The Anti-Norquist Pledge:
As an American voter: I will not support, contribute to, or vote for any politicians who have signed the Norquist Pledge (the polarizing misleadingly-named Taxpayer Protection Pledge), unless they publicly renounce that Pledge.
As an American shareholder: I will vote against any corporate management that (1) uses corporate funds to support the polarizing, misleadingly-named “not-for-profit” Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), sponsor of the Norquist Pledge, or (2) uses corporate funds to support any politician who signed and has not revoked the Norquist Pledge.
Grover Norquist's ATR has absolutely nothing to do with tax reform. The Norquist Pledge was directly responsible for the near-default of the U.S. government, and contributes to the acrimonious political atmosphere. Pledges to not raise marginal tax rates on the top '1%' make normal compromise and negotiation impossible.
We need bipartisanship, not gridlock!
Norquist, president and founder of ATR, is famous for badgering politicians into signing his polarizing 'Norquist Pledge' -- under penalty of being labeled anti-tax reform. (By the way, ATR -- a tax-exempt institution -- pays no federal taxes on its annual revenues of about $5 million per year, according to ATR tax forms.)
The current version of the Norquist Pledge states that signers will:
ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses; and TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.
Norquist emphasizes that his Pledge has no exceptions -- for war, natural disaster, or other misfortunes. For example, a signer of the Norquist Pledge isn't permitted to increase tax rates on America's 1% -- even if such changes would be revenue neutral, and/or are desperately needed for a national emergency.
Contrary to Norquist and ATR aims, most Americans favor increasing -- rather than capping -- the marginal tax rates of the top 1%. Further, our current marginal tax rates and tax loopholes reflect random political compromises; we can’t let them hobble our nation’s efforts to meet current and future challenges.
This is not a minor matter! At last count, 238 Representatives and 41 Senators committed to the Norquist Pledge. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney also signed the pledge -- which is binding for a politician's entire term in office.
To counter this harmful situation, I propose the Anti-Norquist Pledge shown above. I hope you will join me in signing it.
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Steven Strauss - Cambridge, Massachusetts
About the sponsor of the Anti-Norquist Pledge: Steven Strauss was founding Managing Director of the Center for Economic Transformation at the New York City Economic Development Corporation. He is an Advanced Leadership Fellow at Harvard University for 2011-2012. He has a Ph.D. in Management from Yale University with over 20 years private sector work experience.