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Zoe Crain

Grover Norquist Discusses Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (and more...)

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Posted by Zoe Crain on Thursday, October 30th, 2014, 12:54 PM PERMALINK


Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist was quoted in a Bloomberg Politics article written by David Weigel about Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

“If Walker lost, four or five states would do maybe half of what Wisconsin’s done,” says Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist.

“There’d be some nibbling at the edges, and some postmortems on how he defunded the left. If he wins, twelve to fifteen states would   copy Wisconsin. I mean, who wouldn’t? If the combined forces of the AFL-CIO and all their allies can’t beat him, why not do teacher tenure reform, why not make union membership voluntary, why not phase out the income tax? You get twelve states to do what Wisconsin did, and the Democratic Party would have to find several billionaires to make up the lost revenue.”

Townhall’s Cal Thomas wrote an article about former Gov. Jeb Bush’s comment that he would be willing to raise taxes, and its implications should he decide to run for president in 2016.

Norquist and other anti-tax advocates perhaps see in Bush’s comment a replay of his father’s pledge at the 1988 Republican National Convention: “Read my lips: no new taxes.” He violated that pledge when congressional Democrats promised to cut spending in exchange for tax increases. Bush raised taxes. Democrats did not cut spending. Many have long believed that broken promise contributed to his failure to win a second term.

Steve Byas of the New American wrote about the possibility of former Gov. Jeb Bush running for president, and the reaction of Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist.

“Jeb stabbed Republicans in the back just when they were unified in insisting on major spending cuts with no tax increases,” Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform told the Washington Times.

Norquist was referencing Bush’s comments that he could accept a budget deal in which taxes were raised by $1 for every $10 in spending cuts that the Democrats would agree to. Norquist was enraged, particularly because the Democrats had not even offered any such deal. 

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WisPolitics.com

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Grover Norquist Appears on Bloomberg TV's "Street Smart"

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Posted by Zoe Crain on Wednesday, October 29th, 2014, 5:26 PM PERMALINK


Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist appeared on Bloomberg TV’s “Street Smart,” hosted by Matt Miller, where he discussed Americans renouncing their U.S. citizenships in response to a harsh new tax law. An excerpt of his comments is below:

Two things happened. One is we have the worldwide tax system, so that when an American works overseas, they pay over there and here. Second, we have higher rates than everybody else, on the corporate level, and even sometimes on the individual level. So, it wasn’t quite so bad when we had lower corporate taxes and lower personal taxes- 28%, under Reagan- but now it’s become a bigger problem. 

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Grover Norquist to Appear on Yahoo's Election Night Special

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Posted by Zoe Crain on Wednesday, October 29th, 2014, 12:08 PM PERMALINK


As Dylan Byers wrote in Politico, Grover Norquist will appear on Yahoo’s special coverage of the midterm elections, hosted by David Gregory.

The midterm special will be a one-time appearance for Gregory, though he may be eyeing a longer-term deal with the digital news site. Gregory will appear will Yahoo’s Couric and Matt Bai, as well as POLITICO’s Mike Allen and Americans for Tax Reform founder Grover Norquist.

Americans for Tax Reform director of state affairs, Patrick Gleason, wrote an op-ed for Forbes with updates on campaign battles in Wisconsin and North Carolina.

Prior to passage of the historic tax reform act that Speaker Tillis shepherded through the state legislature last year, North Carolina had one of the worst business tax climates in the country, ranking 44th out of 50 on the Tax Foundation index. Thanks to the 2013 North Carolina tax reform- which took the top personal income tax rate from 7.75 percent to 5.8 percent and brought the corporate rate from 6.9 to 6.0 percent- North Carolina has rocketed from 44th to 16th best business tax climate.

Josh Peterson of Watchdog.com wrote an article regarding the political battle over rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft.

Republican Party luminaries, such as anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, have wasted little time trying to use Uber’s local regulatory battles as an opportunitiy to reach younger and more tech-savvy voters.  

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Gage Skidmore

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Democrats Grow Tired of President Obama

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Posted by Zoe Crain on Monday, October 27th, 2014, 3:48 PM PERMALINK


A New York Times article today detailed a change of heart for the “hope and change” fanatics of 2008, specifically that liberals are finally beginning to tire of President Obama.

