Norquist responds to Perdue

Grover Norquist has written a letter to Gov. Sonny Perdue, who started the Georgia GOP’s pro-tax stance in 2003, responding to some comments about Americans for Tax Reform:

When you became Governor you chose to raise taxes rather than restrain the runaway government spending by the state of Georgia. Taxpayers asked that you spend less and you decided to tax more. Americans for Tax Reform represents those taxpayers in Georgia who are paying higher taxes because you refused to restrain spending. And now you wish to raise their taxes again rather than make the decision to spend less.

Taxpayers are not a special interest group, Gov. Perdue.

The lobbyists who come and ask you again and again to take more money from the people of Georgia to spend on their pet projects are pro-spending special interests. Taxpayers ask not for “pork” or “pay to play” or “earmarks.” They ask only that you begin to have the government spend less lavishly.

Read the full letter here.

48 comments

  1. ByteMe says:

    Taxpayers are not a special interest group

    No, but “anti-tax” people are most definitely a special interest group, Norquist… if that is your real name.

  2. Norqy has his own issues, but I’m glad to hear somebody takin’ it to Perdue. Sonny likes cigarette taxes, hospital bed taxes, likes increasing property taxes by cutting exemptions, etc. We toiled for years in the wilderness to elect Republicans to office in Georgia, and when we finally won the big seat, we found out the butt sitting belonged to a pro-tax “ex”-Democrat.

    • chefdavid says:

      Now, Now, I heard Mullis on our local radio station the other day. I heard him mention nothing of raising taxes. He didn’t mention nothing of hospital bed taxes. All he could talk about was that they cut taxes by eliminating the state portion of the insurance premium tax. He didn’t say nothing about the reserve the state had to build up first. But hey it made me feel good about him if I didn’t know any better. And I do feel better that soon we will be carrying guns in church and throwing those evil doctors in jail for talking all of those girls into abortions.
      Next they will be passing laws to forbid us from drinking at work.
      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1264520/Carlsberg-staff-strike-beer-ban-Denmark.html

  3. hugoblacksupreme says:

    Well maybe thats the real problem. When you troll the toilet to elect Republicans and everyone in the state is now a Republican you will likely get a turd or two.

    • ByteMe says:

      He knows it’s there, he just chooses to act like it isn’t relevant to his cause of eliminating funding for all government activities. The guy’s underlying unstated goal is anarchy, so you gotta wonder about people who believe in him.

      • Jeff says:

        “Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all.” – Frédéric Bastiat

        • ByteMe says:

          “I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub” — Norquist

          Sounds like he wants to murder government. In absence of that, there’s anarchy. Any other alternative you can think of is just a goofy form of denial.

          • BuckheadConservative says:

            Yes, Grover Norquist believes in anarchy. C’mon, Byte. You’re better than that. Address the substance of the letter.

            • ByteMe says:

              Who cares about the letter? Really. Just because you agree with him still doesn’t make him anything more than a lobbyist with a desire to affect state government from his offices in Washington DC.

          • DTK says:

            @ Byte

            I’ll preface this by saying I despise Norquist. He’s a shrill, no-talent hack.

            But his quote does NOT say he wants to do away with (or “murder” as you call it) government. First, he says he does not want to abolish government. Implicitly, he concedes that government needs to be around because there are at least some core duties he believes are legitimate functions of government.

            Second, he says he only want to reduce government to a smaller size. Now, he uses a uselessly clumsy metaphor (“drown in bathtub”), but he does NOT say he wants to actually do away (or “murder”) government. He only says he wants it small enough that he could “murder” it if he wished, meaning he wants government so limited that it does not overpower the people. In other words, government is subservient to the people; the people are the master of government, not the other way around.

            Again, I hate Norquist. But his quote does not advocate for anarchy and it’s not “a goofy form of denial” to say so.

            • BuckheadConservative says:

              ByteMe works in cheap pot-shots and intellectual dishonesty like an artisan. Does it with great wit and humor, but that doesn’t change the fact he’s really just as shrill and partisan as the people he claims to loathe.

            • ByteMe says:

              DTK: he says he doesn’t want to, but then he talks about cutting its revenues in half and then cutting it in half again as though people wouldn’t get fed up with it and claim it was “ineffective” just because it didn’t have money to be effective. Even corporations need to spend money to make money and be effective. Corporations that focus entirely on cutting expenses often die from it. Just check out “Chainsaw Al” and Sunbeam.

