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Grover Norquist
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham echoes the noise coming from a lot of congressional Republicans about violating Grover Norquist's anti-tax pledge:
I want to buy down debt and cut rates to create jobs, but I will violate the pledge, long story short, for the good of the country, only if Democrats will do entitlement reform.
Statements like that by Graham and others are creating a lot of headlines and cable news chatter about how Republicans have suddenly gone soft on their tax absolutism, but at least so far, it's nothing but hot air. Graham is a perfect example. Not only is he conditioning his so-called willingness to violate the pledge on cuts to programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, he's also making it clear that he's not actually willing to raise tax rates.
I agree with Grover, we shouldn't raise rates. But, I think Grover is wrong when it comes to [saying] we can't cap deductions and buy down debt.
Capping deductions is an interesting idea, but if your goal is to raise tax revenue, then the way to do it is to raise taxes. And with the expiration of the Bush tax cuts coming up in just over one month, Republicans don't even need to vote to raise taxes—they'll go away automatically. In fact, because they wouldn't be voting for a tax increase, they wouldn't even be violating the Norquist pledge.

Instead of blowing more smoke about raising tax revenue without raising tax rates, what Republicans should do is pass the Senate's legislation extending middle-class tax cuts. That would prevent any short-term fallout from going over the fiscal cliff, buying time to address both spending and tax reform during the next Congress. If they don't follow that path, then everything they're saying now is nothing more than attempt to position themselves to shirk blame when taxes go up on January 1. But they won't be successful in avoiding blame, because if taxes do go up on income less than $250,000, there's only one reason why: Republicans decided to hold it hostage. And no amount of spin can change that simple fact.

Originally posted to The Jed Report on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 07:21 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  At this point I hope they stick with Grover (7+ / 0-)

    If we have to slash Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in exchange for getting a few paltry tax increases that will be reversed as soon as Republicans get control again, it will be a very Bad Bargain, IMO.

    "The smartest man in the room is not always right." -Richard Holbrooke

    by Demi Moaned on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 07:26:58 AM PST

  •  Carrying a little stick seems to be a lot of (8+ / 0-)

    their issues all rolled up into one.  Rage won't change DNA...

    Obama in 2012: Because There Might Not Be Much Left by 2016

    by funluvn1 on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 07:27:10 AM PST

  •  Lindsey Graham agrees with Grover. (6+ / 0-)

    That says it all plus he's a twit. Way to negotiate Lindsey.

    In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God ~RFK

    by vcmvo2 on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 07:27:14 AM PST

  •  This is all designed to pivot on the debt ceiling. (10+ / 0-)

    The nutcase fringe is allowing the TV republicans to go on and bloviate about whatever they want.

    I don't think they care as much about tax rates as they do about destroying the safety net.

    They can always go back and pass another tax cut.

  •  There's no reason to compromise with these people. (8+ / 0-)

    They've gotten 99.9% of what they've wanted for decades and the ruination of the American economy started under Bush has been the result.  It is simply time to present them with the bill.

    "They fear this man. They know he will see farther than they, and he will bind them with ancient logics." -The stoner guy in The Cabin in the Woods

    by Troubadour on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 07:46:54 AM PST

    •  Every time one of them "stands up to Grover" (7+ / 0-)

      their announcement contains one or more caveats creating wiggle room in their renunciation of the pledge they signed.  For instance Lindsey Graham's announcement stated that he was willing to raise revenues "if entitlements were cut."  That's no different than what Republicans were saying during Romney's campaign.  

      Brooklynbadboy is absolutely right - they're after the safety net  - what they call "entitlement" programs - first and foremost.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 07:55:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  never, ever trust a poopyhead. (4+ / 0-)

    'Well-behaved women seldom make history” Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

    by dear occupant on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 07:49:03 AM PST

  •  The compromise should be to do both (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    misterwade

    End the Bush tax cuts on income north of 250K and cap deductions at the level that it won't touch families of modest incomes.

    ....no longer in SF.... -9.00, -7.38

    by TFinSF on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 07:50:35 AM PST

    •  Why 250k? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TFinSF

      Personally, I think 150k-ers can afford to hoard a bit less.

      And I would like to see a tiny (truly tiny) tax on financial transactions.  

      And I would like to see a tiny tax on wealth.  

      And I would like to see a tiny tax on unearned (=investment, what used to be called usury) income.

