Grover Norquist

Grover Norquist Will Take Candy From Little Girls to Teach About Taxes

You're never too young to learn about taxes, I suppose. And if your dad is Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, you can bet dad is going to be taking his 25% from your Halloween candy just to help you learn:   Tonight as daughters accumulate candy I must provide life lesson on marginal […]

Grover Norquist Probably Didn’t Trip Balls at Burning Man But Plans to Return Anyway

"There's no mayor, no city council… If you leave people alone, they'll figure it out. You don't need the king to tell everybody what to do," said the man known for his no-tax pledge. But the question you might be asking yourself: What does Burning Man think of Norquist? There was certainly controversy surrounding the […]

Homer Simpson Shares Grover Norquist’s Anger Over George Bush’s Broken Taxpayer Protection Pledge

Our pal Tony Nitti has done us all a great service by compiling a Guide To Every Tax Reference In 'The Simpsons' Marathon. Should you take my advice and take some time off next week, you can catch a few hundred episodes.  In any case, Tony's post is a great read for Simpsons fans who […]

Grover Norquist Just Ruined Your Burning Man Plans

Let's be honest, you weren't planning to go anyway.   Its official. Samah and I are off to "Burning Man" this year. Scratch one from the Bucket List. — Grover Norquist (@GroverNorquist) July 28, 2014 The Internet has already reacted accordingly to this news. We have to wonder, why would Grover Norquist be drawn to […]

Grover Norquist Hopes Godzilla Can Teach Us About Living in Constant Fear

You will recall a recent Open Item that asked what if accountants could be replaced by software in the future? You might also recall one conspiracy-minded commenter who opined on the possibility of a mass electromagnetic pulse event that could wipe out every iPod and Excel tab in the world: Ready for a conspiracy theory? […]

Americans for Tax Reform’s Grover Norquist Finally Exposed as a Hipster

As if the beard and the "I hated taxes before it was cool" mantra wasn't proof enough, now we know for sure Grover is a big ole hipster: Do you even tax reform, bro?

The Key To Improving America’s Infrastructure is Kidnapping Grover Norquist

I mean really, that's going to be the only way to get anything done in Washington, obvs. From the Washington Examiner (yeah yeah, I know): Without more money to fix America’s roads, ports and airports, “our backs are against the wall,” said former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, the Democratic Party leader from 1999-2001. “What alternative […]

Grover Norquist May Have Had the Most Awkward Thanksgiving Ever

Some things should not be discussed at the Thanksgiving table. But I guess if you're related to Grover Norquist, what are you going to talk about? Thanksgiving dinner: Nana, mom, aunts telling chldbirth stories. 5 yr old says "so when the baby comes out Mommy's mouth…" Topic changed — Grover Norquist (@GroverNorquist) December 3, 2013

CREW Goes After Grover Norquist, Compares His ATR Works to Those of Al Capone

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington — or CREW, as they are lovingly and lazily known for those of us who love acronyms and hate organizations with long complicated names — has filed a complaint with the IRS and DoJ in the hopes they will investigate Americans for Tax Reform and, more specifically, its […]

Grover Norquist Hopes the Next Time Ted Cruz Wants to Troll the Entire Country, He’ll Run It Past Some People Who May or May Not Be Grover Norquist

Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, has ratcheted up his criticisms of Sen. Ted Cruz, calling the Texas tea party hero a poor political planner and demanding he apologize to fellow Republicans for his relentless push to defund Obamacare. Mr. Cruz’s filibuster and ongoing rhetoric about the need to topple Obamacare was a shaky […]

Grover Norquist Gives the All-clear on ‘Plan B’

Here's the official word from ATR: ATR has consistently maintained that individual Members of Congress make a pledge to their constituents to oppose and vote against tax increases.  The House this week will vote on a tax bill.  This legislation—popularly known as “Plan B”–permanently prevents a tax increase on families making less than $1 million […]

Chuck Schumer Has Been Waiting Out This Bad Marriage a While

As more and more Republican lawmakers say they are willing to break the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, Chuckles can't help but think that the time has come: “For three decades a right-wing lobbyist has exercised a stranglehold on Republican lawmakers,” Schumer said on the floor Tuesday. “Today one Republican after another have been rebuking this lobbyist. […]

Grover Norquist: No Matter What, Taxes Aren’t Going Up

GOP drum major Grover Norquist was interviewed by the Washington Post's Suzy Khimm and you'll be absolutely FLOORED to learn that they discussed taxes. Mostly, the discussion focused was on what would happen to various taxes after the election – what happens if Romney is elected, what happens if Obama is re-elected, what happens in […]

George and Barbara Bush Appear Confused About Who This Grover Norquist Fellow Is

Old people are great. Sure, their driving endangers the rest of us and they make funny noises but their endearing wit and wisdom is something that we should all appreciate. Yes, even "GET OFF MY LAWN" has a sliver of charm to it. George and Barbara Bush have gotten to the age where you might […]

Oddly, Chuck Schumer Didn’t Appreciate the Nazi Comparison

Last week, tax slayer Grover Norquist chimed in on the Ex-PATRIOT Act, legislation that was introduced by Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Bob Casey (D-PA). The Senators were concerned that ultra-rich dudes who no longer fancy American citizenship – namely Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin – were turning their backs on the USofA to avoid taxes. This […]

Grover Norquist Has a Cameo as a Wino in the Next Atlas Shrugged Movie

Considering the quality acting in the first Atlas Shrugged film, this scene with GGN will be a step up: Norquist, the president of Washington-based Americans for Tax Reform, first shot an office scene, handing a three-ring binder to heroine Dagny Taggart’s assistant. Easy enough, it sounds. Then producers suggested a second role. For a scene […]

And Here You Probably Thought Americans for Tax Reform Just Lobbied Against Taxes

The Hill reports that tax unfriend Grover Norquist and his merry band of scamps at Americans for Tax Reform spent over $300k lobbying in the first three months of year. That beats the same time period for last year by 82%. Pretty impressive work, but considering it's an election year, not surprising. What you might […]

Here’s a Video of Grover Norquist Getting Fastidious About His Beard, Juggling

We know a lot of things about Ronald Reagan soldier boy Grover Norquist. He doesn't care for colorful language. He's one of those bluetooth guys. He's willing to sacrifice all our grandmothers for the sake of keeping marginal tax rates low. But what about the real Grover you ask? You know, the guy who haunts […]

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. […]

Accounting News Roundup: The Frenzy at MF Global; Transocean’s Tax bill; NYC’s Sketchy Tax Preparers | 03.01.12

Fast, Furious at MF Global [WSJ]At 4:53 p.m. five days before MF Global Holdings Ltd. collapsed, an employee in its Chicago office asked a co-worker to move $165 million from one of the securities firm's bank accounts to another. "Approved," came the response one minute later, according to an email reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. […]

Any PR Firms Looking for a Challenge Should Contact the IRS

But just know what you're getting yourself into: “Advancing the interests of the North Korean leadership at the moment would be harder than the IRS,” suggested Matthew Harrington, chief executive officer of public relations powerhouse Edelman U.S. The U.S. prison in Guantanamo could prove a harder sell, said [Grover] Norquist. “It’s just a little less scary […]