              You claim it’s a clumsy metaphor, I say it’s exactly his point. He wants to reduce it to a level that it’s not effective. Might as well drown it in a bathtub at that point.

              What exactly is the end game? Is it having a tiny military (currently 500+ billion per year)? Is it having no social security so that Grandma has to eat dogfood or can’t afford to go to the doctor? Is it to make sure our bridges and roads are crumbling and our schools are not able to afford to hire competent teachers? Or is it to just push us so far into debt that we become the third-world nation so many claim is our destiny if Democrats are in charge?

              As I’ve pointed out before: if you remove all the discretionary spending from the Federal budget… you STILL can’t balance it given current revenues. That’s ridiculous and Norquist is part of the problem.

              I don’t hate him. I don’t know him well enough. But I do know he’s a lobbyist with a point of view funded by people — and corporations — who want to push his point of view… and I don’t agree with it.

              • DTK says:

                @ Byte

                You said: “[Norquist] wants to reduce [the federal government] to a level that it’s not effective. Might as well drown it in a bathtub at that point.”

                You’re begging the question here. His entire point is to dispute the current notion of what is “effective” government. To you, it appears the federal government is only effective if it, among other things, gives the elderly pensions and it gives teachers good benefits so children will be educated properly.

                I imagine Norquist would dispute your points. I imagine he would say that your goals (elderly living comfortably and an educated populace) are good; however, your preferred method of achieving them are false.

                This relates back to the Frederic Bastiat quote that Jeff mentioned. There is a public sphere and private sphere, or as Bastiat says, government and society. Bastiat, Jeff, and presumably Norquist would say that we can take care of the elderly and educate our children in the private sphere just as good or better as the public sphere can.

                Indeed, it is modern liberals’ refusal to admit that there are spheres where it is inappropriate for the government to act, that baffles many libertarian-minded people today.

                I guess to sum it up: it is NOT anarchy to deny that the government should give the elderly pensions or be the insurer of our children’s education. If we restricted the government’s role in these areas today, life would not be like the Lord of the Flies. To simply say that it would be anarchy if such things happened is an assertion, not an argument.

                • ByteMe says:

                  And yet, if you are old enough to have parents who went through what it was like before Social Security, you might have reached a different conclusion.

                  I am on the libertarian side when it comes to spheres of influence on social issues and am completely baffled by conservatives who claim that regulating personal behavior is important to a functioning society.

                  But when it comes to economics and a functioning economy, I’m definitely on the side of having more triggers for government action, just because I know that we no longer see people lining up outside of failed banks waiting for the money that’s no longer there. Prior to the existing of the FDIC, we had dozens of bank runs that wiped out people. And prior to child labor laws we had…. and prior to food inspection laws we had…. and so on. We really did have a Lord of the Flies atmosphere in the early industrial age that government intervention helped dial back to manageable levels.

                  As for education, we can fight that fight another day on another thread if you like, because I can show where private education would fail just as badly if it were limited in the same way that public education is — by law — required. But that’s for another day.

                  • DTK says:

                    @ Byte

                    I’m just going to have disagree about the condition of America during the industrial age or the condition of the elderly prior Social Security. America was not anarchic in the 1890s because they didn’t have in place then the policies you favor today.

                    Is life today better now than it was then? Of course. But you’re confusing cause and effect. Life is better now because of advances, mainly, in education. As a general rule, as people become smarter, their standard of living increases. That’s the main reason for our affluence, not because some legislator passed a rule.

                    As an example: child labor laws did not end child labor. Indeed, child labor was on its way out by the time such laws were enacted. The practice was waning because it was no longer economically profitable for firms to hire children since most jobs had become mechanized and simple manual labor no longer had much value. And since the type of tedious and simple work children were accustomed to doing no longer paid, families no longer could count on children to help put food on the table.

                    So what happened next? Families kept their children in school longer, since it didn’t pay to have them in the factories or the field. This increase in mass education for the underclass helped kick off the economic boom of the 20th century.

                    And it was this economic boom that helped usher in the comfortable lifestyle we take for granted today. Government certainly played a role in this boom; indeed, children were educated largely in public schools. But we’d be mistaken to think that all distasteful things from the past (child labor, etc.) were eradicated becuase a law was passed or because government got involved.

                    I’ll grant that reading Upton Sinclair shows that some really gross things happened in meat-packing plants. But we’d be remiss to think all food back then was handled in such manner, or that none of our food today is adulterated. And more importantly, if we do think that food inspections laws automatically lead to safer and purer food, we’re foolishly tempted to follow such logic to its conclusion: shutting down chidlren’s lemonade stands or outlawing homemade goods brought to relief workers during natural disasters because such groups didn’t have the “proper” permits.