      Get it all in there.  Put it all on the table.  This isn't punishment for the idle rich, it is simply recognition that their wealth is produced by the work of other people.

  •  exactly (0+ / 0-)

    They still see Dems as takers and once they starve our party they can have the whole place to themselves.
    Fuck them Obama won big and they have no say in how things should go.
    What we should agree on is that the Rich, Corportations and churchs pay their own way now. Get ride of Tax expendatures and lets see how the economy does then

    I think Jesus meant christian as a verb not a noun

    by rageagnstmach on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 07:50:56 AM PST

  •  Those that are "breaking the pledge" should (2+ / 0-)

    be held in contempt for even signing a pledge to someone other than the America they supposedly "love".

    They are only pandering now because they want the attention of the media, which they are getting, how many of those that are in the limelight are up for re-election in 2014?  This is just a ploy to look good so that they can continue to live the high life on the entitlements that come with elected office.

    They are truly despicable and should be be made to pay for the damage they have already done to the American poor, hungry, sick and unemployed by loosing their positions come 2014. Hopefully the voters won't be fooled by this dressing in new clothes now.

    •  Republican posturing on "the pledge" (3+ / 0-)

      will come to an end as soon as they  have to vote on a fiscal bill.  They'll either vote in favor of raising tax rates or they won't.  At that time they can explain both their posturing and their vote to their constituents.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:07:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  There is a very simple point missing (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    misterwade, DSPS owl, conniptionfit

    in the MSM "coverage" of this.

    Everyone who voted for the TEMPORARY Bush Tax Cuts voted for a tax INCREASE they day they voted for the TEMPORARY cuts.

    We need to think about why the cuts were sunset at 10 years in the first place. That is where the real story is but it is being ignored.

  •  That this is even a story at all is a shining (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    misterwade, rhauenstein

    example of Our Failed Media Experiment.

    Rich people reporting on richer people telling the rest of us what must be done to fix the mess that the richer people caused. Oh......... and it's not their fault, it's the fault of all those old folks and poor folks and Medicaid recipients that work at Walmart.

  •  they're just giving the president (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    conniptionfit

    a little political cover. This is helping to convince the Democratic base that the Republicans are receptive to a deal. Thereby lowering Democratic resistance to the prospect of a Grand Bargain which slashes SS/Medicare and speeding the process along.

    Of course, the final bill will contain no concessions to the Democrats; there won't be tax increases (or if there are, they will be absolutely minuscule). Obama will still accept it as a wonderful compromise and chide anyone who objects to it, and then sign it into law.

    He will then return the favor and provide political cover for them; the GOP base will blame Obama rather than their own Congressional representatives for the cuts.

    This is an event that's been in the works since long before Obama was elected president. The climax and the very consummation of a nearly thirty-year-old effort to destroy the social safety net, the last vestiges of the New Deal. Reagan completed the first act, and Obama will preside over the last act. Our president will join hands with his long-dead predecessor, transcending death itself in an act of bipartisanship to end all acts of bipartisanship.

    The Reagan Revolution's not dead, my friends. It's only now just coming into its own.

    "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

    by limpidglass on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:05:21 AM PST

    •  I fear that your prediction is more prescient (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      conniptionfit

      than most. Even on this site, last night, many were commenting "it's called compromise," "you have to give to get," etc.  What bullshit! This whole cliff thing is 100% contrived, and we have no reason at all to even begin negotiating until after the Bush cuts expire. And then we could do if from a position of strength.  It is just plain stupid to start bargaining now. Period.

  •  Grover just vowed revenge (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RustyBrown

    http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/...

    I guess we will find out who is the slave and who is the master soon enough.

    "Work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed." -- Vaclav Havel

    by greendem on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:05:28 AM PST

  •  Let them all expire, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    misterwade, conniptionfit

    the increase in taxes for those under $250K is not huge and the benefit to the economy is pretty spectacular. And that better economy should bring better conditions, making up for the minimal impact of the tax cuts going away.
    Rather than fighting on GOP ground, on the edge of their "cliff", we should be working on a "Second Stimulus". The first one was too small by half and yet it worked better than imaginable, it halted the slide into the abyss and started the jobs numbers back into an upward trend that has continued to this day. After Jan 1, the entire fiscal landscape will be different, MUCH more revenue plus an across the board cut including Pentagon budget! At that point Obama and the Congressional Dems need to really push for Stimulative Spending.
    Bunnygirl60 put up a diary over the weekend that should get a lot more notice than it has:
    http://www.dailykos.com/...
    It's dense reading for those of us who are not economists, but it explains the actual mechanics of deficits and what to do about them.
    And the first thing is Don't Panic.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:07:02 AM PST

    •  exactly! We need a new stimulus. (0+ / 0-)

      The republican/ media story was that the stimulus failed.  Well, it didn't!  It stopped the slide, now it's time for the BOOST!
      The only way to fix the deficit is through higher employment- ans, ps., we can fix it faster with living wage jobs.

