For years, GOP candidates running for Congress, governor or president would sign conservative lobbyist Grover Norquist’s pledge against tax increases, but those days may be coming to an end.
Some promi“Taxpayer Protection” pledge, it’s never been a better time to break one.
Norquist, founder of the conservative group Americans for Tax Reform, and his supporters have been clamoring for legislators to sign the pledge for decades. Signatories to Norquist’s pledge have agreed to “oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses.”
But it seems that the anti-tax crusader and his pledge are quickly losing supporters as several GOP bigwigs have said enough is enough. Dozens of previous signatories, as well as several new congressmen-elects, have committed to breaking or refusing to support the pledge if it could finally mean reaching a compromise on the looming “fiscal cliff,” what many financial analysts are calling the “point of no return” for the economy as we know it.
Frankly, it’s about time.
Kindergartners generally know how to compromise better than those in Washington nowadays, so to hear that someone is finally willing to take steps towards the middle is positively refreshing. Times are changing, and the way legislators approach revenue and spending needs to change as well.
Democrats haven’t signed an equivalent pledge banning future spending cuts, but this olive branch extended by such prominent Republicans should be returned with a similar gesture of good faith and compromise.
But here’s the thing about Norquist and his “no raising taxes ever” pledge: it’s not technically a Republican Party initiative. Yes, the majority of signers are Republicans, but the Republican Party has never been particularly steadfast on its positions toward eliminating taxes or reform policies. Conservative politicians have waivered for decades on the issue of raising or lowering tax rates. Even Ronald Reagan, now heralded by many as the demi-god of the Republican Party, raised taxes multiple times during his campaign.
By agreeing to go against the pledge signed years ago, lawmakers have taken a bold stance, essentially saying, “My allegiances do not lie with this organization. My allegiances lie with the America that exists today and the tough decisions it faces to guarantee a secure tomorrow.”
The outcome of the status quo election several weeks ago shows that Americans are still very much divided on how they believe the government should run. Obviously there is no way to please everyone. But no one will be happy if the people in charge aren’t willing to sacrifice party principles for the greater good.
If each side is willing to give a little, a solution can be reached. Not a perfect one from any perspective, but one that we can all live with, regardless of what pledges we sign or the party we align with.