Reader Commentary: Why Republicans won't raise taxes on the rich

^ Posted Nov. 15

By Jack R. Rickel

Any small businessman will tell you that he and his business will not survive if the company's income is not greater than his expenses.

The government's main income is derived from taxes. If the taxes are not greater than the country's expenditures, the economy is going to fail. Yet the Republicans have pledged not to raise taxes on the top 2 percent of the wealthiest people in the U.S. The entire concept results from the efforts of a single individual named Grover Norquist.

Grover Norquist is a Harvard-trained lawyer who once was an economist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, one of the major contributors to the Republican Party. He has no government-assigned authority to coerce the party to accept his line of thinking. Then why do they follow him like sheep? He founded a lobbying organization called "Americans for Tax Reform." It is a very large and well-financed organization, but Norquist refuses to identify any of his major financial contributors. He is, however a favorite boy of the Koch Brothers and people like Karl Rove and Jack Abramoff.

Norquist's favorite belief is that "the size of the U.S. government should be shrunk until it can be drowned in a bathtub." He singlehandedly got 238 members of the House of Representatives and 41 senators from the Republican Party to sign the "Americans for Tax Reform" pledge that under no circumstances would they raise taxes on the wealthiest people in the U. S. How did he accomplish this? We may never know. We do know the Republican Party was given nearly a billion dollars to spend on the most recent election.
Norquist's background is certainly colorful. He assisted guerilla groups fight off their oppressors in Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Mozambique, Angola, and Laos. He married a woman from a Muslim family in Pakistan and has been accused of having Muslim leanings in several articles.

He is the ultimate joiner. He is on the board of the National Rifle Association, worked with Newt Gingrich on the Contract for America and co-founded the "Islamic Free Market Institute."

It has been said that the three most dangerous men in the politics today are Rove, Sen. Mitch McConnell and Norquist.

It would seem that electing Barack Obama for a second term saved the U.S. from complete disaster. Fortunately, the billion or so dollars spent by the very wealthy on the 2012 election went to TV stations, video production houses, advertising agencies and the workers in each of those organizations. The financiers are furious that their wealth was spent for an election they lost, but ultimately, it will end up in the hands of the above workers and be spent to improve our general economy.

Jack R. Rickel is a resident of Front Royal.
Jack R. Rickel is a resident of Front Royal.


The Republicans and Democrats will raise the taxes on everyone. They both are very experienced at tax-and-spend as well as debt-financing to choke our economy.

If you are under the impression that government spending helps our economy, I'd suggest you take a few economics courses and pay attention. Government spending diminishes the overall wealth of the country and both parties are equally guilty of the offense.

Aside from the moral and ethical dilemmas that occur when you redistribute wealth through force, the economic math does not add up either.

Excellent letter, Mr. Rickel.

In 1997 Khaled Saffuri, along with Grover Norquist--one of the most politically-connected Republican lobbyists, founded the Islamic Free Market Institute (often called simply the Islamic Institute) to build Republican support among Muslim Americans. The Institute operates out of the headquarters of Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform. The start-up money largely comes from Middle Eastern sources. In the 1990s Suffuri was also an executive director of the American Muslim Council (AMC) headed by Abdulrahman Alamoudi who is now serving a 23 year prison sentence for financing terrorism.

(Source wikipedia)

An obviously extremely uneducated older female in a small Texas town that had five votes for Obama told the media she didn't vote for Obama because he was a Muslim. The Republicans have become expert at feeding into the prejudices of these types of Americans.

For those who believe we cannot afford to cut our military budget, suggest you look at Colburn's report.

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said Thursday DoD will spend almost $68 billion on non-military goods and services over the next 10 years.

Department of Everything: Department of Defense Spending That Has Little to Do With National Security

This report examines five areas of the Pentagon budget that have little to do with national security where taxpayer dollars could be saved and deficits reduced without impacting our national security.

-- Non-Military Research and Development: Research projects that have little or nothing to do with national defense or medical needs related to military service ($6 billion).

-- Education: The Defense Domestic Dependent Elementary and Secondary Schools (DDESS) that educates children of military families here in the United States and the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) programs that duplicate the work of the Department of Education and local school districts ($10.7 billion). The Department of Defense Tuition Assistance Program which provides college funding for military members on active duty and duplicates the Department of Veterans Affairs ($4.5 billion).

--Alternative Energy: Duplicative and unnecessary alternative energy research by the Department of Defense ($700 million).

--Grocery Stores. Pentagon-run grocery stores here in the United States ($9 billion).

--Overhead, Support, and Supply Services. Over 300,000 military members performing civilian-type job functions and too many general officers. ($37 billion).

