or White House do irrespective of political party. Go to gpo.gov and look at the US budget for yourself, today thru 2022. Nothing planned or hoped for can stop financial disaster.

    Debt will never be less than 74.2% of GDP based on best case projections. That's like saying your personal debt will never be less than 74% of your gross family income (before taxes). There would be nothing left to live on for you just as there isn't for the nation.

    In 2022 the interest on the debt alone is projected to be approx. 900 billion, again best case scenario if everything goes right. And we all know better than that. Projections are always based on promises that don't come true.

    The annual deficit is never projected to go below 575 billion and then it goes back up. US total unfunded liabilities @ 121.7 trillion dollars are 87% greater than our total national assets @ 87.4 trillion. Actual liabilities per taxpayer are $1,059,995. That's 1 mil for each person working/paying taxes, not just citizens.

    Hyperinflation like what happened to many nations after WWII is likely. You will need a wheelbarrow of paper currency to buy a loaf of bread if you're lucky. Those with skills who can barter, those who can live off the land and those who can make what they need will be the strongest of us all. Skilled tradesmen will be valuable while paper pushers will not.

    Am I crazy? I hope so, but any accountant or individual that can make a working budget can look at the facts and come to the same conclusion. Many have and said this before me.

  3. "He has completely flip-flopped and is now in direct opposition to the Republican Party's stated platform position opposing tax increases," Muth said on "To the Point." [Sic] Mr. Muth that's not what he said you can spin it any way you want but that's not what he said!!
    The people didn't just vote for a balanced approach they also sent a message that they want to choose their nominee and not have it chose for them.
    "What we have now is a serious effort and serious pressure to raise taxes and you're seeing that most of the Republicans, the vast majority in Congress, are sticking to their guns." [Sic] I think your own party members will purge those out soon enough.

  4. Sorry to inform all of you, we're doomed. A half century ago, we started with the manure of the Great Society, where LBJ started giving away the farm. If a country is supporting 10% of so of it's citizens, that's merely annoying. The US has almost half of it's citizens on the public dole. That's a perfect receipe for disaster.

    Many brilliant thinkers over the millenium have made comments about what it takes to create or destroy a democracy or a republic. Over the past few generations, we have done nothing to create anything except a society of freeloaders. Americans have not figured out that there is an enormous difference between helping out people in emergencies for a short time, and simply putting people on the take for years, decades, or even generations.

    We need to do difficult things to fix our mess, but since the elected officials merely echo the sentiments of the voters, nothing will ever get truly fixed. We are too divided in this country to ever be whole again. Greed, arrogance, and stupidity have taken the place of cooperation, compromise, and common sense.

    Here's some fixes. You tell me which ones the government will ever do: (watch the division in the comments on this)

    Dump the entire tax code, replacing it with one of 1 or 2 brackets at the most, with low rates (10% & 15%). Make all income (earned, dividends, interest, tips) subject to the tax. Nothing is tax free, no organization is tax free. Businesses pay 1% (for example) of gross income. Period. No deductions or any way out of it. Everyone except the poorest of the poor (say income under 15K per person) pays something into the system.

    Social issues belong to the states. If you don't like your state's laws, either work to change them or move to another state. Almost no one gets public assistance without doing something for it. Work for the government, go to school and learn a trade, clean the streets, etc.

    Outlaw lobbying if any money, gifts, or promises of votes are involved. This is simply bribery at it's finest.

    All campaign donations go into a common pot and divided up among all contenders. That way no one can buy an election ever again.

  5. In paragraph 14 of this article, Chuck Muth is qouted as making the atatement "Maybe he has the support of the vast majority of the people and taxpayers in Nevada..." If he has that, aren't his opponents the fringe wackos?

  6. Jerry, you have the attention span of a fruit fly; the R's put up a hard core conservative disguised as Sharon Angle who beat the Dumbocrat-lite Sue Lowden in the primary then got hammered by the Harry in a year when Republicans cleaned house. You put up the hard core, they get toasted; put up the kumbaya bunch, they get toasted. Time to turn out the lights and watch that door on the way out.

  7. A pinky swear with Grover should never supplant a representative's oath of office.

    The GOP needs to understand their loyalty should lie with the American people, not to Grover "Cross my heart!" Norquist.

  8. The Sun will hate anybody who wants lower taxes.

  9. Grover's failure is going to be his inability to accept the concept that "starving the beast" by making the political world fear his tax pledge still isn't really solving the problem of how much we spend. It attacks the problem backward.

    If tomorrow Norquist could see Congress eliminate all deductions, simplify the tax code to three rates (10%, 25% and 35%), insist that every American (even the bottom of our soceo-economic pyramid) pay a minimum "Citizens Tax" just for the privilege of being in America, and the above all generated higher taxes, would Norquist object?

    The inability to constrain what Washington spends is where Norquist's focus should be right now.