The Corner

Norquist on Tax Deal

Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, tells National Review Online that a tentative tax deal between President Obama and the GOP is “a much bigger victory than people see” for the Republicans.

Of course the deal isn’t perfect, Norquist says. He would have preferred a permanent extension of the income-tax rates, as opposed to just two years, but thinks Republicans should be thrilled at the prospect of revisiting the tax debate in 2012, when Obama is up for reelection, especially when the agreed-upon extension of jobless benefits will ensure that the unemployment rate remains artificially high.

According to Norquist, this GOP victory is really a failure on the part of Democrats, who had every opportunity to extend most of the Bush tax rates (and to take the political credit). Their failure to do so not only exposes the party’s ideological commitment to higher taxes, but puts them on poor footing politically. “Look at the last four years,” he says. “They never intended to extend the rates for anyone, or they’d have done it by now.”

Norquist says Republicans should be especially pleased with the proposal to reestablish the estate tax at a rate of 35 percent (for two years), given Democrats’ desire to return to a permanent rate of 55 percent after going all of 2010 without any estate tax whatsoever. “Think about how badly Democrats wanted [a return to a 55 percent rate],” he says. “They were willing to suck it up for a whole year . . . all those lucky dead people who weren’t sufficiently looted.”  Now 35 percent becomes the new baseline, and Democrats are fighting a losing battle.

If the Democrats are losing this fight now, with large majorities in both houses of Congress, it will only get much worse for them when Republicans take over the House and install a cloture-proof coalition in the Senate in 2011, as the debate over taxes continues in the next Congress.

Norquist thinks this deal on taxes has the GOP off to a good start. “Any time there’s a deal, you go, ‘We could’ve done better,’” he says. “But you could’ve done a lot worse.”

Andrew Stiles — Andrew Stiles is a political reporter for National Review Online. He previously worked at the Washington Free Beacon, and was an intern at The Hill newspaper. Stiles is a 2009 ...

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Elizabeth Warren Is Not Honest

If you want to run for office, political consultants will hammer away at one point: Tell stories. People respond to stories. We’ve been a story-telling species since our fur-clad ancestors gathered around campfires. Don’t cite statistics. No one can remember statistics. Make it human. Make it relatable. ... Read More
White House

More Evidence the Guardrails Are Gone

At the end of last month, just as the news of the Ukraine scandal started dominating the news cycle, I argued that we're seeing evidence that the guardrails that staff had placed around Donald Trump's worst instincts were in the process of breaking down. When Trump's staff was at its best, it was possible to draw ... Read More
National Review

Farewell

Today is my last day at National Review. It's an incredibly bittersweet moment. While I've only worked full-time since May, 2015, I've contributed posts and pieces for over fifteen years. NR was the first national platform to publish my work, and now -- thousands of posts and more than a million words later -- I ... Read More
Economy & Business

Andrew Yang, Snake Oil Salesman

Andrew Yang, the tech entrepreneur and gadfly, has definitely cleared the bar for a successful cause candidate. Not only has he exceeded expectations for his polling and fundraising, not only has he developed a cult following, not only has he got people talking about his signature idea, the universal basic ... Read More
Culture

Feminists Have Turned on Pornography

Since the sexual revolution of the 1960s, the feminist movement has sought to condemn traditional sexual ethics as repressive, misogynistic, and intolerant. As the 2010s come to a close, it might be fair to say that mainstream culture has reached the logical endpoint of this philosophy. Whereas older Americans ... Read More
White House

The Impeachment Defense That Doesn’t Work

If we’ve learned anything from the last couple of weeks, it’s that the “perfect phone call” defense of Trump and Ukraine doesn’t work. As Andy and I discussed on his podcast this week, the “perfect” defense allows the Democrats to score easy points by establishing that people in the administration ... Read More