The article, written by Jonathan Martin and Julie Hirschfeld Davis, writes:

Bracing for a difficult election in just over a week, when they could lose control of the Senate, Democrats exasperated with the White House are already moving to pin blame on President Obama…

Who can blame them? In the easiest game ever of “pin the failure on the donkey,” there’s no shortage of fodder to exhaust Democrats with the President’s performance.

This past year alone, the country’s been victim to a mismanaged IRS targeting scandal, a crippling taxpayer burden in the form of Obamacare, empty threats to ISIS and now a poorly handled Ebola response.

The President seems desperate for the spotlight, as he’s said that while he may not be on the ballot (what a shame,) his policies are. This rhetoric doesn’t sit well with campaign operatives.

Paul Begala, a Democratic strategist, said he was puzzled over how a president who so appreciates the power of words could have been so careless.

“This is Politics 101: Always make it about the voters, not about yourself,” Mr. Begala said. “I don’t understand it. It was an unforced error at a time we can ill afford them.”

This sentiment isn’t restricted just to Democrats, however. Earlier this month, an ABC News/Washington Post poll pegged the President’s approval at the lowest point since he’s been in office.

As this plays out on the campaign trail, Democratic candidates are running away full speed from the outstretched arms of the White House, who appears to be more of a hindrance than help. In Maryland, exasperated voters got up and left the arena while the President spoke.

The Times article continues,

Yet at times, Mr. Obama’s actions and those of his political team have seemed off key to the point of damaging to fellow Democrats. Many of them cringed this month when the first lady, Michelle Obama, traveled to Iowa to campaign for Bruce Braley, a Democratic candidate for the Senate, in one of the nation’s closest races and referred to him repeatedly as “Bruce Bailey.” She returned to the state on Tuesday and joked about the mistake, but when the White House distributed the transcript of her remarks, it referred to Mr. Braley as a candidate for governor.

While supporting President Obama was once cool and trendy, the fad seems to have dissipated as voters, candidates and operatives alike now realize the bad bill of goods they were sold. As the President meets a dead end on the campaign trail, perhaps he can find his way back to the White House and work to repair some of the damage he’s caused.

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Steve Jurvetson

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Grover Norquist Named Among The Hill's "Top Grassroots Lobbyists of 2014" (and more...)

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Posted by Zoe Crain on Thursday, October 23rd, 2014, 12:18 PM PERMALINK


The Hill named Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist as one of their “Top Grassroots Lobbyists of 2014.”

They say nothing is certain but death and taxes. In Washington, the third certainty is Norquist trying to kill the second.

Jennifer Hickey of Newsmax wrote a piece regarding former Gov. Jeb Bush admitted that he would be willing to raise taxes.

“If my father had thrown away a perfectly good presidency by raising taxes, I think one of the things in life I would learn is, ‘Don’t do that,’” Norquist said, referring to President George H.W. Bush’s broken “no new taxes” pledge.

Reason’s Zach Weissmueller wrote about the abuse visited upon Gerawan Farm employees by the United Farm Workers:

A group of Gerawan employees, less than eager to relinquish 3 percent of wages to an absent union, began petitioning for an election to decertify the union. The Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) eventually administered an election but never counted the votes, alleging unfair labor practices, such as encouraging anti-union behavior, on behalf of the company.

Brian Lowry of The Boston Herald’s The Edge wrote about the T.V. show “Alpha House,” in which Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist makes an appearance.

Appropriately returning just in time for the midterm elections, the second season finds the show loading up on star cameos from Hollywood (Bill Murray), media (Matt Lauer, Trudeau’s wife Jane Pauley, John King) and the world of political wonks (Grover Norquist, David Axelrod). Still, the formula and situations remain largely the same, with each of the solons grappling with various challenges and indignities.

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Politico: Jeb Bush's Tax Problem

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Posted by Zoe Crain on Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014, 2:40 PM PERMALINK


An article written by Brian Faler of Politico detailed criticism of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s admission that he would be willing to support tax increases.

