On today’s Post editorial page, Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist is quoted as saying that allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire would not be considered a tax increase or a violation of ATR’s no-tax pledge. “Not continuing a tax cut is not technically a tax increase,” Norquist told The Post editorial board. So it doesn’t violate the pledge, they asked? “We wouldn’t hold it that way,” he replied.
As I point out in my online column today, the Gang of Six plan (which assumes expiration of the Bush tax cuts) constitutes a massive, $3 trillion hidden tax increase — and Grover’s statement indicating otherwise provoked an immediate reaction from conservatives across the capital.
I asked Club for Growth spokesman Barney Keller whether the Club agreed with Grover’s statement. He replied immediately: “Returning to the pre-Bush tax rates would be an enormous tax increase and do massive harm to economic growth. The Club for Growth would vigorously oppose such a move.”
Since then, Grover has clarified his comments on the tax pledge. In a statement on the ATR Web site, he declares:
ATR opposes all tax increases on the American people. Any failure to extend or make permanent the tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, in whole or in part, would clearly increase taxes on the American people. In addition, the failure to extend the AMT patch would increase taxes. The outlines of the plans are deliberately hazy, but it appears that both Obama’s Simpson-Bowles commission proposal and the Gang-of-Six proposal dramatically increase taxes on the American people.
It is a violation of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge to trade temporary tax reductions for permanent tax hikes.
Read the full statement here.