Grover Norquist Has a Suggestion for Mitt Romney

Newt Gingrich nemesis Mitt Romney told Larry Kudlow last week that "phase two" of his tax plan was in the works but Godfather of Anti-Tax Policy Grover Norquist thinks he should save his energy. “The smart move is to say, ‘I’m with Paul Ryan,’” Norquist says. “Then it’s not ‘his plan,’ and [Romney] can simply […]

Grover Norquist Has a Solution to Warren Buffett’s Problem

RELATED: I'm starting to think that ol' Grover is purposely spelling the Oracle's surname incorrectly.  [@GroverNorquist, Earlier, Earlier]

Report: Grover Norquist Admits to Being Hot for Taxes

America's Finest News Source has the photos that led to a press conference earlier today. In three particularly salacious shots taken one night during last summer's debt-ceiling standoff, the powerful conservative lobbyist can clearly be seen smiling while doing his taxes in a chair, on top of his desk, and in the hallway against a […]

The Year in Taxes: Sleepwalking Through 2011

  In January, the tax world was still reeling from the extension of the Bush-era tax rate cuts signed into law in December.  It also allowed rich people who died in 2010 to go to their rest without paying estate taxes, making George Steinbrenner a happy ghost.  It also allowed living taxpayers to make tax-free […]

David Cay Johnston: President Obama Has Out-Norquisted Grover Norquist

Granddaddy of tax gazetteers, David Cay Johnston, is poking at Grover Norquist again, this time over the quagmire that the Republicans find themselves in over President Obama’s payroll tax cut proposal. The very proposal that could make Obama the biggest Grinch of 2011. Ruined holidays aside, DCJ points out that if the Republicans shoot this down, they do so at the behest of what seems to be a very popular idea:

[N]umerous opinion polls show overwhelming public support for continuing tax cuts for workers and for raising taxes on millionaires. That has left Republican leaders no choice but to silently cry uncle and agree to the president’s request to extend and possibly expand the payroll tax cut.

The reason that Republicans aren’t so hot on the payroll tax cut is that it’s “temporary.” They’d rather see “permanent” tax cuts enacted, although those “permanent” tax cuts are never “permanent.” The “permanent” Bush tax cuts, for example, had to be “extended” last year because they were about to “expire” which basically makes them “temporary.” The payroll tax cut was originally enacted last year with the Bush tax cuts but as Paul Ryan says, it’s supposed to be like a holiday, which is to say, “We lived through it and we’ll just move on with our lives and never to speak of it again.” DCJ writes that this means Obama has beat the Republicans at their own game:

Having outsmarted Norquist, Obama gets to run for a second term as the champion of at least a $100 billion tax cut. Obama can even say that if Republicans had had their way, working people’s taxes would have gone up while taxes on billionaires would have gone down. And he gets to tell small business owners that, but for Republicans, their taxes would have gone down too.

This is a marketing fiasco for Republicans to rival the Ford Edsel and New Coke. Already more than 40 congressional Republicans have taken steps to distance themselves from Norquist, who scowls at the mere mention of what could have been his, but is now Obama’s, very popular tax cut.

In other words: Whose shorties are snagged now?

Republicans paint themselves into a tax-cut corner [DCJ/Reuters]

Grover Norquist Thinks This Donald Trump Debate Is a Dynamite Idea

Perhaps you’ve heard that oafish hair transplant recipient Donald Trump is going to moderate a GOP debate. Shockingly, a number people aren’t taking this idea too seriously and for good reason! The man is rich. And busy. And important. Plus, he has young kids at home. You know how kids are. How could he possibly squeeze such an important event into his schedule? Seems impossible. Oh, and then there’s the part where he’s an egomaniac that pretended he was thinking about running for President while maintaining that the President was born on Mars or some damn place. That too.

But you know who thinks this whole Donald Debate is fabulous idea? Yep:

I am assured that Donald Trump will be a fair-minded moderator and joined by serious journalists. This contrasts with several debates that have already occurred which have been moderated by hostile members of the left wing media. I strongly urge all GOP candidates to attend this debate.

At this time we’ll presume that being MIA from the debate will not equate a violation of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge but Mittens is skipping this circus, GGN’s choice may be easy.

[via ATR]

Gingrich, Romney Currently Leading the Race to Be Grover Norquist’s Whipping Boy

Did I say “Grover Norquist”? Sorry, sorry. By that, I meant, “the American People.”


Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Hear that, Mittens? You need to do a re-write, or the the citizens of this great land will have you by the short and curlies. Get on it.

[via The Hill]

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]

Grover Norquist Denies Having Republican Congressional Members By Their Pubes

Republican Party HMFIC Grover Norquist was on 60 Minutes last night and Steve Kroft did his best to pull one over on him but as you might expect, GGN took all the questions like the K 12th Street gangsta that he is.


Lots of great moments to note. Some of my personal favorites:

1. Bob Dole’s face at ~1:30.

2. Newt Gingrich’s horrendous handwriting

3. Rat heads in the Coke bottle are quite a stunning image.

4. Two words: Grover, Babe

5. Let’s be real here: The President of Americans for Tax Reform doesn’t take the metro.

And Jesus, is Alan Simpson a grumpy old coot or what? Other observations are welcome at this time.

Grover Norquist Did His Best to Educate the Patriotic Millionaires on How to Pay Their Fair Share of Taxes

Not everyone agrees with tax hit man Grover Norquist’s ideas. While GGN would like nothing better than to see every federal and state levy banished to the darkness, there are a number of people who don’t share this view. A certain group of these people are from the more affluent corners of society and they’ve organized themselves as the “Patriotic Millionaires” in order to make the case that they are sick and tired of being able to afford competent CPAs to legally reduce their tax burden to an unfair amount. Grover, being the big softie that he is, realizes (not from personal experience, mind you) that the burden of not paying your fair of taxes is a heavy one. And because he’s upstanding patriot himself, he went to the Hill yesterday to meet with these troubled folks to help alleviate their pain:

“If you think the federal government can spend your money better than you can, then by all means” pay more in taxes than you owe, said Grover Norquist, of Americans for Tax Reform, a group that has gotten almost all congressional Republicans to pledge to vote against tax hikes. The IRS should have a little line on the form where people can donate money to the government, he suggested, “just like the tip line on a restaurant receipt.”

Tipping! Millionaires know how to do that, don’t they? I mean with all the servants and eating at fancy restaurants and whatnot, this should be an easy way for the wealthy to ease their low tax guilt. But despite all his suggestions and support, some did not receive the message all too well:

One of the millionaires suggested that if Norquist wanted low taxes and less government, “Renounce your American citizenship and move to Somalia where they don’t collect any tax.”

Well! If that’s the thanks Grover gets, don’t expect him to be so forthcoming with the advice next time.

