Why Ending the Norquist Pledge is Important

The issue of whether to raise taxes seems like a perennial argument in US politics. Most recently, President Obama and Mitt Romney sparred over whether to raise taxes on Americans earning more than $250,000. Also in the 2012 election, some Democrats raised the prospect of lifting the cap on income taxed for social security above the current limit of $110,000. Whether you agree (and poll after poll show that a majority of Americans do) or disagree with these ideas is not important in these discussions, because one unelected man named Grover Norquist has a hold on the GOP which prevents any type of serious discussion on the tax issue. Norquist has convinced nearly every elected member of the GOP to sign a pledge vowing they will not, under any circumstances, vote to raise taxes on anyone.

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney signed it, as have Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConell and Speaker of the House John Boehner.

So two days after the 2012 election where President Obama and Democrats trounced Republicans, and where exit polls revealed that 6 of 10 voters favored raising taxes on the wealthy, John Boehner’s answer is, “The question we should be asking is not ‘which taxes should I raise to get more revenue,’ but rather ‘which reforms can we agree on that will get our economy moving again?”

Apparently to Boehner, his pledge to Norquist takes precedence over the wishes of a majority of the electorate.

This must stop.

This blog is not about whether to raise taxes or not. It is about transparency. It’s about showing the electorate that one man has a hold on one political party. It’s about revealing how our leaders are not campaigning on Norquist’s pledge, but they are beholden to it. It’s about showing how Republican politicians face well-funded primary challengers if they break their pledge to Norquist.

And hopefully, it is about generating some outrage from other Americans. Because I can’t imagine that when Americans know the power that one man has over our ability to address the nation’s problems, that they will sit back and let it continue.

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