Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Grover Norquist: Americans for Tax Reform

Grover Norquist Hates All Taxes...and All Poor People

As a devoted conservative Republican since the days of Ronald Reagan, up until I completely disavowed the GOP and all their principals last year, I have earned the right to say this: The Republican leadership only cares about the interests of the wealthy and large corporations. They don't even give a damn about their own voting constituents. I, like countless other Republicans, have supported that political party for years like a brain-dead drone...voting against my own self-interests. My father was a Democrat, so if he were alive today he might be proud of me.

The Republicans have, for all my working life, enriched the banks, allowed the outsourcing of jobs, and permitted the busting of labor unions and depressing the average middle-class worker's wages. They killed the middle-class in this country and now, after the last mid-term elections, it's become crystal clear to anyone who is still breathing...especially after they held hostage unemployment benefits for extending tax cuts for the rich last December. For me, that was deplorable - and it was the final straw that broke the camel's back.

As soon as you go to Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform website, you are greeted with a picture of Paul Ryan, so I immediately knew whose taxes they were so concerned about "reforming", and it wasn't my taxes, or just on the rich and corporations, but ALL taxes. Americans for Tax Reform and its Center for Fiscal Accountability were joined by forty other groups in urging lawmakers to establish Anti-Appropriations Committees in both chambers of Congress. This group wants no government at all; now THAT'S radical!

(See American League of Voters)

The billionaire brothers who lead Koch Industries and Grover Norquist have said that their goal is to reduce government "to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in a bathtub". But the poor and working-class actually needs government, the wealthy don't - - - with the exception of maybe congressional whores, law enforcement, and firefighters...items that are aren't usually included in Republican budget cuts. Even the military "defense" budget is mentioned by the ATR, and that's usually untouchable to the GOP because of all the inter-connected corporate interests and the multi-billion dollar no-bid contracts, such as for Boeing.

Grover Norquist is best known as the founder of Americans for Tax Reform in 1985, which he did at the request of President Ronald Reagan. Norquist has been a life-long conservative Republican since he volunteered for the 1968 Nixon campaign. And like all super-ultra-conservatives, besides taxes, he is against ALL social programs...such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security - programs that everyone but the rich and large corporations want nor need.

Norquist came from a wealthy family and attended Harvard University, so coming from a background of privilege, it would be a stretch to see how he could be advocating for the average working man and woman. Like Paul Ryan, who also comes from a wealthy background, he too would like to see taxes on the rich reduced more at the expense of old and sick retired people who didn't inherit a lot of money through their families. Norquist and Ryan don't need programs like Social Security or Medicare when they're too old and sick and can no longer work, and will eventually retire.

Since 1986, Americans for Tax Reform has sponsored the "Taxpayer Protection Pledge", a written promise by legislators and candidates for office that commits them to oppose tax increases. There are two versions, one each at the national and state level.

It appears that it's mostly Republicans though that sign the "Taxpayer Protection Pledge" (because the GOP has always been about cutting spending on the needy so that the rich can keep more of what they have). To date 237 members of the U.S. House of Representatives signed the pledge. There are 242 Republicans and 193 Democrats in the house. To date 41 members of the U.S. Senate signed the pledge. There are 47 Republicans, 51 Democrats, and 2 Independents in the Senate.

"Read my lips: no new taxes" is a now-famous phrase spoken by then presidential candidate George H. W. Bush at the 1988 Republican National Convention as he accepted the nomination on August 18. Bush at first refused to sign the pledge, but in 1987 eventually acquiesced.

Early in his term, Bush faced the problem that we do today, what to do with leftover deficits spawned by the previous administration. The deficit had grown to three times its size since 1980. Bush was dedicated to curbing the deficit, believing that America could not continue to be a leader in the world without doing so. He began an effort to persuade the Democratic controlled Congress to act on the budget; and just like today, with Republicans believing that the best way was to cut government spending (on programs for the poor), and Democrats convinced that the only way would be to raise taxes (on the rich).

Newt Gingrich, while a member of the congressional negotiating committee, refused to endorse Bush's compromise on the tax issue. He then led over one hundred Republican House members in voting against the president's first budget proposal. This made Gingrich a hero to conservative Republicans (Gingrich now proposes not just lower corporate taxes, but NO capital gains taxes at all!)