  •  who the fuck is this "grover"? (6+ / 0-)

    seriously, an entire political party in thrall to a...lobbyist?

    where is the absolute outrage that should apply here? people act like this is not only normal, but a good thing! these fucking politicians are elected to serve the people of the united states and defend the constitution, not pledge fealty to a cult-leader!

    I've already forgotten who the Republican candidate was in 2012

    by memofromturner on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:07:12 AM PST

  •  Why Grover never ran for office if he is that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ohiodem1, Hanging Up My Tusks

    powerful? GOPers are scared of a Charlatan who is as smart as a 6 years old.

    "Rick Perry talks a lot and he's not very bright. And that's a combination I like in Republicans." --- James Carville

    by LaurenMonica on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:09:43 AM PST

    •  he is far more powerful outside public office (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hanging Up My Tusks

      than in it.

      He doesn't have to worry about pleasing the voters every few years. He can focus solely on advancing his agenda.

      No, I don't think he'd trade his current position for any elected office, not the even the presidency.

      You only get to be president for eight years. Norquist has been the supreme leader of the anti-tax movement for nearly thirty years now. Four or five generations of Republican politicians have been forced to kneel at his feet. Now that's power!

      "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

      by limpidglass on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:13:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I fear a bait and switch. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    misterwade, DSPS owl, conniptionfit

    The best of today's GOP have less honor than a used car dealership tottering on the brink of bankruptcy. Their "brave step" away from Grover is little more than window dressing. Once the real negotiations begin, watch them dig in their heels during the meetings, and the instant they are over, blame to Democrats for being inflexible. While they give in not one bloody inch.

    Given the utter lack of shame displayed by the GO Pee party, especially during this last election, I can trust them as far as I can toss oxy-demented, drunken Rush Limbaugh using only my right little finger, (which happens to be in a temporary splint).

    Until they say, "WE WILL TAX DIVIDENDS AT THE SAME RATE" or "THE RICH MUST PAY PROGRESSIVE RATES AT 55%" they are simply distracting the great unwashed, and playing with preconceptions, memes, and PR window dressing, not reality.

    What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

    by agnostic on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:13:01 AM PST

  •  Holiday Gift Surprise (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    limpidglass, misterwade, DSPS owl

    My guess is that something will be rushed through at the last minute, on whatever day that the spin doctors of DC believe the public will be most distracted by the Christmas holiday.  It will be loaded with gifts for big corporations and the 1% and the middle class and workers will be cheated.  The big fight about tax rates will just be cover for all the dirty little favors on the back pages.  When it's over the rich will confidently get richer, while they wonder why their customers, clients and patients are staying home and not spending money.

    If anyone has to be watched, its the Democrats in Congress who largely and with a few notable exceptions want to sell out and not get caught at it.  We always know what the Republicans want.  The only meaningful question in DC is do the Democrats have the guts to stop them and get something better.  They would rather not since that keeps all the money flowing.

    William Hamilton practices Law and is a writer and community activist in the Charleston, SC area. He can reached through www.wjhamilton.com

    by wjhamilton29464 on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:18:37 AM PST

  •  All this TV time is just the PR war (0+ / 0-)

    at this point - and just "talk".

    Not even worth listening to until the votes are cast - and they explain actions instead of talking points.

    If not us ... who? If not here ... where? If not now ... when?

    by RUNDOWN on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:23:44 AM PST

  •  Why can't we get a response from Grover (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shoeless

    from Sesame Street? N/T

    "Jeder nach seinen Fähigkeiten, jedem nach seinen Bedürfnissen!" oder "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need"

    by drpmeade on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:35:01 AM PST

  •  Why are they still afraid of this twerp? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shoeless

    He can't primary "everyone", and I think we've already seen with this election that money can only buy you so much (though, admittedly it is more effective the more local the election). All Norquist can do is throw  money at a pledge-violater in the primary. That's it.

