Pope Norquist Rules That Revenue-Positive Tax Reform Violates His Pledge

A blog about business and economics.
Nov. 16 2012 2:48 PM

Pope Norquist Rules That Revenue-Positive Tax Reform Violates His Pledge

One part of the ongoing budget farce in Washington has been a lot of dancing around the idea that maybe Republicans would agree to a plan that raises tax revenue without raising tax rates. Frustratingly, reporters have spent a lot of time querying Republican Party elected officials about this (they give cagey answers) rather than asking the person who really matters: Grover Norquist.

The text of the no-taxes pledge that he gets all Republicans to sign is terse and like all good elements of holy writ could be interpreted in different ways. But the Pope of the supply-side cult himself has weighed in and says this doesn't work for him:

“If you raise taxes, it’s a problem with the pledge,” Norquist says in an interview. “Romney’s plan was always revenue neutral – I’m in favor of getting rid of deductions and credits and reducing rates, as long as it’s revenue neutral. That’s always been the Republican position.”
Advertisement

No tax reform. 

This is why in practice things get a lot simpler if you just go "over the cliff." With the new baseline in place, basically everything the White House has proposed counts as a tax cut rather than a tax increase. That doesn't mean Republicans would just say yes to anything Obama put on the table. But it does mean that they at least could say yes. You can do tax reform, you can do a big bargain, you can do whatever. But you need to change the baseline first. It's not logical for so much to hinge on the baseline rather than the policy outcome, but that's how religion works. Its mysteries can only be truly understood by those who have faith. To those of us looking in from the outside it all seems arbitrary. But the details matter.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

TODAY IN SLATE

Doublex

Crying Rape

False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

How Will You Carry Around Your Huge New iPhone? Apple Pants!

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Television

The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Lifetime Didn’t Find the Steubenville Rape Case Dramatic Enough. So They Added a Little Self-Immolation.

No, New York Times, Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman” 

Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 1:39 PM Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman,” New York Times. Neither Are Her Characters.
Behold
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 19 2014 6:22 PM Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 19 2014 6:35 PM Pabst Blue Ribbon is Being Sold to the Russians, Was So Over Anyway
  Life
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 5:09 PM Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?   A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.