Monday, August 1, 2011


I have NOT had a chance to check all members of the Kentucky Congressional delegation, but I strongly suspect all of them, but John Yarmuth, have taken the pledge; Grover Norquist's anti-tax pledge.

The simple pledge that each signer will "oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes."

Every member of the Indiana delegation has, except its most senior member, Sen Richard Lugar. That Republican won't sign any pledges, because he says, correctly, they tie lawmakers' hands. Who knows what a future situation might bring that changes things drastically? (Did you know last year at this time what a stranglehold on our nation the debt ceiling issue was going to be? I didn't.)

And Norquist has had major problems with his own simple statement. First he said you could vote for Obama's plan to close tax "loopholes" and end tax "credits" without violating the pledge. He had to take most of that back pretty quickly.

Kentucky Republicans and conservative Democrats (and that seems to be about 87.2134% of our commonwealth) in legislative debates in Frankfort over the years have often taken a "revenue neutral" approach. That is, in a major bill if you raise some taxes, but lower others so that the net effect keeps revenue the same, it's okay.

Not that this will stop their opponents in the next election from criticizing them, but something had to be proposed to try to get that elusive goal of "tax reform."

Even Norquist seems to agree. The AP quoted him that if there were no net increase in tax revenues, it was safe to vote for a tax bill. (Give the man time, he'll probably backtrack here, too).

Meantime, "loopholes" have always meant to me some mistakes in the original bill that ought to be corrected. Are we not to be smart enough to correct things when we have new facts, or will the pledge continue to demand..."don't confuse me with facts, my mind's made up?"

Such as the fact that an ER nurse and a NYC fireman pay twice the tax rate as the hedge fund manager on Wall Street. Loophole? Or stupidity? It doesn't seem to matter to Mr. N...or to the House GOP majority who have consistently refused to make a change here..citing his pledge. I hope our Kentucky delegation may be smarter than that.

For we need to remember: "taxes are the rent we pay to live in our society." That's not an excuse to pass or raise taxes. It is a reminder that when taxes are pledged to do good things, they ought to be considered on those merits..and not on the basis of a pledge adopted a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

I'm just sayin'...

No comments:

Post a Comment