With supercommittee silent, millionaires and others eagerly jump in with their own advice [WaPo]

Memo to Anyone Under the Impression That There Is Some Secret Backdoor Escape Hatch in the Taxpayer Protection Pledge That Says a Hike in the Capital Gains Tax Is Allowed: There Isn’t One

Because a whole slew of people out there seem to have severe memory loss and there are rumors that the not-so-Supercommittee is kicking around a hike in the capital gains tax, Americans for Tax Reform will go over this ONE. MORE. TIME.

The Congressional “Super Committee” is now in its final week of deliberations. Rumors are constantly swirling around Washington about what they are talking about. One rumor we have heard is that the Super Committee might consider hiking the capital gains tax rate paid by a wide range of investment partnerships, including partners and employees at private equity, venture capital and real estate firms. The Taxpayer Protection Pledge commits signers to “oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses.” This clearly precludes any hike in the capital gains tax rate.

Does Grover Norquist have to slap you people?

Any Capital Gains Rate Hike Violates Tax Pledge [ATR]

Please Watch Your Language Around Grover Norquist

For starters, “taxes” is an awful word, it pains him to have to utter it so often. Secondly, Rahm Emanuel could really use his mouth washed out with soap.


I’m sorry, have you met my libertarian friend Adrienne Gonzalez? She’d probably agree with you on several issues but you’d have to get comfortable with the colorful language.

[@GroverNorquist]

Speaker of the House John Boehner Isn’t Sure Why You Would Bring Up ‘Random Person’ Grover Norquist

And this after GGN said such nice things about the Speaker.

Thursday, when NBC News’ Luke Russert asked Boehner if Norquist makes a positive impact on the party, Boehner thought it over for five seconds, The Washington Post’s Felicia Sonmez reports, before responding, “Our focus here is on jobs. We’re doing everything I can to get our economy going, to get people back to work. It’s not often I’m asked about some random person.”

I’m not sure how a person could bounce back from such an outright snub but it appears the Godfather of Tax Policy is taking it in stride and standing by his man.

[via AtlanticWire]

Happy (Belated) Birthday Grover Norquist!

The Godfather of Tax Policy turned 55 yesterday and since I was traveling, I wasn’t able to send out the well wishes on the day of. Sorry, GGN.

Thankfully, there were plenty of people that weren’t so careless:


You’ve got to think that Grove was expecting something from the ATR scamps. He counts their bagel and coffee consumption, after all. No way they’re missing a birthday. Got any birthday wishes for my fellow Swedish influencer? Leave them below.

Grover Norquist: 9-9-9 Plan Is ‘Tapeworms in Your Tummy’

The ‘Godfather of Tax Policy’ explains his beef (pepperoni, sausage, meatball) with his fellow Godfather’s tax plan.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

[via ATR, Earlier]

Grover Norquist Needs His Hands Free When Enforcing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge

You know, in case he needs to shake the crap out of one of your tax-loving grandmothers.


Of course even political operatives aren’t immune to technological pitfalls:

[@DrTempitope via @GroverNorquist]

Grover Norquist Would Like to Take This Opportunity to Remember Steve Jobs

In the most offensive, self-serving way possible.


Jesus, Grover. You went after our grandmothers and we let it slide. But this. This is crossing the line.

[via @GroverNorquist]

Frank Wolf Has Grover Norquist’s Attention

Earlier we learned that Virginia Congressman Frank Wolf is completely creeped out by Tax Terminator Grover Norquist’s BSD status in the Republican Party.

It’s been bothering Mr. Wolf so much that his “conscience” compelled him to give a speech on the House floor today to remind everyone what kind of Grover company keeps (i.e. the “unsavory” kind).

And since Grover has Viking DNA coursing through his veins, you’d be a monkey’s uncle if you thought that he was going to let this shit slide:

Norquist branded Wolf’s speech a “hissy fit” and a “compilation of whack job criticisms.” He added that he thought the Virginia Republican, one of the relatively few GOP members of Congress to have not signed the tax pledge, was lashing out at him because he did not want to call out his Republican colleagues. “He is the only Republican arguing that tax increases are a good idea,” Norquist told The Hill. “What he has is a problem with the American people and the modern Reagan Republican Party.”

But hey, GN is old political cat; he knows how the game is played:

“[I]f he wants to chew on my ankles, I can take it.”

How’s that for a visual?

Norquist: GOP lawmaker’s criticism ‘beneath him’ [OTM/The Hill]

Grover Norquist Gives Congressman Frank Wolf the Heebie Jeebies

“My conscience has compelled me to come to the floor today to voice concerns I have with the influence Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, has on the political process in Washington,” Wolf read from a statement on the floor of the House of Representatives today. Wolf listed a series of associations that he said undermines Norquist’s credibility as a policy advocate. Among them, he cited a relationship Norquist had with former lobbyist and convicted felon Jack Abramoff. “Mister Abramoff essentially laundered money through ATR and Mister Norquist knew it,” Wolf said. [Bloomberg]

Who Are the Most Influential People in Accounting? (2011)

Accounting Today released its Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting (free registration required) late yesterday and it seems to be a tad more interesting than in years past. Sure, there are plenty of predictable names and faces in the list but any list that has Dave Albrecht, Paul Caron, and Grover Norquist is okay by me.

That said, it’s still in alphabetical order which may not appropriately present who the influenciest influencers are. I mean does sticking a man with a last name that starts with “N” and ends in “quist” somewhere in the middle of the pack (only a few spots in front of the POTUS) truly show how influential he is? It’s just a question.

ANYWAY, here are some notables that you’ll probably recognize:


Dave Albrecht – Associate Professor at Concordia College, The Summa
C.E. Andrews – President, RSM McGladrey
Paul Caron – TaxProf Blog
Stephen Chipman – CEO, Grant Thornton
James Doty – Chairman, PCAOB
Joe Echevarria – CEO, Deloitte
Michelle Golden – President, Golden Practices
Tom Hood – CEO, Executive Director Maryland Association of CPAs
Hans Hoogervorst – Chairman, IASB
Robert Moritz – Chairman and Senior Partner, PwC
Caleb Newquist – Founding Editor, Going Concern
Grover Norquist – President and Founder, Americans for Tax Reform
Barack Obama – President of the United States
Barry Salzberg – CEO, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu
Mary Schapiro – Chair, SEC
Doug Shulman – IRS Commissioner
Jim Turley – Global Chairman and CEO, Ernst & Young
John Veihmeyer – Chairman and CEO, KPMG
Jack Weisbaum – CEO, BDO

I cherry-picked this list obviously because it’s a bit of a pain to re-type all of them, so don’t hold that against me. Still how two Swedes and two Barrys got mashed together is kind of odd. And on a more personal note, I’d really feel awful if I was the one who took Dennis Nally’s spot. Go check out the full list and discuss at your leisure.

