Power of the Pledge

, Kate Powley, Leave a comment

Grover Norquist came to speak about the Federal Taxpayer Protection Pledge at the Heritage Foundation’s Blogger’s Briefing on Tuesday, May 29.

Norquist founded the nonprofit, lobbying organization Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) at the request of President Reagan in 1985. The Federal Taxpayer Protection Pledge is a way for legislators and candidates for office to show the public that they oppose efforts to “increase income taxes on individuals and businesses. ”

“Politicians are very willing to lie verbally, but write it down on the pledge itself and it really does show that these guys … won’t take pledge if they plan to raise taxes,” Norquist said.

According to ATR, as of Oct. 1, 2011, 238 members of the House of Representatives and 41 members of the Senate have taken the pledge.

Norquist gave examples of politicians such as Bob Dole, who refused to sign it but after losing support changed their minds. He also believes the pledge has power, with 9 out of 10 candidates signing it, the pledge shows voters a politicians stance on taxes and keeps them accountable by having it in writing.

“You sign the pledge because you mean it. If you know you’re not going to raise taxes, sign it,” Norquist said.

Historically politicians have lied about claims they have made, so the pledge provides a record of their stance. The pledge is in writing and is simple, containing only one part – the only formula Norquist believes makes a pledge work.

Furthermore, Norquist said that the pledge is designed for tax reform, but it must be revenue neutral. Politicians may want to make deals to cut spending and increase taxes, but Norquist does not believe this is wise: limited government and spending cuts are the best ways to pull out of the economic crisis.

Kate Powley is an intern at the American Journalism Center, a training program run by Accuracy in Media and Accuracy in Academia.

If you would like to comment on this article, e-mail mal.kline@academia.org


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