Faler writes,

Bush’s views are already pitting him against one of his party’s most influential activists, Grover Norquist, the high priest of anti-tax orthodoxy who’s convinced nearly ever elected Republican to sign a pledge not to raise taxes.

As the article highlights, a broken no-tax pledge led to his former President George H.W. Bush’s 1992 reelection loss.

“If my father had thrown away a perfectly good presidency by raising taxes, I think one of the things in life that I would learn is, ‘Don’t do that,’” Norquist said. “But here you have Jeb Bush going, ‘I learned nothing from my father’s self-immolation.”

Bush’s statement is especially poignant given his name has been brought up as a potential contender in 2016.

But Republican strategists say the primary will again surely be stocked with tax increase hardliners who, if anything, will be promising tax cuts.

“I don’t even know if you’ll get out of the starting gate with that kind of message,” said Greg Mueller, a conservative strategist. “That’s a deal breaker for a lot of voters.”

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Rollins College

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ATR's Grover Norquist Appears on Mike Essen Show

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Posted by Zoe Crain on Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014, 2:31 PM PERMALINK


Recently, ATR president Grover Norquist was a guest on the Florida-based Mike Essen Show. Grover and Mike discussed tax reform and ways to improve the economy.

Listen to the interview here: http://mikeessen.com/podcasts/politics/mike-interviews-grover-norquist.html

Matt Patterson, executive director of the Center for Worker Freedom, wrote an op-ed for Forbes detailing hypocrisy in liberal support for oppressive labor unions.

And where are the Democrats? Where are the liberals fighting for Silvia’s “right to choose?” Nowhere to be found, of course: Organized labor has become little more than a slush fund for the Democratic Party, funneling billions in dues (often plucked from members’ pockets without their consent) to left-wing politicians, who then bray on about being “pro-choice.”

Patterson also wrote an op-ed for the Sacramento Bee regarding the fight between Gerawan Farming employees and the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board who refuse to count employee votes in an election to decertify the United Farm Workers.

The labor board is engaging in active, state-sponsored voter suppression in its attempt to help the UFW. The board has sequestered the ballots from the decertification election and refuses to count them in direct violation of Gerawan workers’ First Amendment rights of free speech and assembly.

And by forcing the workers into a contract (against their will) that will siphon 3 percent of their pay to union bosses, the board is effectively confiscating property in direct violation of the 14th Amendment.

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Grover Norquist Appears on "The Willis Report" to Discuss the CDC and NIH


Posted by Zoe Crain on Thursday, October 16th, 2014, 1:57 PM PERMALINK


Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist appeared on Fox Business Network’s “The Willis Report,” hosted by Gerri Willis, to discuss wasteful NIH and CDC spending, and their failed response to the ebola crisis. An excerpt of his comments is below:

“It’s kind of sad that the Democratic groups, instead of trying to solve the problem, are trying to exploit this crisis for political gain- step one. Step two, let’s look at the numbers- in 1980, the National Institute of Health had $3 billion, today, it’s 10 times that size: $30 billion.  The Center for Disease Control, which is supposed to be focusing on this sort of stuff, has about $6 billion. It got an extra $4 billion over the past few years, and they turned around and spent about 6% of that on infectious diseases. So the Center for Disease Control and the NIH decided to make Ebola and other similar infectious diseases not exactly a top priority. They say if they had more money, they would have done something. They had $30 billion. They had lots of money and they chose to spend it other places.”

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Taxpayer Dollars Used to Fund Union Activities (and more...)

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Posted by Zoe Crain on Thursday, October 9th, 2014, 1:00 PM PERMALINK


Connor Wolf of The Daily Caller wrote an article discussing the massive amount of taxpayer funds that are spent on union activities for public employees.

Matt Patterson, executive director, for the Center for Worker Freedom, told the Washington Examiner the relationship between public-sector unions and federal agencies was suspect at best.

“People are under the impression that tax dollars go to pay public employees to do public business, but that’s not always so,” Patterson said. “It all amounts to a huge public payoff from elected officials to their Big Labor campaign contributions.”

The American Spectator’s Matt Schlapp wrote about Kansas Governor Sam Brownback’s successes over the course of his term.