Top 100 Influential People in Accounting [AT]

Grover Norquist Has a Suggestion for President Obama Since He Insists on Giving His Jobs Speech (aka “Campaign Event”) at the U.S. Capitol

“People who use public facilities for private purposes pay an appropriate rental fee so that taxpayers are not subsidizing a private event. The Library of Congress and the Smithsonian museums regularly rent out space for private functions. Perhaps they could suggest to the President and his campaign a reasonable price for use of the U.S. Capitol and the House chamber as a backdrop for his upcoming political rally.” [ATR]

Don’t Think You Can Just Go Around Lying About the Taxpayer Protection Pledge and Not Expect Americans for Tax Reform to Have Their Feelings Hurt

A large portion of the populace probably thinks that Americans for Tax Reform president and co-founder Grover Norquist – and by extension, all of ATR – is an ideological, tax-hating, meanie. Sure, he tracks the bagels and coffee consumption at meetings and sure, he might let terrorists have their way with our grandmothers if the chips are down but that’s just holding true to his principles of austerity. Plus, he’s down with Elmo and gives the green light to cheeky blog posts, so you know he’s got a soft spot and a sense of humor.

So when someone says something mean about ATR or the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, it cuts. It cuts deep. And when someone running for public office has the audacity to lie about the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, that’s when things have simply crossed the line to the point of no return.

Case in point – Kate Marshall, who is running for Congress in Nevada’s 2nd District said the following about her opponent Mark Amodei:

“He signed a tax pledge which basically says no tax loopholes shall be left behind,” Marshall said. “He shall never turn down a subsidy, shall never close a loophole.”

Well, this little statement got a few knickers in a twist over at ATR and they pulled a quote from Factcheck.org to prove Marshall wrong:

ATR’s tax pledge does protect corporations in general — but only from an overall increase in taxes. It says nothing about jobs at all. More important, it does not rule out an overhaul of the tax code. Signers agree to oppose any “net” reduction of deductions or credits “unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.” […] That leaves ample room for elimination of any number of special tax breaks so long as the overall level of taxation is not increased. To claim that this “protects” any particular provision of the tax code is simply untrue.

So now, Grover and Co. would like Kate Marshall to apologize for this blatant disregard for the truth. This can be made in the form of a written apology, public statement, sending Grover a bouquet of flowers or – here’s a wild idea – how about SIGNING THE PLEDGE? That would probably smooth things over.

Kate Marshall Urged to Apologize for Lies About Taxpayer Protection Pledge [ATR]
Four special election candidates spar over taxes [LVS]

Grover Norquist Has a Sternly Worded Tweet for Warren Buffett

And just an FYI for GroverThe New York Times has a clarification for you (and many others).

Maybe the typo is GN thumbing his nose at O^3 but if the Times is calling out the entire Twitter universe, it’s conceivable that this is a common error that can even befall the most fastidious bagel counters.

[@GroverNorquist]

Americans For Tax Reform Back to Work After Bomb Scare

Safe to say that Elmo isn’t a suspect.

The staff of Americans For Tax Reform were briefly evacuated from their DC headquarters this morning as police responded to a bomb threat against the building. No explosives were found and the staff has returned to work.

The call came in around 9:10 Monday morning, according to a police spokesperson contacted by TPM. The officer could not say how long the staff was evacuated but said police had allowed them to return to work by the time we called at around 11:00 AM.

Also, no word if this is the Bizarro Grover at work.

Bomb Threat Briefly Evacuates Headquarters Of Grover Norquist Group [TPM via Gawker]

Do Muppets Share Grover Norquist’s Views on Tax Policy?

I won’t speak for all of Henson’s peeps [?] but judging by Grover’s reaction to Elmo, you’ve got to think that at least one Muppet is on board with the TP^2.

Conventional wisdom would lead you to believe that the other Grover would be on board with GGN simply based on name, but we won’t make any assumptions.

Letting the Bush Tax Cuts Expire May Not Be a Violation of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge But Grover Norquist Would Still Advise You Against That Course of Action

As you well know, signing Grover Norquist’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge is the equivalent to having your name written in the Fiscal-Conservative-Starve-the-Beast Book of Life. If you break tservative credentials will go up in a poof of red, white and blue smoke, you’ll be bludgeoned to death with a rolled up copy of the U.S. Constitution and hopefully Ronald Reagan will have mercy on your soul.

Lately though, partly due to this little debt ceiling debate, the Pledge has come under increased scrutiny and after the Senate approved a repeal of ethanol tax credits without a corresponding reduction in tax rates, some suggested that it is meaningless. Since this is obviously nonsense, Grover has gone on a PR offensive, in order to spell it for the RUBES out there so they can understand what constitutes a violation and what does not. Everything seemed to be back on the up and up until today, the Washington Post ran an editorial that may further muddy the waters:

Would allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire as scheduled in 2012 violate this vow? We posed this question to Grover Norquist, its author and enforcer, and his answer was both surprising and encouraging: No.

In other words, according to Mr. Norquist’s interpretation of the Americans for Tax Reform pledge, lawmakers have the technical leeway to bring in as much as $4 trillion in new tax revenue — the cost of extending President George W. Bush’s tax cuts for another decade — without being accused of breaking their promise. “Not continuing a tax cut is not technically a tax increase,” Mr. Norquist told us. So it doesn’t violate the pledge? “We wouldn’t hold it that way,” he said.

Naturally, some DOPES out there got all worked up as The Hill reports, “Democrats had jumped on that quote, suggesting it was a sign that Norquist was willing to be more reasonable on taxes than many congressional Republicans.”

As you can see, the words “Norquist,” “reasonable,” and “taxes” are in extremely close proximity which indicates that these “Democrats” are what I’d like to call “COMPLETE IDIOTS.” Problem is, whomever grabs the loudest megaphone first in DC usually gets dibs on what the dish is so Americans for Tax Reform has AGAIN clarified how this Pledge thing works:

ATR opposes all tax increases on the American people. Any failure to extend or make permanent the tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, in whole or in part, would clearly increase taxes on the American people. In addition, the failure to extend the AMT patch would increase taxes. The outlines of the plans are deliberately hazy, but it appears that both Obama’s Simpson-Bowles commission proposal and the Gang-of-Six proposal dramatically increase taxes on the American people.

It is a violation of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge to trade temporary tax reductions for permanent tax hikes.

In other words, if you let the “Bush Tax Cuts” expire that’s fine but you just be sure replace them with “Obama Tax Cuts” to ensure there’s no trouble.

Out from under the anti-tax pledge [WaPo]
Grover Norquist tries to clarify Bush tax cut remarks [The Hill]
ATR Statement on Washington Post Editorial [ATR]

Happy Birthday to Us! Going Concern Enters the Terrible Twos

Yes, today happens to be the blogoversary/birthday/whatever of this here fine publication. Back on this date in 2009, I woke up unusually late on a Monday only to discover that the site was live. I somehow was able to pull myself together and bang out a few posts sans pants without anyone – including David Lat – noticing that I was officially late for my first day of work (not the first time) day since then we’ve managed to come up with enough content to distract/keep you occupied throughout the week.

What have we learned in the past year? Let’s take a quick look back.

