Grover Norquist will not be pleased by this

Illinois Congressman Timothy Johnson Forgot That He Signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, Then Remembered and Says It’s No Big Deal, Doesn’t Apply to Him

After Congressman Timothy Johnson (R-IL) called Grover Norquist's Taxpayer Protection Pledge “disingenuous and irresponsible,” and claimed he "never signed anything," when told he was, in fact, a signor, someone from ATR got on the case:  Americans for Tax Reform provided Roll Call with a copy of Johnson’s signature on the tax pledge from 2002. On Feb. […]

Steel Cage Death Tax Match: David Cay Johnston vs. Grover Norquist

Yesterday we called attention to the 60 Minutes interview of tax hatchetman Grover Norquist. Norquist haters nationwide were no doubt gritting their teeth while GGN yukked it up with Steve Kroft and spread the gospel of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge (aka “THE PLEDGE”). This may have inspired today’s column by the Godfather of Tax Journalists, David Cay Johnston. It explains first, how the utter failure of the Congressional Supercommittee actually will result in tax increases:

[B]arring a mad scramble to pass new laws in the next six weeks, workers will pay around $110 billion more in payroll taxes next year and they will not get a $55 billion tax cut proposed two months ago by President Barack Obama. Absent another last-minute fix, more than 22 million families will be required to pay higher income taxes due to the Alternative Minimum Tax, some only because a parent or child has cancer or some other costly medical need.

DCJ is of the opinion that these tax increases would violate THE PLEDGE and thus, should put every signer of THE PLEDGE directly in the tax assassin’s crosshairs. In short, THE PLEDGE is bullshit, says DCJ and its signers should really thinking about another pledge they took and act accordingly:

Pledge signers cannot serve two masters, Norquist and the Constitution. Politicians who do not renounce their pledge of allegiance to Norquist do not deserve to hold office as it prevents them from doing whatever is in the country’s best interests.

You have a choice to make, GOP lawmakers. This plea comes from another bearded man, so it should be taken just as serious.

GOP inaction means higher taxes [DCJ/Reuters]

Senator Tom Coburn Explains What Tax Expenditures Are and What They Are Not

Earlier, we shared with you the thoughts of Americans for Tax Reform on Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn’s rock-inspired “Back in Black” deficit reduction plan. Despite a silver lining that will allow whiny rich liberals to pay more taxes if they so choose, ATR wasn’t impressed, calling it a “Trillion Dollar Tax Hike.”

This is partly because Senator Coburn proposes the elimination of many tax expenditures. Of course, if you’re confused about what exactly a “tax expenditure” is, Senator Coburn took the time to explain it to everyone:

Tax expenditures are not tax cuts,” he said. “Tax expenditures are socialism and corporate welfare. Tax expenditures are increases on anyone who does not receive the benefit or can’t hire a lobbyist or special interest group to manipulate the code to their favor.”

It doesn’t appear that ATR has weighed in on this yet (and they are fond of quoting Coburn) but we don’t mind waiting.

House pursues balanced-budget bill; need for backup plan acknowledged [WaPo via TaxVox]
Earlier:
Did the Georgia Tea Party Call Grover Norquist a Socialist?

Deloitte Tax Expert Makes Statement That He’s Likely to Regret

“If there are Republicans who break with Grover Norquist’s position, I think that’s an important thing,” said Clint Stretch, managing principal of tax policy at Deloitte Tax LLP in Washington.

“I think it signals a willingness on their part to have the fight with him over whether every tax expenditure is a legitimate reduction in effective tax rate, or whether there are some that should be regarded the way they regard spending programs.” [Bloomberg, Earlier, Earlier]

Democrats Ask Republicans to Blow Off Grover Norquist

Top Republican lawmakers have said that increasing revenues was the one approach off the table when it comes to deficit reduction. But Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and 108 other House Democrats, in a letter dated Monday, said that position jeopardized the chances for a bipartisan agreement.

“Revenues must be a component of addressing our deficit and debt problems,” the Democrats wrote to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). “Solving our fiscal problems with spending cuts alone would be devastating to our economy, to the middle class, and to vulnerable populations like seniors and low-income families.” [The Hill]

Dumb: Michigan Representative Introduces Legislation That Would Force Prisoners to Pay Sales Tax

Today in awful tax policy proposals, Michigan Represenative Anthony Forlini (R) has introduced legislation that would force prisoners to pay sales tax on goods they buy inside the joint. Rep. Forlini says the proposal “is common sense,” and he can’t imagine why any average Joe would think differently, “The average person […] cannot believe that they are paying sales taxes for schools and local municipalities, yet the inmates are not contributing to this. We’re losing about a million dollars a year because of the law. It doesn’t make any sense to me, and I don’t think it makes any sense to the taxpayers out there either.”


SOMEHOW it doesn’t make sense to David Brunori:

So if you are doing 25 to life in Jackson (which I think is the state penitentiary) and you buy some toothpaste from the commissary you would pay the sales tax. I have questions for Rep. Forlini. What the heck motivated you to propose this legislation? Are there not more pressing issues facing the state of Michigan? Are you motivated by sound tax policy? Are you just mad because bad guys are buying stuff tax free when you have to pay sales tax?

Honestly, Michigan. Have your CPA governor bitch slap this guy.

State Rep. Anthony Forlini: Make inmates pay Michigan sales tax [MLive via David Frunori]

Tom Coburn: The Gang of Six’s Abysmal Failure Is Not The Gang of Six’s Fault

I understand the disappointment, and real danger, associated with our impasse. The question, though, is not how we tried and failed but why the Senate has not even tried. Commissions and “gangs” form when members lose confidence in the institutions in which they serve. Working groups have their place — but they should support, not replace, the open work of the full Senate. The truth is that we already have a permanent standing debt commission. It’s called Congress. [WaPo]

Paul Ryan Is No Ronald Reagan

Charles Krauthammer […] writes that the “most scurrilous” criticism of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s fiscal plan is that it would cut taxes for the rich. This would, he says, be akin to making the same claim against the Ronald Reagan-Bill Bradley 1986 tax reform. Krauthammer goes on to assert that Ryan’s plan is “classic tax reform” that … broadens the base by eliminating loopholes. The facts are otherwise. The Ryan plan, at least what we know of it, would inarguably cut taxes for the rich. It in no way resembles the 1980s tax reforms of either President Reagan or Senator Bill Bradley and Representative Dick Gephardt. And it most assuredly fails to eliminate loopholes. [TaxVox, WaPo]