Bush's broken promise was one of several important factors leading to Bush's defeat. In fact, mulit-millionaire conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh in his book "See I Told You So", believes that Bush would've easily won re-election had he not increased taxes to control the debt.

Working with eventual Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Norquist was one of the co-authors of the 1994 Republican Contract with America. Norquist's national strategy includes recruiting politicians at the state and local levels. Norquist has helped to set up regular meetings for conservatives in many states with the goal of creating a nationwide network of conservative activists that he can call upon to support conservative causes, such as tax cuts for the rich and big corporations and deregulation of banks and BIG businesses. We all saw how well that ended with the collapse of the housing bubble and stock market crash in 2008 (See "Inside Job: The Film that Cost Over $20 Trillion to make")

It was the Republicans who voted along party lines that gave us the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and deregulation of financial derivatives and the bank failures.

Norquist was instrumental in securing early support for George W. Bush. He campaigned for Bush in both 2000 and 2004. After Bush's first election, Norquist was a key figure involved in crafting Bush's tax cuts, which reduced corporate and capital gains taxes on the rich and BIG BUSINESS which caused our national deficit during the Bush years.

The stock market and housing market crashed long before Obama was elected or even took office on January 21, 2009. The Dow Jones Industrial Average went from a high of 14,000 on October 5, 2007 to 8,000 while George W. Bush was still President until Obama was sworn in. Then the Dow went to a low of 6,500 on March 9, 2009 and is back to 12,500 today. So we lost 6,000 on the Dow just before Bush left office and we gained 6,000 on the Dow since the March 2009 low under Obama.

Under George W. Bush from 2001 to 2008 America lost 2.5 million jobs just to China alone, while the GOP grew a $9 trillion national debt. Then Obama was left stuck paying for unemployment benefits for 10 million jobs that the Republicans killed while trying to keep the economy from falling off a cliff with "stimulus". But the Republicans want to blame Obama for this, the housing bubble, the unregulated banks, the stock market, the economy, and the deficit  - - - when everything points right back to the Republicans.

The only difference is, after the GOP enriched the few, they left the working-class out to dry during the Great Recession, while the Democrats at least tried to help them survive (i.e. UI benefits, food stamps, and Medicaid). A stinking Republican wouldn't even give you a slice of stale bread unless they were forced to by a congressional majority or were politically embarrassed into doing so. Now the GOP/Tea Party/Norquist are after Medicare and Social Security for the elderly, the sick, and the disabled...to cut spending on the poor but not raising taxes on the rich.

In 2004, Norquist helped California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger with his plan to privatize the CalPERS system, the California Public Employees' Retirement System. As of December 2008, CalPERS managed the largest public pension fund in the United States with $179.2 billion in assets; however, that represented a 31% decrease (because of losses in the stock market crash due to Republican de-regulation of the banks while on George Bush's watch) from the peak value of its assets of $260.6 billion in October 2007 (this needs a lot more research).

The Huffington Post - Does the Norquist No-Tax Pledge Violate the Congressional Oath of Office? - Comment: "With virtually all Republicans in Congress pledging their allegiance to Grover Norquist and his Americans for Tax Reform organization on, they have hobbled themselves so that they cannot act to raise necessary revenue. Damn their constituents or their country, they have made a commitment that prevents them from adequately dealing realistically with the problems they have created with their tax cuts, designed to reduce the surplus that existed when George W. Bush came to office. They have no intention of doing the right thing for the country, they were elected to serve Grover. Mr. Norquist is de facto currently in charge of the economy. Senator Coburn has just made an attempt to stand up to Mr. Norquist. Senator Coburn wants to eliminate ethanol subsidies and Mr. Norquist considers this a tax increase. Unfortunate y, since Norquist controls the Republican s in Congress, he will probably win. Every Republican who signs Norquist pledge abdicated their ability to think independent y and to do what is right for the country the day they put their signature on the line. The sad thing is that Grover Norquist's ideas are horrible for the middle class and the poor. Progressive groups should begin advertising g campaigns to make Grover Norquist a household name and to make sure that the public understands the consequence s of the "Starve the Beast" philosophy. No student loans, no Social Security, and no Medicare. Mr. Norquist is really a subversive force in our country, committed to making the government ineffectual."