Well, for starters an email at PwC Ireland got a little out of hand. Adrienne’s lack of a CPA has come up a few times. Ernst & Young got sued over that Lehman Brothers thing. KPMG got sued for being a boys club. Lots of partners at Deloitte are unhappy. We learned that Rothstein Kass is officially the coolest accounting firm. BDO pays snitches in caffeinated beverages. And we gave lots and lots and lots of career advice. (Jesus, that Dear Abby must have wanted to keel over.) There was also de-pantsing by an accounting professor and now an accounting student. That doesn’t cover everything, obviously – Grover Norquist and Susan Coffey obsessions, Adrienne tells EVERYONE what they’re doing wrong on Twitter, DWB’s scotch-fueled advice, etc.

UPDATE:
I shamefully forgot this:

It’s all been pretty fun and we have you, dear readers, to thank. We really appreciate every single one of you. Especially you, John Veihmeyer. If you don’t email us, Tweet us, FB us, we don’t hear about these funny, disturbing and sometimes pathetic stories. KEEP IT UP. Thanks again for your support!

But now that we’re 2, where do we go from here? We’ve already managed to go from crawling to toddling, learned a bunch of naughty words (okay, we knew those) and quit drooling on ourselves. Basically, as Grover is fond of saying, ONWARD!

Cut, Cap and Balance Is Just More of the Same Glut, Crap and B&#$^*!

The plan approved by the House last night traded $2.4 trillion for both the Senate and House approving a balanced budget amendment, though I’m not quite sure how borrowing more money is going to help us get our financial house in order.

If I were a legislator, I’d suggest avoiding the “Let’s pay the Visa off with the Mastercard” tactic if at all possible but that’s just me.

David Brooks broke down the Republican theatrics into four categories: “Beltway Bandits,” the “Big Government Blowhards,” the “Show Horses,” and the “Permanent Campaigners.” FYI for Caleb’s knowledge, Grover Norquist was the one named as a Beltway Bandit, though in fairness to this town, anyone could be considered that.

“The Democratic offers were slippery, and President Obama didn’t put them in writing. But John Boehner, the House speaker, thought they were serious. The liberal activists thought they were alarmingly serious. I can tell you from my reporting that White House officials took them seriously,” Brooks wrote in the NYT.

“House Republicans are the only ones to put forward and pass a real plan that will create a better environment for private-sector job growth by stopping Washington from spending money it doesn’t have and preventing tax hikes on families and small businesses,” said John Boehner in a statement.

Really? So how is it that this includes an increase in the debt ceiling?

Meanwhile, this is what Ron Paul had to say in a statement:

I have never voted to raise the federal debt limit, and I have no doubt that we face financial collapse and ruin if we continue to grow our debt. We need to make major spending cuts now, in this budget, and we can no longer afford to allow more deficit spending based on promises of future cuts.

“The CCB act would add $2.4 trillion of new debt to our gargantuan $14.4 trillion debt. CCB would also only cut $111 billion from this year’s budget, allowing a deficit of nearly $1.5 trillion. This is far from the Pledge’s call for ‘substantial’ cuts. And, CCB locks us into current levels of overseas welfare, which will continue to endanger America’s security by forcing us to subsidize other wealthy nations.

See, that’s pretty much where I’m at with this. The debt trap is impossible to get out of, anyone who has gotten trapped in a pay day loan can tell you all about that.

That’s exactly where we are. That’s where we’ve been. And where we’ll continue to be unless we get the debt monkey off our back. I’m not as concerned about subsidizing China’s explosive growth as I am about compromising our national security by letting those assholes at the Fed run the show. We owe them more than we owe China.

So Norquist may be a tax troll and I’m fine with that but this Dog and Pony Debt Show has got to stop, it’s old and it’s not doing us any good.

Anyone got a better plan?

How Does Americans for Tax Reform Feel About Tom Coburn’s “Back in Black” Deficit Reduction Plan?

It’s no secret that Grover Norquist’s patience with Tom Coburn ran out long ago. This hasn’t stopped Coburn from throwing out his own deficit reduction plan – entitled “Back in Black” – in order to save us all from fighting over scraps in the street. Predictably, Americans for Tax Reform has responded in due course, only they’re calling it “A Trillion Dollar Tax Hike Plan.” Maybe that’s not as bad as it sounds? Let’s take a look at some highlights:

Okay, is this really a trillion dollar tax hike? Reports say that it will save $9 trillion.

There is no rate reduction whatsoever in this plan. It’s a set of tax hikes, plain and simple.

But clearly, taxes and tax reform are complicated. Any chance we can address that?

There is no tax reform in this plan. The plan would undermine prospects for long-term tax reform.

A 600-page proposal clearly doesn’t happen without some planning. Tom Coburn must have had a plan. What was it?

It’s now clear Senator Coburn’s plan all along was a trillion dollar tax hike. Senator Coburn pretended to care about ethanol (until he was forced to admit he supported the ethanol mandate, the cause of 98% of government-induced ethanol production). In reality, he wanted to lay the groundwork for GOP support of this trillion dollar tax hike plan.

Tom Coburn has a reputation for being a staunch conservative. Does he live up to that reputation?

The Coburn trillion dollar tax hike is far outside the mainstream of the conservative movement, as well as where Congressional Republicans are.

Is there anything good about Coburn’s proposal?

ATR has long called for a “tax me more” checkoff for limousine liberals who complain that their taxes aren’t high enough. Rather than hiking taxes on everyone, these rich liberals should be able to pay more voluntarily to assuage their left-wing guilt. The Coburn plan does have this, providing a silver lining to an otherwise cloudy forecast for taxpayers.

And you probably thought ATR couldn’t say anything nice about the plan.

Senator Tom Coburn Proposes Trillion Dollar Tax Hike Plan [ATR]

Who Is Bizarro Grover Norquist?

If you’ve been keeping up with things, you’ve noticed that Americans for Tax Reform founder and president Grover Norquist is everywhere. He’s like some sort of omnipresent Swedish tax assassin superhero (it helps having an active blog and Twittertter.com/#!/GroverNorquist”>accounts).

He’s getting Presidential candidates to sign his Taxpayer Protection Pledge; he’s preparing for inevitable destruction of our nation’s capital; he’s going on the Colbert Report to make grandmothers everywhere shake in their orthopedic shoes.

This PR assault has resulted in a flurry of blog posts from us (okay, just me) on GN’s wily ways, mostly because we admire said wiliness, political tenacity and overt sarcasm and sass. However, a question has now been asked by Joseph Thorndike that we had not previously considered Who is the anti-Grover Norquist? That is, who is the progressive stalwart on tax policy? Presumably someone who would argue that we need to always raise taxes in every instance possible and any time taxes are cut, a corresponding elimination of tax expenditures would occur. Okay, maybe I’m being a tad literal. Anyway, Thorndike gives it a shot:

During the NPR interview, I was asked if I could think of a left-leaning counterpart to Norquist. I was stumped. A bunch of people came to mind, notably Bob McIntyre at Citizens for Tax Justice and Bob Greenstein at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. But neither seemed to fit the bill very well. Sure, McIntyre and Greenstein have been important and highly influential voices for progressive tax policy. But neither has reshaped political debate in Norquistian fashion.

