By Rich Lowry
The Hendricks County Flyer
Fri Nov 30, 2012, 04:10 PM EST
Listening to Democrats and the media, you could be forgiven for thinking the point of a deal over the looming "fiscal cliff" wouldn't be to reduce the deficit so much as to reduce the influence of one man, Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform.
Known to one and all simply as Grover, he is the keeper of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge signed by almost all Republicans committing themselves not to raise taxes. For this offense, Grover is deemed the enemy of all that is right and just.
The pollster and ABC News commentator Matthew Dowd said on "This Week" that "Grover Norquist is an impediment to good governing. The only good thing about Grover Norquist is that he was named after a character from Sesame Street." Not everyone has been as juvenile as Dowd, but he captured the gleeful spirit of the anti-Norquist pile-on.
The idea that we'd have "good governing" only if more tax increases were thrown on top of poorly designed, out-of-control entitlements, wasteful subsidies, rotten schools, and an ever-growing mess of regulation is fanciful. Obamacare increased taxes by more than $500 billion, and our governing did not noticeably become better as a result.
Grover has three insights that are absolutely correct: 1) Revenues from tax increases will almost invariably be spent. Does anyone believe that if George W. Bush had not cut taxes early in his first term that the Tom DeLay and Nancy Pelosi Congresses wouldn't have, in their collective wisdom, found ways to spend the additional revenues? 2) The typical structure of the Washington budget deal is tax increases now in exchange for promised spending cuts over time that don't materialize. 3) The Republican brand is dependent on its status as the anti-tax party.
These aren't alien beliefs foisted on the Republican Party, but represent GOP orthodoxy. Nonetheless, everyone acts as if Grover is the instrument of the party's Babylonian captivity. If only the dastardly Norquist didn't make Republicans say they won't raise taxes - and put it in writing - the party could fulfill its role in the "good governing" of Washington, namely joining Democrats to raise taxes.
The proof of the supposed perversity of Grover's influence is the widely cited hypothetical example of a Democratic offer to cut $10 in spending for every $1 in new tax dollars. In one presidential-primary debate, every Republican candidate indicated that he or she would oppose such a deal. Of course, it's all academic because such a deal will never, ever be on offer. Hypotheticals work both ways, or they should. What would Democrats be willing to accept in exchange for signing off on a premium support plan for Medicare? Nothing.
The press isn't scandalized by this particular intransigence. It isn't a favorite topic on the Sunday shows whether the influence of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, who opposes all meaningful spending cuts, will be broken in the Democratic Party. No one is outraged that the left is mustering a lobbying campaign to keep President Barack Obama from giving anything on entitlements in the talks over the fiscal cliff.
But whenever a Republican says he won't abide by Grover's pledge, the media act like a choir of angels celebrating another saved soul. So far, it's only the usual suspects in the party, although House Speaker John Boehner has signaled a willingness to raise more revenue if the president will cut entitlement spending. What makes this time different than prior budget showdowns is that Republicans can remain technically compliant with the pledge by doing nothing, and taxes would still go up on everyone automatically at the end of the year.
A deal, then, could make sense, depending on the parameters. As the cliff approaches, all the pressure within Washington and within the media will be for Republicans simply to cave to the president. Grover will make it as painful as possible for them to do it, and should wear the resulting elite obloquy as a badge of honor.
(c) 2012 by King Features Syndicate
I hate dog movies. In dog movies, the good, loyal, lovable dog always dies at the end and I end up sitting there in the dark with big tears streaming down my cheeks.
May 21, 2013
Mr. President, the buck stops with you.
President Truman set that standard, with these very words posted on a sign on his Oval Office desk.
But now, with over a thousand days left in this second Obama administration, we find a Nixonian stench emerging from the “W. House.”
Rarely has the White House briefing room so resembled the main ballroom at a meeting of the Conservative Political Action Conference.
I’ve not kept it a secret that I find people who dress their dogs in clothes to be, to put it nicely, somewhat more than just eccentric. And many friendly, helpful readers out there have not kept it a secret that they really wish I would not express my views about dogs dressed as humans.
May 17, 2013
Distrust of government secrecy has been elevated to an exceptional level with the disclosure the Justice Department covertly examined two months of Associated Press phone records to determine who leaked details to the AP about a foiled terrorist plot.
The federal government recently announced new regulations for buying fast food.
It sounds like the plot from a dystopian libertarian novel. The word “patriot” and the phrase “educating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights” triggered heightened scrutiny from the most intrusive agency in the federal government.
The action at the bird feeder has been spectacular lately: Cardinals, finches, songbirds in impressive variety crowding around all day long in search of sustenance. It is truly gratifying …
For my neighbor.
That’s what it’s like at his feeder.
May 14, 2013
On April 27, Dr. Jeff Butts demonstrated a rare form of servant leadership as he participated in the Go Love Indy westside service project.
May 13, 2013
Everyone presumes that Sen. Chuck Schumer, the media-hungry Democrat from New York, wants to be the next Senate majority leader. His performance in the negotiations over the Gang of Eight immigration plan should bolster his case for an eventual promotion.
An NPR broadcast examines the question of how communities can better prepare for tornadoes like the one that struck Moore, Okla. on Monday. The broadcast features commentary from Michael Fitzgerald, who reported a five-part disaster series for the CNHI News Service.
May 22, 2013
Part I: Are We Prepared? | Part II: Disaster Dollars Part III: Lessons Learned | Part IV: Warning Signs Part V: The Big One
When J.J. Abrams took over the "Star Trek" franchise in 2009, he boldly went where the series hadn't gone before — romantically — pairing Uhura with Spock. Many fans disliked the change. Some loved it. Others didn't care, because they just wanted to see Kirk and Spock make out.
© 2013 Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc. ·
CNHI Classified Advertising Network ·
CNHI News Service
Associated Press content © 2013. All rights reserved. AP content may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Our site is powered by Zope. Some parts of our site may require
you to download the Flash Player Plugin.
Terms and Conditions
Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN
8109 Kingston St., Suite 500