                    Government certainly has its place; I’m not anti-government. Your FDIC example is a good example of simple, neutral rules the government can enact that helps protect everyone.

                    But I think you have a narrative of American history that places government at the center, and it filters all events through how government was involved. I think such a view is wrong, and it leads to some fundamental errors.

                    • ByteMe says:

                      Yes, education levels have improved and so has our society, but that’s only one cause. Having a vibrant middle class of retired folks not sucking down dog food has also created vast new markets for businesses (including medical, recreation, and housing).

                      Your argument on food inspections is a “slippery slope” argument and not really worth rebutting, since the slope can run in many different directions including the one you stated.

                      But I think you have a narrative of American history that places government at the center

                      Actually, you have that wrong. I have a narrative that places people at the center and government as the collective expression of the people. Doesn’t always work to perfection, but what does when humans get involved?

                    • DTK says:

                      @ Byte

                      Fair enough, on the purchasing power of the elderly. We’ll have to agree to disagree on the cause of it, however. I submit that if pensioners — and their employers — weren’t forced to contribute to Social Security, then the elderly would be better off financially in their retirement years. As it is, Social Security is a penance, and any real purchasing power from senior citizens comes from their private savings, which were set aside only after their forced contributions to Social Security.

                      As far as the “slippery slope” argument: it’s not hypothetical, it’s real. Both examples are culled from the newspapers.

                      If you start with the assumption that no food vendor can sell food to the public without governmental oversight, how can you deny that my examples aren’t appicable?

                      As for government being the “collective expression of the people,” I just can’t agree to that. There is nothing in this world but individuals, who make decisions by themselves or in small groups, such as the family.

                      As such, there is no “general will.” To say that there is, that there can be a discernable “collective expression” of the people is only to excuse coercion by one group against another. From Rousseau to Kim Jong Il, totalitarian regimes have excused their behavior as being what the people wanted, even as their policies crushed the very same people who purported to will it.

                      The only benign argument I can perceive as to how government is the “collective expression” of the people is that we vote for our representatives and they, in turn, vote on our laws. Leaving aside the obvious point that our representatives routinely act in ways that are not in their constituents’ best interests, how does this theory account for the bureaucracy? With so much of our law being administratively created, career civil servants and political appointees hold enormous amounts of power over the people, yet they don’t vote on legislation nor are they democratically accountable to voters. Are their actions the “collective will” of the people? If so, how?

                    • DTK says:

                      Note above: That should be “pittance” rather than “penance,” although I could see how pensioners could feel they were being punished for agreeing to such a measly sum from Social Security.

                    • benevolus says:

                      “it was no longer economically profitable for firms to hire children since most jobs had become mechanized and simple manual labor no longer had much value. ”

                      I have a hard time believing that. There still seems to be a strong market for cheap labor. All those Mexicans aren’t sneaking across the border for Executive VP jobs. McDonald’s (among others) uses the youngest labor they can find- because it’s the cheapest. If they were allowed to hire younger kids, is there any reason to believe they wouldn’t? And China still uses children in factories, because they can.

                • Jeff says:

                  Byte:

                  Before the rise of Big Government, back in the dark ages when people were nowhere near as “enlightened” as we are re: discrimination and helping those less fortunate, were there not organizations to help those who truly needed it?

                  Of COURSE there were! They were, by and large, run by the churches in that era. They fed those they could who truly needed it, they provided orphanages for children with no parents, they did a variety of other things that they have subsequently by and large been squeezed out of by Big Government.

                  In today’s modern era, I submit that if Big Government would get out of the way, private charity would flourish like never before. MORE people would be helped FAR MORE effectively.

                  Because these private organizations could serve as a last-ditch effort for the neediest of the needy, MORE people would have MORE incentive to do whatever it took to be as productive as they could – even if it meant digging ditches, picking cotton, or working at McDonald’s for a while to provide SOME income to their families.

                  As we already see now, MORE people would start their own businesses, and many of these businesses would grow to add at least one or two employees, thereby allowing MORE people to provide for their families.

                  But we have GOT to get Big Government OUT of the way, and let the Church (as well as all other religious and secular charities) do its job.

                  • ByteMe says:

                    Jeff, your logic is thus: if we didn’t offer unemployment insurance, more people would be employed.