    And this can backfire on him as well.. the more Norquist makes a stink, the more he'll be called-on to speak about his agenda. And as we've seen, the guy has the personality of an arrogant fart. Please, make him the face of the Republican party!

    Freedom isn't free. So quit whining and pay your taxes.

    by walk2live on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:36:40 AM PST

  •  Cap deductions after letting Bush cuts expire (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eikyu Saha, shoeless

    We need the +250K Bush cuts to expire first, and then start negotiating.  From a position of strength.  No need to play all nicey-nice and start giving shit away, or even saying that you might consider giving shit away, at this point.  

  •  .... and WTF exactly does entitlement "reform" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shoeless, DSPS owl

    look like. Taxes have been slashed over the decades, we just want to move that back to normal.

    The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy;the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness

    by CTMET on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 09:18:43 AM PST

  •  It's so strange that the Republican party is (0+ / 0-)

    controlled by people who have never even run for public office.

    When someone tells you they are lying, you should believe them.

    by shoeless on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 09:28:22 AM PST

  •  Republican's claims of independence are (0+ / 0-)

    at best lies. Go into the negotiations and up the ante and then leave when the dither about. All we are hearing at this point is another version of bluff, bluster and bullshit that comes in a new shiny bag.
    I'll start to believe what they say when one of them actually does slap the shit out of Grover in public, calls him a hateful asshat, slaps him some more, and then holds a press conference to say that no he/she is not sorry, and  that yes that bastard had it coming, and that he/she would gleefully do the same again, and the Grover's pledge was going to be the first thing he/she will use the next trip to the bathroom was needed.
    Then and only then, will I believe a republican's claims that he or she has parted ways with Grover and company.

  •  Shorter Miss Lindsey: (0+ / 0-)

    I will do what's good for the country only if you let me bend over seniors and give them the rogering of their lives.

  •  A little schtick (0+ / 0-)

    is what you may have meant.  But that's all we ever hear from That Party these days.

  •  "Fraud" "Waste" and "Loopholes" are code words (0+ / 0-)

    Anytime you see a pol saying they're going to restore fiscal responsibility by cutting fraud and waste and closing loopholes, all they're saying is they're for cutting the other guy's / party's priorities.

    Real fraud would be accommodated by strengthening the GAO and inspectors-general offices across every department of government (not weakening them, as is the current trend). Real waste reduction would be better accomplished by cleaning up bidding rules to restore low-cost instead of best-crony contract awarding, particularly in DoD, and would be best accomplished by insourcing many federal jobs now more wastefully done by contractors under the "downsizing" of government. And "Loopholes" like, oh, say, restoring the estate tax, or extending the alternative minimum tax to capital income, or even just taking capital income at the same rate as salaried income, are never the ones they want to close.

    Some people are intolerant, and I CAN'T STAND people like that. -- Tom Lehrer

    by TheCrank on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 10:41:59 AM PST

  •  Ah come on. Tax reform is JUST a come on, in ... (0+ / 0-)

    ... the hands of the GOP.

    John Boehner "couldn't deliver" his House Republicans on major parts of the Grand Bargain. He is not entitled to any credibility whatsoever that he can deliver his House GOP on tax reform. There will be so many defenders of today's credits, deductions, preferences, preferential treatments in rules and regs ... so much encrustation surrounding those things that they cannot effectively be changed. Moreover, you cannot know or reasonably predict the bottom line of (1) likely results, or (2) likely revenues produced.

    This is a Sleight of Hand. As in, "Keep the brackets linked as they are now ... and I promise you the House Ways and Means Committee and the Rules Committee and the House floor, led by me, will produce the comparable revenues to that which would be gained by increasing the top brackets."

    So, call their bluff. Delink the brackets now - maintain the rate cuts for the middle class and increase the rates on the wealthy brackets - and we commit that when we see in the fullness of your time what you produce, we will go along with adjusting the rates accordingly.

    After all, Mr. Boehner, trust works both ways. We won the election. This time, we have the high ground.

    2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House.

    by TRPChicago on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 11:32:30 AM PST

  •  "Capping Deductions" Is NOT An Interesting Idea (0+ / 0-)

    It's a shell-game scam designed to shift the burden onto the middle class (the taxpayers for whom the deductions make an appreciable difference in take-home income).

    On the Internet, nobody knows if you're a dog... but everybody knows if you're a jackass.

    by stevemb on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 12:41:38 PM PST

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