The Norquist Myth
By CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER Posted 11/25/2011 01:20 PM ET
Democrats are unanimous in charging that the debt-reduction supercommittee collapsed because Republicans refused to raise taxes. Apparently, Republicans are in the thrall of one Grover Norquist, the anti-tax campaigner, whom Sen. John Kerry called “the 13th member of this committee without being there.” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid helpfully suggested “maybe they should impeach Grover Norquist.”
With that, Norquist officially replaces the Koch brothers as the great malevolent manipulator that controls the republic by pulling unseen strings on behalf of the plutocracy.
Nice theory. Except for the following facts:
• Sen. Tom Coburn last year signed on to the Simpson-Bowles tax reform that would have increased tax revenues by $1 trillion over a decade.
• During the debt-ceiling talks, Speaker John Boehner agreed to an $800 billion revenue increase as part of a Grand Bargain.
• Supercommittee member Pat Toomey, a Club for Growth Republican, proposed increasing tax revenues by $300 billion as part of $1.2 trillion in debt reduction.
Leading, very conservative Republicans proposing tax increases. So why does the myth of the Norquist-controlled anti-tax monolith persist? You might suggest cynicism and perversity. Let me offer a more benign explanation: thickheadedness. Democrats simply can’t tell the difference between tax revenues and tax rates.