Grover Norquist is the founder and figure behind Americans For Tax Reform, an organization that currently has 219 representatives and 39 senators pledged to not increase taxes and resist any attempt to get rid of deductions and credits.
It sounds pretty harmless, making politicians sign an agreement to stick to promises they make to their own constituents.
But that is the problem, in and of itself. These politicians have signed and made a pledge to people other than their own constituents. While those who signed these agreements probably lean towards libertarian and conservative ideals, they still should always remain slightly flexible to different situations in which their constituents’ needs may change. Perhaps they need emergency funding or other changes due to different circumstances. But the politicians are tied up with an agreement to Norquist’s organization, rather than with the people that elected them.
At the end of the day, it is in all of our national interest to discourage this type of pledge on a national level. Our politicians should answer to us.
When a congress member goes against the pledge they face consequences on a broad national level from a wide variety of organizations that they might have avoided if they had not signed the pledge.
Politicians on a state and local level also have signed the pledge and are subject to similar consequences.
At the end of the day, our taxes, for better or for worse, are responsible for the infrastructure of the neighborhoods, cities and states that we live in. A refusal to raise taxes under all conditions means that our children will pay the price. Our roads, bridges, police forces and other social services are paid for with our tax dollars. If we don’t have enough to maintain these services, services like schools that educate our children and bridges we travel over to get to work, we will end up with nothing.
In tragedies like Oklahoma, the Sandy storm and other national disasters we need to be able to trust our politicians to respond quickly in OUR best interests, not in the best interests of a tax pledge group run by wealthy men located in Washington.