United States - Grover Norquist, Only in America!
Multiple articles each day now expend ink, paper, and computer screen space that discuss the U.S. 'fiscal cliff' and its possible ramifications, almost as if it is something new and different. There is nothing new and different about it. Simply put, if existing legislation isn't amended, that will give rise to U.S. tax increases and budget cuts.
From my perspective, the results of last Tuesday's U.S. election do not give rise to a clear path to a less polarized Washington.
Enter Grover Norquist, the Washington lobbyist who has succeeded in getting what was reported this morning in The World Can Not Afford A Second Fiscal Cliff After Europe's Failed Attempt as 238 U.S. Congressmen to sign a 'witnessed pledge' that he or she will:
"oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rate for individuals and business"; and,
"oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates".
I suspect the number of signatories to this 'Norquist witnessed pledge'
is different from 238 Congressmen today. Mr. Norquist's 'Americans for Tax Reform' website shows 279 'Incumbent Signers' and 286 'Challenger Signers', and as of this morning seems not to be updated for numbers of elected House and Senate members who have signed 'the Pledge' following last week's elections.
That said, the 'Grover Norquist factor' may play an important part in what have to be upcoming debates and negotiations over fiscal cliff issues. While one might say that:
a Grover Norquist 'politician signed pledge concept' could gain traction 'only in America'; and,
Mr. Norquist might succeed in bringing influence to bear on his 'pledge signatories' in the next few weeks
the issues at hand are far too important to be influenced by a single lobbyist.
That said, one can hardly fault Mr. Norquist for organizing what he has organized. The real issue is with those politicians, whether today elected or defeated, that signed such a 'witnessed pledge' in the first place.
You might also want to read Jeff Flake Promises Not To Sign Tax Pledge He Already Signed. That article reported weeks before last week's election that Jeff Flake (elected in Arizona last week to the Senate) said he had not and would not sign the Norquist no-tax pledge. Mr. Norquist's group says he has already signed. Think of the 'play on a name' fun Jon Stewart could have with that.
Topical References: The World Can Not Afford A Second Fiscal Cliff After Europe's Failed Attempt, from Business Insider, from The Telegraph, November 12, 2012 - reading time 4 minutes. Also read Jeff Flake Promises Not To Sign Tax Pledge He Already Signed, from The Huffington Post, Elise Foley, October 11, 2012 - reading time 2 minutes.