Four years ago, Sam Brownback was elected the governor of Kansas in a landslide. Within two years, he was able to elect a conservative majority in the state senate, a goal that had alluded GOP activists for decades. Then Brownback did what he said he would do- cut taxes, reformed education, and opposed Obamacare, earning the praise of many on the right, including Grover Norquist.

First, it has become a truism that when a Republican governor aggressively takes on the left, he or she will be viciously attacked. Brownback has succeeded in enacting a solid conservative agenda. He eliminated income taxes on small businesses, and reduced income taxes on everyone else. He fought to keep coal as part of electricity generation feedstock. He refused the money and mandates of the Obamacare Medicaid expansion. Combine Brownback’s bold reforms with his longtime reputation as a cultural warrior, and you get a tantalizing target for the left.

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More Support Rolls In for Ridesharing Companies

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Posted by Zoe Crain on Wednesday, October 8th, 2014, 4:55 PM PERMALINK


Following a successful summer defense against regulatory challenges in major cities across the country, ridesharing companies now have more good news. This week, The Initiative on Global Markets Economic Experts Panel, hosted by the University of Chicago, unanimously agreed that allowing ridesharing companies, like Uber, Lyft and, Sidecar to operate without oppressive regulations increases consumer welfare. In short: stop suing Uber, and start using it instead. This is welcome news in the nation’s capital, where this week, cab drivers are protesting against Uber, while failing to realize that spending all day not working in protest just gives even more incentive for DC consumers to request an Uber instead.

When asked whether they agree or disagree that “letting car services such as Uber or Lyft compete with taxi firms on equal footing regarding genuine safety and insurance requirements, but without restrictions on prices or routes, raises consumer welfare,” an overwhelming majority “strongly agreed” or “agreed.” Specifically, 56% “strongly agreed,” while 37% “agreed.” 0% were uncertain, disagreed, or strongly disagreed, while several panelists abstained.

The panel includes 43 top economists from institutions such as MIT, Berkeley, Stanford, Harvard, Yale and Princeton, who vote weekly on a series of socially, politically, and culturally relevant statements. As share economy companies have grown and expanded to provide more ease and function to their users, they’ve also become the prime target for regulators, who see them as disruptive and threatening.

In his comments, University of Chicago professor and IMG panelist Steven Kaplan wrote, “new technology/information more than offset any net benefits of regulation.”

Certain city councils, on the other hand, disagree. Over the past few months, large cities held hostage by entitled cab companies and transportation networks sent cease-and-desist letters, issued fines, and even banned the ride-sharing services completely. In response, the share economy geared up to push back against the punitive proposed regulations, encouraged by thrilled consumers.

In Austin, for example, the city began issuing cease-and-desist orders to ride share companies. In response, Uber offered completely free rides throughout the city during the South by Southwest Interactive festival, which attracts over 30,000 attendees per year (at the time, there were only 270 cabs in the city’s entire fleet.) Naturally, people were thrilled, and Austin is now implementing a pilot program to lead towards embracing ride-share companies.

In an op-ed for the New York Times, Peterson Institute for International Economics senior fellow Justin Wolfers writes,

“The latest survey asked these economic experts about ride-sharing services, like Uber and Lyft. These services are popular with customers, but are despised by their competitors. The incumbent taxi and limousine services have largely eschewed trying to compete with lower prices or better service, instead working behind the scenes to persuade regulators to banish ride sharing. Their arguments dress their naked self-interest in the guise of public policy concerns. But do the economists buy it? Should regulators restrict the prices, the number of drivers or the available routes available to Uber and its brethren?

                In a word: No.”

ATR’s John Kartch writes in a Forbes op-ed that Republicans and center-right groups need to take advantage of this upswing, and use it to develop a new generation of pro-innovation, free-market voters.

“The votes of sharing economy participants are up for grabs. Feeling a personal stake in public policy, a critical mass of voters will be open to calls to rein in the tax and regulatory excesses that get in the way of their pursuit of happiness.”

Looks like the pursuit of happiness is now just a quick Uber ride away.

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Alfredo Mendez

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JJinTX

Wow, short sighted, one sided, and not entirely accurate. As a conservative in support of tax reform, I am rather appalled by some of these opinion columns I have read in recent months.


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