I think wealthy people like Grover Norquist, Paul Ryan, Rupert Murdoch, the Koch brothers, Republican Senators, and Glenn Beck, and all the House reps who signed the pledge for Americans for Tax Reform might claim they "oppose all tax increases as a matter of principle", but I suspect it's really just taxes on the rich and big corporations - those who don't want to pay for benefits for old and disabled people like myself.

The New York Times - Corporate Taxes Enter Debt Debate - Comment: "Perhaps the middle-class could form one giant Corporate Interest and set up a subsidiary with a mail box in Switzerland and thereby become exempt from paying taxes too. Sounds like that is how the game is played. And I suggest that this will save the middle-class as they are too big to fail...sound familiar?"

HuffPostHill - Comment: "Maybe if poor people could actually AFFORD a carrot, they might get more than just the stick."

Top 20 PAC Contributors to Republican Candidates 2009-2010 

The bankers topped the list again last year because, after all, it was the Republicans who de-regulated the banks for us. The Republicans voted along party lines for the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act to de-regulate the banks. The Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act is a joke; the bankers are less regulated and more all-powerful than ever, making record profits, paying huge bonuses (and less caplital gains taxes), and very little-to-no corporate taxes at all.
PAC Name  Total
American Bankers Assn * Top Ten Tax Evaders for 2010 $1,949,224
AT&T Inc $1,789,775
Every Republican is Crucial PAC $1,710,346
National Assn of Realtors $1,669,797
Honeywell International $1,658,000
National Beer Wholesalers Assn $1,543,500
National Auto Dealers Assn $1,372,400
National Assn of Home Builders $1,341,500
Freedom Project $1,309,050
Blue Cross/Blue Shield $1,276,999
Associated Builders & Contractors $1,176,500
Koch Industries $1,144,500
Boeing Co * Top Ten Tax Evaders for 2010   $1,041,000
Credit Union National Assn $1,014,945
United Parcel Service $1,009,203
Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu $972,500
Comcast Corp $965,000
Exxon Mobil * Top Ten Tax Evaders for 2010 $928,950
Lockheed Martin $907,250
PricewaterhouseCoopers $903,500

Top Ten Tax Evaders for 2010

1. Bank of America took $336 billion in bailouts in 2009, but in 2010, flush with $4.4 billion in profits, it paid no taxes. Even Forbes magazine asked, how is that possible? Probably thanks to their 115 offshore tax havens. 

2. Boeing just received $35 billion from our government to build 179 airborne tankers, but despite nearly $10 billion in profits from 2008 to 2010, it too paid no taxes, again thanks to foreign tax havens. 

3. Citicorp took $476 billion from the bailout and then made monster profits in 2010, yet it paid no taxes, thanks to 427 subsidiaries in tax havens like the Cayman Islands and Hong Kong. 

4. Exxon/Mobil, received huge oil subsidies from the government and earned $45 billion in 2009 but paid no taxes, again thanks to stashing profits in places like the Bahamas and Singapore. 

5. GE – $15 billion in profits last year, paid ZERO in taxes.

6. Google utilizes a technique that moves most of its income through Ireland and Netherlands to Bermuda, making its tax rate 2.3 percent. 

7. Mega Pharmaceuticals Merck earned $9 billion in profits and paid no taxes in 2010, while Pfizer (largest drug maker) owed $10 billion in taxes but found the necessary loopholes to pay no taxes, thanks to its offshore subsidiaries in places like Luxembourg and the Isle of Jersey. 

8. News Corporation, Rupert Murdoch’s media monolith that owns Fox News avoids paying American taxes through its 152 subsidiaries in tax havens from the British Virgin Islands to Hong Kong. 

9. Verizon, despite making $24.2 billion in pre-tax U.S. income, paid no taxes and actually claimed a federal refund of $1.3 billion for the last two years, again all thanks to those offshore subsidiaries. 