                    Sounds wonderful, except it’s not true. With six people out of work for every job opening, having no unemployment insurance would just mean those people would sink faster.

                    We are no longer a low tech nation, so hoping that there would be an opening to sweep floors at the factory is a pipe dream from another century.

                    Ask your grandparents if you can what 1932 looked like from the standpoint of employment and charities picking up the slack for a nation with 25% unemployment and people going bust overnight because the government wouldn’t get involved as banks failed.

                    • Jeff says:

                      Several studies have shown that Government involvement in the Great Depression actually WORSENED and LENGTHENED it, rather than improving it.

                      When you know you HAVE to find a job or starve… you’d be amazed at what you’re willing to do and how much you’re willing to do it for. I know. Been there, doing that.

                    • ByteMe says:

                      The studies have also shown that the government taking away the punch bowl in ’37 dropped us back into recession as did the Congress going into protectionist mode delay the recovery longer. However, then like now, a debt-crisis takes about 39 months to return to normal and less if the government throws money at the problem (the study was done by Christina Romer if you want to look it up).

                      Please provide your studies that unemployment insurance lengthens an economic downturn and delays an uptick in employment. Be curious to see that. Just because you think that people will work harder to find work doesn’t mean that there is work to be found. There’s a reason that there were bread lines and 25% unemployment during the depression and it wasn’t because of unemployment insurance… which didn’t exist until after it got that bad. It’s because there were no jobs to be had.

                      So it sounds like you’d rather let people starve. That’s your worldview and that’s why your party only gets 5% of the vote. You want to win hearts and minds, start showing that you actually care for the hearts and minds.

                    • ByteMe says:

                      Jeff, I’ll trump your position with logic.

                      For your position to be true — that unemployment benefits keeps people unemployed — you’d have to be able to answer the following with a straight face:

                      How would you explain the epidemic laziness that apparently afflicts Americans exactly at business cycle peaks, which is then somehow miraculously cured at business cycle troughs?

                      h/t to The Big Picture

                    • benevolus says:

                      “Been there, doing that.”
                      Yeah but Jeff, you sound like you are probably a reasonably capable person. You are likely more capable of many things than a lot of other people. The fact is, there just aren’t enough jobs for everyone right now. YOU may be able to find a job, but that means someone else won’t, someone who is not as smart, or didn’t learn to write very well, or use a computer, or suffers from a back problem, or had a leg injured in a car accident that wasn’t their fault. What about those people? They can’t compete with you.

    • BuckheadConservative says:

      No where in his letter does he talk about increasing revenues through tax cuts. In fact, he talks more about cutting spending then he does cutting taxes.

      Lame parry. Try again.

  4. Mozart says:

    Can someone draw-up impeachment papers against Sonny? For violating his oath to the Republican Party platform? And, I’m sure there’s a Commandment or two we can find that he’s violated too…

    • John Konop says:

      HW,

      I am confused you support Deal who voted for the Highway bill, Energy bill, Medicare part D, No Child Left Behind……and yet you pretend to be fiscally conservative?

      • Henry Waxman says:

        John, here’s a helpful hint: to avoid embarrassing yourself in the future, you might want to spend a few minutes doing some basic research before posting.

        You see, the problem with your implication that Nathan Deal is not fiscally conservative like Grover Norquist is the fact that Congressman Deal has repeatedly earned a 100% rating from Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform (100% = good). Also, Congressman Deal has earned the organization’s top honor, the “Hero of the Taxpayer” award, EVERY Congress that the award has been presented.

        And please spare us all the insane ramblings about how Congressman Deal should have voted with Nancy Pelosi and the other Progressive Caucus Democrats against those four bills. If you think it is “fiscally conservative” to vote with Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank, and Dennis Kucinich against the creation of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and against domestic oil exploration, then I think you might need to spend some quality time with a dictionary.

        By the way, I wonder how Grover would rate your idea to put an additional $1 per gallon excise tax on gasoline and diesel fuel…Why don’t you write him a letter and see how he responds? Here’s his address: 722 12th Street, NW, Suite 400 / Washington, D.C. 20005. I look forward to your posting of his reply letter.

        • John Konop says:

          GOP and HW,

          So at the end of the day you cannot defend the votes I pointed out that Nathan Deal made that put our country in this finical mess. BTW GOP how much toilet paper do you use on your nose after defending the undefendable?

          Lastly how anyone could take any organization seriously about a conservative voting record after the debts that were piled up by Nathan Deal is laughable!