In my opinion this is an futile exercise since the bizarro version of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge would be the political equivalent of guzzling arsenic. Americans don’t like taxes, so there’s virtually nothing to be gained by taking the 180 degree positions of Norquist (again, in their purest form). Similarly, the organization “Americans for Tax Reform” sounds quite sensible. An organization named “Americans for Keeping This God-awful Fuckshow of a Tax System the Way It Is” on the other hand, is less attractive.

Thorndike then posits that guys like McIntyre and Greenstein are “entirely too knowledgeable when it comes to tax policy to ever be compared to Norquist.” Fine. So Grover isn’t as tax wonky as those other guys. Policy wonks typically don’t make good political tacticians and certainly don’t make for good politicians. Wonks look at actual numbers, facts and statistics to make conclusions. Lots of politicians struggle with English. Norquist is acutely aware of this and relies on speaking to them in terms they can understand, such as, “You raise taxes and I’ll end your political career.” Politicians can understand that. They cannot understand Howard Gleckman.

So bizarro Grover Norquist, if you’re out there, please make yourself known. Every (super)man needs a nemesis.

Not Grover: Who’s the Progressive Counterpart to Norquist? [Joseph Thorndike]

Grover Norquist Is Adequately Prepared for Anyone Who Might Try to Burn Washington, D.C. to the Ground

In case you haven’t been paying attention, GOP Taskmaster Grover Norquist takes his Taxpayer Protection Pledge very seriously. So serious in fact that not even a conservative stalwart like Tom Coburn has come under repeated attacks from Norquist and Americans for Tax Reform. So serious that not even our grandmothers’ lives will be spared were terrorists to demand that we raise taxes 1% on the highest earners.

Norquist’s steadfastness has managed to get under a lot of people’s skin including people who thinks he’s a little cuckoo, Democrats and even some guy at Deloitte.

This, understandably, has made Norquist a little paranoid. If someone were able to infiltrate ATR HQ with an army of ninjas, collect all the signed pledges and throw them into an incinerator, how could he continue holding the entire Republican party by their flag-wrapped testes? There would be no tangible proof that these sacred documents were, in fact, signed in front of two witnesses (as is required). Worry not, fiscally frugal readers, Grover is far too smart for that. As the Washington Post reports, GN has taken the necessary precautions to avoid such a catastrophe:

“I keep the originals in a [secret] vault, in case D.C. burns down,” said Norquist, referring to the pledge that his organization asks politicians to sign, vowing to “oppose any and all efforts” to raise taxes. “When someone takes the pledge, you don’t want it tampered with; you don’t want it destroyed.”

So bring your sissy Democrat political operatives, your ink bombs, your pledge-sniffing dogs. You’ll have to do nothing less than sic Jack Bauer on Grover if you want to get your mitts on those pledges. And even if you do, don’t think your grandmother won’t pay the price.

Grover Norquist, the anti-tax enforcer behind the scenes of the debt debate [WaPo]

Mitt Romney Unable to Resist the Siren’s Call That Is the Taxpayer Protection Pledge

In a political move akin to etching your name in to the conservative, low government Book of Life, GOP Presidential nominee Mitt Romney has signed the Grover Norquist’s sacred Taxpayer Protection Pledge.

It’s not a terribly surprising move, as this play will cater to the tax-hating Tea Party crowd as well as the tax-hating-rich-people-not-so-unlike-Mitt Romney crowd.

“By signing the Pledge, Governor Romney keeps the faith of the American taxpayer by taking tax hikes off the table as President,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “Politicians in Washington should be focused on reducing government spending.”

Of course what this move also does is protect Romney from any sternly worded letters or other communication from Americans for Tax Reform that would place him the squarely in the camp of that taxpayer Judas, Tom Coburn. Regardless of some people having the audacity to deem the Pledge meaningless.

[via ATR]

Lawrence O’Donnell Is Practically Giddy Over Ethanol Tax Credit Repeal, Suggests That ATR’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge is Meaningless

This aired last last week after the Senate voted to repeal tax credits for the ethanol industry and you tell that LO’D can barely contain his glee over the result.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

ATR is characterizing this as a three-way makeout session between Coburn, O’Donnell and Reich so they do appear be getting a tad defensive.

[via ATR]

If You Thought Grover Norquist Was Done with Tom Coburn Just Because He Got Some Republicans to Vote for the Ethanol Tax Credit Repeal, You’d Be Wrong

As we’ve mentioned, the scourge of tax policy pragmatism, Grover Norquist, has been battling anyone that utters a word about raising taxes or eliminating tax credits without corresponding tax cuts. His main nemesis in this battle has been Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn, who was a member of the Gang of Six until he was determined the gang couldn’t get jack squat accomplished.

Today, a vote was held in the Senate that repealed the tax credits for ethanol, something that Coburn has been advocating strongly to his GOP colleagues. The idea has been floated that many Republicans who signed Americans for Tax Reform’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge would be violating said pledge by voting for the repeal, and thus incur the wrath of Grover & Co. Yesterday, Norquist insisted that the vote for the repeal isn’t a pledge violation because Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) has an estate tax repeal waiting in the wings that would allow these Republicans to atone for their sins and thus making Coburn a loser again:

“Coburn tried. He failed. I’m sure he’ll try again,” Norquist told The Hill, asserting that Coburn had tried to trick his colleagues into voting for a tax increase. “We checkmated him.”

As we said Coburn did try again and now that the ethanol tax credit repeal has passed, Norquist will be counting on those senators wash away their ‘impure thoughts’ with a vote on DeMint’s amendment and allowing he and ATR to prevail once again, like the Roadrunner over Wile E. Coyote or Ronald Reagan over Communism.

He added that he had commitments from Senate GOP leadership to not agree to a deal with what he calls a net tax increase: higher rates or ending tax expenditures without an offset.

“Coburn’s going to be out in the cold by his lonesome,” Norquist said.

Senate kills off ethanol tax credits in possible break with tax pledge [E2 Wire]
Norquist denies he has lost momentum in tax scrap [On the Money]

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]

Former Senator Alan Simpson Is Having Trouble Expressing His Thoughts on Grover Norquist

“What kind of a nut is this guy?” former Wyoming Sen. Alan Simpson said of Norquist.

He told an audience at Wednesday’s Peter G. Peterson Foundation fiscal summit that Norquist was “some guy just wandering around the swamps taking a pledge from people when America was flush, and then pushing people like Orrin Hatch off the cliff as if he were a commie.” Simpson has said similar things to Norquist’s face. [The Hill]

If You Ever Attend a Meeting Run by Grover Norquist, Know That Your Coffee and Bagel Consumption Will Be Tracked

Bloomberg has a profile of Americans Tax Refund Founder and spending hatchet-man Grover Norquist out today and if you’re not familiar with the man or his mission, you’d think he was the scariest Swede since snark and sass into otherwise dry debates but others don’t see it that way.

Exhibit 1: Former Senator Alan Simpson, is quoted as saying, “If you are in thrall to Grover Norquist,” the Wyoming Republican who co-led the debt panel said he told the group in February, “this country hasn’t got a prayer.”

Exhibit 2: Rep. Chris Van Hollen’s (D-MD) assessment:

“Until Republicans are more afraid of the deficit than they are of Grover Norquist, we’re going to have a problem,” said Representative Christopher Van Hollen of Maryland, the top Democrat on the Budget Committee.