The recommendations outlined in Department of Everything could save as much as $67.9 billion or more over ten years without cutting any Army brigade combat teams, Navy combat ships, or Air Force fighter squadrons.

Even though “improving global health is not one of its core objectives,”the Pentagon will spend at least $580 million this year on global health activities, more than either the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the National Institutes of Health.

The Pentagon budget also funds other scientific research, duplicating the work by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and other federal agencies. For example, the Navy recently funded research examining what the behavior of fish can teach us about democracy while also developing an app to alert iPhone users when the best time is to take a coffee break.

(LOOK AT THIS!) The Air Force Office of Scientific Research funded a study last year examining how to make it easier to produce silk from wild cocoons in Africa and South America.

Both the Navy and the Air Force funded a study that concluded people in New York use different jargon on Twitter than those living in California.

With the military at war in Afghanistan and our nation facing a $16 trillion debt why are these priorities being funded

A project begins with a member of Congress starting up a pet project of his or one of his 'very influential constituents', once it is embedded the in Pentagon's budget it mushrooms and rarely every disappears.

1993--IOM WORKS WITH US ARMY TO DISPERSE BREAST CANCER RESEARCH FUNDS...of the $210 million (aka earmark) buried in the military budget for breast cancer research, $325 million of that amount was paid to a company to tell the Army how to disperse the $210 million.

In addition to approving $255 million for the Abrams battle tank, the House added hundreds of millions of dollars to the Pentagon’s $606 billion annual spending bill for items the military didn’t request, including health programs with little connection to national defense and a National Guard anti-drug program that the Drug Enforcement Administration also performs. . Even with a two-year ban on earmarks, or pet projects that often can’t be justified as national priorities, the action was the latest evidence that members of the U.S. Congress are still finding ways to deliver the goods for their constituents.

Lawmakers turn to the Pentagon spending bill to seek hundreds of millions of dollars for non-military projects, including drug enforcement and research into bone marrow disease, autism and breast cancer. Almost all of the $550 million added by the House as part of the defense health program goes toward research into breast, prostate, ovarian and lung cancer, as well as for muscular dystrophy and bone marrow failure.

Lawmakers turn to the Pentagon spending bill to seek hundreds of millions of dollars for non-military projects, including drug enforcement and research into bone marrow disease, autism and breast cancer. (DOI 2012)

--Only a few projects in spending bills being considered this year have a request tied to a lawmaker who can be identified. Representative Bill Young, a Florida Republican and longtime appropriator, would continue funding his namesake bone-marrow donor program through $31.5 million he secured in the House- passed defense spending bill. This earmark has been buried in the NAVY budget since 1987.

--The Defense Rapid Innovation Program is the brainchild of Representative Norm Dicks, the top Democrat on the appropriations panel. It received $250 million in the defense bill to help encourage small business innovation through a competitive process.

--Citizens Against Government Waste maintains that health research projects in the defense bill are redundant. A separate measure in 2012 provided $5.1 billion for the National Cancer Institute, according to the watchdog organization’s website.

--Funding for an anti-drug program, apportioned to states through the National Guard, adds an additional $130 million in 2013 to use military personnel in drug enforcement operations in the states.

Mr. Rickel

Regarding Norquist, you said “He singlehandedly got 238 members of the House of Representatives and 41 senators from the Republican Party to sign the "Americans for Tax Reform" pledge that under no circumstances would they raise taxes on the wealthiest people in the U. S.” That is NOT TRUE.

The following excerpts are from wiki. Norquist is known as the promoter of the Americans for Tax Reform (ATR)'s "Taxpayer Protection Pledge" which prior to the November 2012 election was signed by 238 of 242 House Republicans and 41 out of 47 Senate Republicans had signed Americans for Tax Reform (ATR)'s "Taxpayer Protection Pledge", in which the pledger promises to "oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rate for individuals and business; and to oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates." All people are covered; nowhere are the wealthiest people mentioned. You can find the Pledge here: After reading more about the Pledge, I'm no longer as enthusiastic about it as I was.

If Norquist was ever the bogie man you portray, he may be losing it. The November 2012 elections resulted in a decline in the number of Pledge signatories: from 41 to 39 in the Senate, and from 238 to "fewer than ... 218" in the House. Losses in the election by Norquist supporters and the "fiscal cliff" have increased Norquist's critics. For example, former Republican Senator Alan Simpson, co-chairman of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, has been particularly critical, describing Norquist's position as "[n]o taxes, under any situation, even if your country goes to hell."

Last, you said "It has been said that the three most dangerous men in the politics today are Rove, Sen. Mitch McConnell and Norquist." Who said? I'd like to read that analysis.

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