Are tax increases inevitable? Are tax decreases possible?

We have spent a lot of time this week discussing the role of government — what services the government provides, and which services it should provide.  But we haven’t yet discussed taxation, which of course  is intertwined with the debate over the role of government, since taxes fund whatever services the government provides.

Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, is the leader of the anti-tax increase movement in the US, and in this capacity he has led many members of Congress (as well as Governor Romney and Rep. Ryan)  to sign a pledge not to increase taxes — ever.  He has been criticized by some, even from within his own Republican party, for being unwilling to compromise on the tax issue.  The following profile of Norquist, which was aired on 60 Minutes two weeks ago, provides you with some background on Norquist and his views on taxation.  Then, I’ve added an interview of Norquist by the Wall Street Journal conducted on August 28th.  Are higher taxes inevitable? Are lower taxes possible?

7 responses to “Are tax increases inevitable? Are tax decreases possible?”

  1. govrobin1 says :

    Personally I feel that Grover Norquist’s approach to tax reform is too rigid and circumstantial to function effectively in today’s government. On the surface never having tax increases sounds wonderful, but taxes are essentially the means by which out government pays for all of its programs and attempts to reduce the deficit. This pact doesn’t allow those who sign it to openly negotiate different subjects without the fear of ridicule and think about what might be in the best interest for our country.

    • jack7 says :

      Obviously, everybody wants more disposable income to serve as an economic safety net, especially after the 2008 financial crisis. The problem is that, with a crumbling infrastructure, massive deficit, and a still-recovering economy, now is not the time for the our government to have less money. I think that Norquist is ignoring to many details and being to rigid, like Robin said, towards our economy’s ever-changing circumstances. Lowering taxes for businesses may bring more manufacturing back to the US, yes, but phasing out the tax credits that the Obama administration introduced and bringing income taxes for the top 1% down Reagan-era rates would be too drastic a measure for our government and therefore not possible.

  2. Liz7 says :

    Norquist has a very idealistic view of the American economy. The market is unpredictable and it’s impossible to solidify a plan today that would apply for future recessions or depressions. Disallowing the increase of taxes for anyone, whether the lower class or billionaires, I think would be a mistake. The major issues in this country: education, crime, health care, etc. all require a lot of resources. If we ever want to see America on top in education, or reform healthcare, or drastically lower the number of incarcerated we will need a lot of money from taxes. Norquist’s plan would require vast cuts of government spending, which many people, businesses, and even other countries rely on. While I think tax decreases are certainly possible if applied carefully, the idea of them never increasing is unrealistic and a waste of time for politicians to promise.

  3. Connor1 says :

    Although i agree that the idea behind a no tax increase policy is appealing, i do not find that in this unpredictable economy that one can sign a pledge guaranteeing not to increase taxes and live up to it. I feel that in dire times of need exceptions should be allowed to be made, but clearly Mr. Norquist does not agree with that frame of mind. By not signing this pledge you go against what your party stands for and people question you from the start. By signing it and not staying true to that commitment, you lose your voters and your credibility. By signing it and staying true to it, you threaten the nation as a whole. . There is no winning to Norquist’s pledge. On the other hand, i do not agree with the way Obama is handling taxes either. It comes down to picking the better of two evils, of which I have not quite decided. I agree with Liz that the major issues in this country need to be properly funded, i just don’t believe we have found the proper solution to giving these organizations the money that they need to have an impact.

  4. Naiyah1 says :

    I think that this pledge unfairly traps Republicans into a situation where they cannot vote to raise taxes, even under extraordinary circumstances, without fear of ridicule and a lost following. I think that a less severe version of Norquist’s plan could work in an economy that was not under stress (as ours is), but in order to rebuild the US economy, raising taxes is inevitable. The government needs money to put into economy in order to restabalize it. Cutting taxes, especially for the wealthy, will only further damage the economy and continue to create a disproportionate concentration of wealth.

  5. Emily1 says :

    Pertaining to the No Tax Increase policy, I believe it is an unfair trap and not at all valid. There are going to be times when raising taxes is necessary for the wellbeing of the economy and government as a whole. During this situation:
    If the signee of “No Tax Increase” adheres to this policy and does not vote to increase taxes against their will, they are wrong-doing our nation and not choosing what they believe is truly best for America.
    If they go against the pledge, then they are ridiculed, have their names and faces plastered on a poster, and are acknowledged as a “flip flopper” by the Republican community.
    In the words of Popkin, there is a difference between “what sells and what works”. Agreeing with Robin, this policy may sell and sound like a good deal. But will it really work? I doubt it.

  6. AkhilP7 says :

    Tax increases are simply a method of forcing people to pay more of their hard earned money in order to fund the vast overarching government. This clearly doesn’t work because we are running ourselves further and further into debt. It is important for the government to cut spending first. There are definitely funds that are allocated to places or corporations where they are unnecessary. Recall the infamous “Road to nowhere.” Once the federal government learns to effectively use all its money, if more funds are needed, then tax increases should be implemented.

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