And I suppose, if you are a Democrat, a relatively pragmatic Republican or a cancer survivor (or a nonprofit that fights cancer) Grover could be pretty scary. He doesn’t take too kindly to those in the GOP who want to raise taxes or eliminate reductions or credits that aren’t matched with further reductions in taxes. You can just ask Tom Coburn:

Norquist has attacked Senator Tom Coburn, a onetime member of the Gang of Six, because the Oklahoma Republican raised the possibility of eliminating tax breaks. Norquist said if Coburn agreed to a tax increase “he was elected on a lie.”

Now, based on that, you may get the impression that Norquist is simply a bearded Sarah Palin but you’d be wrong. Bloomberg reports that he while he does sit on the board of the NRA, he also is an adviser to GOProud and that his wife is a Kuwaiti-born Muslim.

But what may make Grover so scary-good at holding people’s feet to the fire is his attention to detail. To be a tax and fiscal wonk, you kinda need to be obe made that way but Bloomberg gives us the impression that his wonkiness transcends simple Federal government matters:

Norquist, who peppers his conversation with comic voices, Chekhov quotes and references to the movie “Grease,” is big on numbers. He knows what year his meeting reached an average of 80 people and when it grew to 100. He keeps charts on how much coffee and how many bagels are consumed, and his staff counts the attendees every 15 minutes so he can graph the flow.

So for any aspiring Grovers or Grovettes out there, this is what you’re emulating. Best start with the simple stuff.

No-Tax ‘Zealot’ Norquist Emerges as Barrier to U.S. Debt Deal [Bloomberg]

Legislation We Can All Get Behind: The BEER Act

Tax assassin Grover Norquist and Americans for Tax Reform have thrown their support behind some important legislation that was introduced to mark American Craft Brew Week – The Brewer’s Employment and Excise Relief Act of 2011 or BEER Act.

While we’re certain that Grover & Co. regularly quaff craft brews, ATR’s support is also grounded in fiscal policy. Here’s Grover in his letter to Senators Mike Crapo (R-WY) and John Kerry (D-MA), the sponsors of the bill:

The BEER Act would reduce from $7 to $3.50 the tax paid per barrel on the first 60,000 barrels produced by small brewers. This is estimated to generate $19.9 million in capital for small beer producers, an enormous resource to promote job growth in the craft brewing industry.

Currently, brewers large and small pay the same tax on any production over 60,000 barrels. Set at an astounding $18-a-barrel tax, this represents a crushing weight on small brewers. This onerous tax penalizes production and disincentivizes industry growth, unnecessarily handicapping an industry that provides 100,000 jobs in the United States alone.

Your bill addresses this discrepancy by lowering the excise tax from $18 to $16 per barrel for production from 60,000 barrels up to 2 million barrels. This will provide an estimated $27.1 million for craft brewers to create jobs and spur economic growth.

Now, you don’t have to be a craft brew fan (like me) and you don’t have live in a state that produces many of these craft brews (like me) to get behind something as common sense as this. Unless, of course, all you drink is Bud Light™, which just means you’re a loser with no taste.

Cheers! ATR Supports the BEER Act [ATR]

ATR to Senators: Sign the Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act of 2011 at Your Own Peril

Free market Norseman Grover Norquist sent a letter to “Senators” today, urging them to vote against the cleverly titled Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act of 2011. And for anyone that has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, let it be known that you’ll be in direct violation of said pledge if you also sign the CBOTLA2011. This means you can expect ATR hellfire – in the form of sternly-worded letters – to rain upon you. If you think they’re bullshiting, just ask Tom Coburn what happens with you mess with the (Viking) horns.

From GN’s latest correspondence:

Voting for the Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act of 2011 is a violation of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. Senate Democrats advocating for this legislation predicate their arguments on three false suppositions:

1. Taxing oil companies will bring down the price of gas
2. Washington needs more money
3. Oil and natural gas producers are the recipients of government subsidies

None of these presumptions are true.

Coinciding with the recent rise in gas prices were Democrat calls to raise taxes on America’s oil and natural gas producers—some of this country’s finest job creators. This line of reasoning is illogical. Raising the cost of producing crude oil will necessarily raise the price of gasoline.

As many Americans now understand, this country doesn’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem. Democrats are defaming oil and natural gas companies—with stunts like last week’s Senate Finance hearing—because they see these successful businesses as a way to fund a bloated federal government. President Obama’s Party has demonstrated no interest in seriously reducing spending.

So if you want to be associated with that, Senators (and I suspect The Gipper would be very disappointed), go ahead and sign CBOTLA2011. But you’re on notice.

Senate Energy Tax Hike Vote is a Taxpayer Protection Pledge Violation [ATR]

Grover Norquist Advises Obama on How to Win Texas in 2012, Reaffirms Ability to Get Sassy

As we’ve noted before, you’d be wrong if you thought Ronald Reagan worshipper and ATR President Grover Norquist and his merry band of anti-tax orcs weren’t capable of a pinch of sass:

Obama should focus on winning the electoral votes of Texas. He could highlight his ongoing efforts to destroy the oil and gas industry through taxation and regulation. Also his hostility to the Second Amendment. And spending binges and tax hikes. The small-minded will not see the opportunity for Obama in Texas, but with enough money spent in the state and not frittered away in Virginia and Florida good things can happen for America.

Or a punch of sass.

[via Politico via ATR]

Is Everyone Aware That There Is a Chicken Sh*t Tax Credit?

Tax wonk Len Burman wrote a letter-cum-blog post to Jon Stewart today over at TaxVox explaining how there really is spending in the tax code through tax credits. You see, Stewart gave President Obama a hard time last month about “reducing spending in the tax code” which JS wrongly interpreted as Newspeak. Burman then goes on to give an shitty perfect example of just how ridiculous tax credits have gotten (in case you weren’t aware already):

You don’t believe there’s spending in the tax code??? Here’s a real life example: the chicken-s**t tax credit. Really, section 45 of the Internal Revenue Code. You can look it up. The late Senator Roth of Delaware (home of lots of chickens and “poultry manure,” as it’s euphemistically called) put this little goody into our tax laws. Here’s the backstory: the EPA said that enormous chicken farms could no longer put their poultry waste in pools or bury it because it poisoned the ground water. One of the best options to meet the new requirement was to dry the vile effluent and burn it to make electricity, but that was still costly. Roth didn’t want chicken farmer profits to plummet or chicken and egg prices to rise just because farmers couldn’t use the earth as a giant toilet, so he pushed through the chicken s**t tax credit to create a profitable market for that (as well as all sorts of other crap).

Burman not only explains to Stewart that using tax credits to keep chicken feces out of the water isn’t a good thing but by mocking the President, he also may have inadvertently helped tax executioner Grover Norquist:

Arch-conservative Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn, leader of the bipartisan “gang of six,” has said that he’d support tax increases so long as they didn’t include rate increases. That is, he wants to rein in subsidy programs run by the IRS.