          • Henry Waxman says:

            So, your pulling a 180 from your stance that I cannot support a fiscal conservative like Grover Norq

            I’m looking forward to your posting of Grover Norquist’s reply letter on your

            • Henry Waxman says:

              Please disregard this statement. I submitted this half-finished post by inadvertently clicking the touch pad on my computer

          • Henry Waxman says:

            So, at first, you imply that I could not possibly support a serious fiscal conservative like Grover Norquist because my favorite candidate for governor, Nathan Deal, is not fiscally conservative enough for you, but now that you find out Grover Norquist has repeatedly given my candidate a 100% rating, you are completely reversing yourself to say that Grover Norquist and his organization cannot be taken seriously. Very interesting.

            Could this perhaps have something to do with the fact that they guy who destroyed you at the polls, Congressman Tom Price, has endorsed Nathan Deal???

            • John Konop says:

              HW and GOPGeorgia

              First Grover Norquist has no credibility on fiscal matters since he gave ratings to people like Nathan Deal that drove us into this fiscal mess. Second once again you will not even defend the irresponsible votes Nathan Deal made I pointed out. Third I could careless if Tom Price endorsed Nathan Deal. Finally my point is you or GOPGeorgia cannot be taking serious if you think Nathan Deal is a fiscal conservative, the DEBT NUMBERS DO NOT LIE!

              Spin it anyway you want but at the end of the day we are trillions in the red VIA HIS VOTING RECORD! And this does not include the future liabilities via MEADICARE PART D, NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND, DERIVATIVE SCANDAL……

              The reason you and GOP will attack me personally and spin away is because you have no real excuse for his irresponsible voting record!

              • GOPGeorgia says:

                I think you mean that I cannot be taken seriously, as opposed to been taken by someone named serious. If I am defending the undefendable, apparently it bothers you because I have done something you can’t imagine. I must have done it well for it to bother you, so I guess I might as well do it a bit more. Please point out on what page and paragraph of the OCE report that concludes that the report is complete or that Congressman Deal is guilty of anything?

                The debt numbers may not lie, but apparently John Konop does. Will you ever admit that Big Ben of the Steelers did not admit to a crime? How tough is it for you to admit you are wrong? I’ll bet $1,000, you won’t come clean and just admit you made a mistake.

                I have admitted that I was wrong when I have made a mistake and I’ve done that a few times on here. Why do you hate the truth? Just admit it and then we can assume you are not perfect and capable of a conversation that should not involve a straight jacket for you. “I TOLD YOU THIS WOULD HAPPEN! THE SKY IS FALLING! THE SKY IS FALLING!” Give us a break.

            • Henry Waxman says:

              With that said, Mr. Konop, I will attempt to give you a good response on each of the four bills you mentioned. However, you are going to have to give me something more specific than the “Highway bill” and the “Energy bill.” Obviously, Congress has done more than one piece of legislation dealing with highways and energy in the past decade.

              Of course, if I go to the trouble of reading these bills and producing thoughtful analysis, I would expect you to follow up on my request to see if your candidate, Karen Handel, agrees with your assessment of the Medicare Modernization Act (Public Law 108-173) and – thus – would commit in writing to outlawing the programs created by this Act in the State of Georgia. As I mentioned in an earlier post, all she would have to do is prohibit any doctors and pharmacists licensed in Georgia from accepting payments from Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans. She would also have to support a law prohibiting any health insurance companies licensed in Georgia from offering a high-deductible, HSA-qualified plan.

              So, if you will look up the public law numbers for the “Highway bill” and the “Energy bill” you mentioned and get your candidate to give us a statement on her position regarding the implementation of the Medicare Modernization Act in Georgia, I will gladly post my thoughts on the four bills you mentioned.

  5. BuckheadConservative says:

    If there was a budget that made an honest attempt to cut out waste and unnecessary spending and we were still coming up short, then one could make an argument for a tax increase to make up the difference. That hasn’t happened. As such, this tax increase is a non-starter.

    This budget crisis was a great opportunity to make some hard decisions and get our fiscal house in order. We’re about to waste it.

  6. John Konop says:

    For Grover Norquist to rip Sonny Perdue takes some real Chutzpah! I do not agree with Sonny at times with his budget spending BUT NORQUIST supported and promoted the CONGRESS with phony 100% ratings while they ran up trillions of dollars of unfunded liabilities that put a huge anchor on our economy!

Comments are closed.