10. Wells Fargo, the fourth largest bank in the US, which took $107 billion in bailouts, wrote off all its losses by acquiring Wachovia, thus paying no taxes. Yet its CEO earned $5.6 million in cash for his salary and $13 million in stock.

"So where are our elected officials and loud mouth politicians on this topic? Pretty quiet, aren’t they?" See: How Corporations Get Away with It

It's quite obvious that political fund-raising, political action committees (PACs), political "think tanks", and corporate campaign contributions don't just influence elections, they buy them. Because the financial industry and major corporations spend literally billions of dollars in lobbying and campaign contributions, and fighting ANY kind of reform is nearly impossible.

According to the Gallup polls, today U.S. registered voters are evenly split about whether they would back President Barack Obama for re-election in 2012 (45%) or "the Republican Party's candidate" (45%). This is similar to the results for the same question when it was asked a year ago. Last December Obama "blinked" by not letting the Bush Tax Cuts expire, and thereby setting the table for more radical Republican budget cuts, like in Paul Ryan's "Path to Prosperity" (tax cuts for the rich and program cuts for the poor and working people - a budget Grover Norquist fully supports).

Grover Norquist describes himself as a "boring white bread Methodist", yet ironically he is married to a Muslim named Samah Alrayyes, a Kuwaiti who was formerly a director of the Islamic Free Market Institute and is pro-mosque on the Manhattan issue. David Horowitz (a fellow conservative) once accused Norquist of having connections with the Muslim Brotherhood. While although 3,000 Americans lost their lives to Islamic terrorists on 911, it's because of people like Grover Norquist and his conservative Republicans that millions of American lives were left in ruin. I fear the Republican leadership more than I do the terrorists, but they don't want me to pay attention to what the GOP is doing behind my back, but prefer to distract me with other fear-mongering tactics. But I believe it's the "conservative" Republicans that the average working Americans have the most to fear. It's been the Republicans, our our enemy within, who have been destroying the American Dream, not terrorists.

Washington, D.C.-based organizations that run ad campaigns that reinforce key policy objectives of corporations and the right-wing politicians they back in the U.S. such as the Center for Fiscal Accountability, the League of American Voters, the Americans for Tax Reform, and the Braynard Group are all one of the same. They use the word "American" a lot to describe themselves and to sound patriotic, but they aren't. They are all just about the redistribution of wealth from us (the patriotic Americans) to them, the greedy profiteers.

League of American Voters
722 12th Street, NW
Washington, District of Columbia 20005
website: www.leagueofamericanvoters.com
Created on: 23-Jul-09 Expires on: 23-Jul-12
Bob Adams info@usaleague.com

Americans for Tax Reform
website: www.atr.org
Created On:08-Sep-1995
Expiration Date:07-Sep-2011
Registrant Name: Thomas Baptiste
Registrant Street:1226 N Vernon St
Registrant City:Arlington
Registrant State/Province:VA
Registrant Postal Code:22201
Registrant Country:US
Registrant Phone:+1.5712687275
Registrant FAX:+1.2022801446
Registrant Email: thomas@braynard.com
Americans for Tax Reform
Admin Name:Chris Butler
Admin Street1:1920 L ST NW STE 200
Admin State/Province:DC
Admin Postal Code:20036-5036
Admin Country:US
Admin Phone:+1.2027850266
Admin FAX:+1.2027850261
Admin Email: cbutler@atr.org
Americans for Tax Reform
722 12th Street NW Suite 400
Washington, D.C. 20005
Office 202-785-0266
Fax 202-785-0261

Braynard Group
website: www.braynard.com
MATTHEW BRAYNARD (mbraynard@gmail.com )
Fax: 2024235333
Braynard Group, Inc.
1226 N Vernon Street
Arlington, VA 22201


  1. well done Bud; as a 'reformed' Republican myself it's nice to see the once brain-washed/dead springing to life and actually critically examining the many myths put forward by right wing voices...cheers! B

  2. Again, well done! I'm also a reformed Republican. I think we are a growing group. My father was Reagan's point man for the State of Utah during the 1970's. I changed my mind after the Healthcare Debate. Plus, I read Lou Cannon's book Role of A Lifetime. I feel like I've been snookered my whole life.