This is important. Coburn was willing to take on Grover Norquist, who has very effectively prevented any sensible compromise on the budget by insisting that cutting tax subsidies would violate the taxpayer protection pledge that he strong-armed most Republicans to sign. Now Grover can use your laugh line to reinforce Republican intransigence and doom any chance of bipartisan cooperation.

And to indirectly (or perhaps directly) support taxpayer funding of chicken-shitless water.

Jon Stewart’s Fake News on Tax Expenditures [TaxVox]

ATR: SAVEGO Is a No-go

If you’re like us, you’re strangely fascinated by the Americans for Tax Reform and their tax intolerant ways. ATR President Grover Norquist and his band of tax annihilating orcs have battled to get as many signatures on their taxpayer protection pledge as possible and will strike down – often through sternly-worded letter – anyone who dares break that pledge.

Because tax and budgetary policy can be a tricky game, sometimes compromises get floated out there so Democrats and Republicans might find common ground. This common ground typically consists of both sides giving a few things up and agreeing to live with a few things that aren’t ideal.

A recent compromise over the debt-ceiling debate known as SAVEGO was recently passed around some budget wonks and ATR is going on record that any taxpayer protection pledgers best not give it a second look:

ATR is warning that Republicans would be violating their Taxpayer Protection Pledge if they sign on to the deal. SAVEGO as proposed would count tax earmarks as “spending” in the tax code. ATR does not view tax breaks as a type of spending and insists that eliminating them must be accompanied by tax cuts.

SAVEGO would put in place a trigger that, if reached, would cause across-the-board spending cuts or slashing tax breaks.

“Support for a net tax increase trigger is a clear Pledge violation,” ATR Tax Policy Director Ryan Ellis told The Hill Thursday. “A vote for this is a vote for automatic net tax increases.”

“The second clause of the Pledge says that signers will oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar-for-dollar by cutting tax rates. The SAVEGO plan is in direct violation of the Pledge,” he added.

Americans for Tax Reform: SAVEGO violates tax pledge [The Hill]

Grover Norquist Knows What It Will Take to Enact Real Tax Reform

Nemesis of all-things-taxation Grover Norquist believes that there can be good changes to our tax system (lower rates, DUH!). But seriously, as Ronald Reagan as his witness, this is really simple,

“A lot of good tax changes are going to require a different president and a different Senate.” So at the very least, you’ll have to wait two years. That’s all. [The Hill]

Did the Georgia Tea Party Call Grover Norquist a Socialist?

Maybe! As you know, Grover Norquist is the President of Americans For Tax Reform and has a staunch record of opposing any legislation – federal or state – that increases taxes and evokes Ronald Reagan (who hated taxes, dontchaknow) in every possible context, no matter how irrelevant. Grover and ATR are willing to get into a tussle (usually by sternly-worded letter) with whomever thinks that raising taxes will amount to anything positive (because that’s impossible). From the Illinois legislature to the American Lung Association to Lance Armstrong, if you give the slightest impression that higher taxes are a good idea, you can expect Grover & Co. to get Viking on your ass.


However, we learned this morning that in ATR’s most recent spat with the Georgia Legislature over that state’s tax overhaul bill, it appears that Grover has been out-Grovered by the Georgia Tea Party. You see, GN has informed the Georgia pols that he won’t give them any shit for supporting HB 387 after opposing their initial efforts.

This however, did not sit well with the GTP (our emphasis):

”One can not just look at the tax rate cut, one has to look at the deductions/exemptions that are slashed and, in many cases, removed in this bill. Taxes will be raised for some and will be cut for others. In other words, this bill re-distributes wealth.

Okay, so…WHOA. Maybe we’re reading too much into this but take a gander at “socialism” and tell us what you think. So far there doesn’t appear to be a response over at ATR but this sort of aggression will likely elicit some sort of a response.

Your morning jolt: Grover Norquist, tea party split on tax overhaul [AJC via Joseph Thorndike]

Senator Tom Coburn Would Like ATR to Back Off a Bit

“Rather than demanding that Senate conservatives violate their consciences and support distortions in the tax code that increase spending and maintain Washington’s power over taxpayer’s lives, your organization should assist our efforts. Calling for the elimination of tax earmarks without qualifications would be a good start,” Coburn wrote. “Continuing to issue blanket defenses of all tax expenditures is a profoundly misguided embrace of progressive, activist government and a strategy for tax complexity, tax deferment, excessive spending and unsustainable deficits.” [The Hill]

The Phoenix Coyotes Do Not Meet Americans for Tax Reform’s Definition of a ‘Core Function’

Mostly because part of businessman Matthew Hulsizer’s offer to keep the team in Arizona is that the city of Glendale would be required to subsidize the deal. Grover Norquist & Co. are NOT down with this, “Last November voters sent a clear message that they want government to stop frivolous spending and instead focus on core functions. ATR will continue to educate our membership as to which lawmakers received that message and which appear to have not. Gone are the days when taxpayers are willing or able to foot the bill for government spending on things like Woodstock museums, cowboy poetry festivals, bridges to nowhere, and NPR. I doubt anyone’s definition of core functions includes subsidizing the millionaire’s purchase of a hockey team.” [ATR]

Americans for Tax Reform Is Annoyed with the ‘Tax-loving American Lung Association’

Because it’s pretty clear that the American Lung Association’s mission is to ensure everyone is paying higher taxes:

Predictably, the tax-loving American Lung Association is pushing for a massive 75 percent increase in Maine’s cigarette tax. They just think it’s the cat’s meow, curing all diseases while raising a boatload of money for state government to spend on pro-utopia policies.

Of course, that’s not how these things tend to work themselves out. For starters, Maine desperately needs jobs. An excise tax increase of this magnitude certainly will not deliver. Convenience stores count on tobacco products for roughly one-third of their sales. Government driving up the cost of cigarettes won’t help maintain payroll.

That’s because higher taxes will only further fuel migration to New Hampshire, where consumers will be able to save over $12 per carton of cigarettes. New Hampshire also levies no sales or personal income taxes. To have any hope of competing with its neighbor, any talk of tax increases must be completely off the table.

So taxes on cigarettes are off the table while cancer, chemotherapy, pain, suffering and shortened life spans are back on. Got it.

You’d Be Wrong If You Thought Americans for Tax Reform Were a Bunch of Humorless Killjoys

For all we know, ATR was behind the video from earlier today and then we found this from last night:

Great Night for Illinois Taxpayers!

Illinois Democrats were dead-set on raising the state’s personal income tax by a whopping 83 percent. But in a stunning and miraculous turn of events, they decided to go easy on their already mightily-struggling constituents. In a deal reportedly reached tonight, Gov. Pat Quinn and legislative leadership decided to with a mere 75 percent income tax increase, coupled with a modest 102 percent cigarette tax hike that will gently nudge countless jobs across state lines and steal a disproportionate amount of impoverished Illinoisans’ income with a wink and a smile.

We like what the author, Josh Culling, did there but the only problem is that he felt it necessary to brief readers with the following, “The above, of course, is laced with sarcasm and disappointment.” OH THANKS! We really thought we were on a “Rahm for Mayor” site for a minute there.