BY ADEYEMI OSHUNRINADE
Call him a hard-core fiscal conservative, a no tax hike GOP who wouldn’t budge in the midst of reality, when all polls and majority of Americans show support for taxing the wealthy more to prevent the fiscal cliff collapse. Grover Norquist, President of the Americans for Tax Reform, wants to keep the status quo and a pledge which Republicans in Congress signed not to raise taxes on anyone including wealthy Americans.
Despite calls from the GOP wing for Mr. Norquist to relax his hold on the somewhat archaic pledge, he continues to advance the no-tax policy and has said that GOP members who break away from the pledge must answer to their constituents. In his opinion, those Senators that signed the pledge promised their states to go to Washington and reform the government not to raise taxes, even though, many wealthy Americans including Warren Buffet have expressed their willingness to pay more in order to protect the economy from another recession.
As the nation gets closer to the end of the Bush era tax cut, failure to resolve the fiscal cliff issues, means automatic tax increase and deep across the-board spending cuts which would have adverse effect on majority of Americans especially the poor and Middle class. Since the outcome of the Presidential election that saw Obama reelected, some GOP members both in the House and Senate, have realized the only way to finding solutions to the looming crisis is by a bipartisan approach. With the reelection of Mr. Obama, it is clear America favors a tax hike on the wealthy and failure of the GOP to cooperate by getting a deal done with Democrats may have unwanted consequences for its members in the Mid-Term election.
More Republicans are now breaking away from the pledge they signed against any tax hike or additional tax revenue. Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, Rep. Peter King of New York and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina have all expressed their willingness to put the nation first by protecting the economy from collapse rather than, stand their grounds on a pledge that is inconsistent with the status and reality of today’s U.S. economy. Norquist still wants those committed to the pledge to remain loyal to their promise irrespective of the market reality. He claims that what the economy needs is growth not increase in taxes and as a result the pledge must be honored though, many of the nation’s economists have said averting the fiscal cliff would deliver the U.S. from unnecessary economic burst.
Other well known conservatives, who have criticized the Obama administration on big government, are also distancing themselves from the strict pledge Norquist is advocating. As the founder of the Conservative Americans for Tax Reform, Norquist supports shrinking the government by cutting spending instead of raising taxes through higher rates or reforms. But Senator John McCain of Arizona, a harsh critique of the Obama administration along with Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Bob Corker of Tennessee have all given comments on the fiscal issue that represents a different tone and approach to resolving the problem. While they did not want a tax hike on the wealthy, they favor a bipartisan solution that would help cut the chronic federal deficit and debt even if it means reneging on the Norquist pledge.
Analysts have linked the change of tone by some in the Republican base to the realization that the GOP would bear the consequences and carry the blame, if the fiscal cliff bubble is allowed to burst. While the President will not escape unscathed for failing to deliver on his campaign promise, the political damage to his base would be minimal compared to the huge loss the GOP would suffer at both local and national level. A failure to reach an agreement may erode the GOP’s popularity and increase public view of it as a party that favors the rich and privileged over middle class America.
What Norquist wants is impracticable in today’s U.S. economy. To lower the deficit the government must cut spending and raise funds wherever it sees fit. A Tax hike on the middle class or the poor is out of the question as it would reduce consumption and individual spending power in an economy that is still healing. The only option is to raise tax on those able to pay more and then work on deficit reduction, which is what the Obama administration is proposing.
To find a bipartisan solution, the GOP must violate the pledge for the good of the nation. Adhering to the Norquist doctrine in a dire economic situation is unconscionable. In fact, it is unwise for the GOP to be glued on a pledge that favors a few at the expense of the masses. The electorates spoke loudly on Election Day when President Obama was reelected. They did not only choose him for a second term, they accepted his economic and fiscal policy as sound for America or else, Romney would have been elected. The Norquist’ pledge is partisan politics and must be abandoned to get the nation moving.
Dr. Adeyemi Oshunrinade [E. JD] is the author of ‘Wills Law and Contests,’ ‘Constitutional Law-First Amendment,’ ‘Murder of Diplomacy’ and ‘SAVING LOVE’ a fiction. Follow on Twitter @san0670.