Grover Norquist

President and Founder

Americans for Tax Reform



“Norquist is reportedly an admirer of Vladimir Lenin, and David Brock's Blinded by the Right stated that Norquist had a portrait of Lenin on his living-room wall.” Wikipedia   That explains everything that follows about Grover Norquist. 



Grover Norquist is probably the single most influential person outside the government in America.  He is president and founder of the highly influential political action committee "Americans for Tax Reform" which is devoted to lower taxes.  Norquist has a reputation for rather blunt comments and has a long list of people and organizations he likes to blame for all the problems he sees with America.  His number one choice of course is "liberals" followed by unions, trial lawyers, government, and just about anyone who fails to conform to his view of the world.


Like his contemporary, Stephen Moore, Norquist believes in limited government and lower taxes.  His stated goal is to reduce the federal government to a size so small "that it could be drowned in a bathtub."  Norquist exemplifies Gordon Gekko style greed and elevates it to a world class sporting event.


Americans for Tax Reform describes itself as "a coalition of taxpayer groups, individuals and businesses opposed to higher taxes at both the federal and state levels. ATR organizes the TAXPAYER PROTECTION PLEDGE, which asks all candidates for federal and state office to commit themselves in writing to oppose tax increases." 


ATR was originally founded inside the Reagan White House and later became officially independent. 


Very closely tied to the Republican party, Norquist was on the campaign staff on the 1988, 1992, and 1996 Republican Platform Committees, and formerly was Executive Director of the College Republicans.  But his closed ties with the Republican party cannot disguise his tactics or motivations.


"Norquist calls it the ‘Leave-Us-Alone Coalition’ a grouping of gun owners, the Christian right, homeschoolers, libertarians, and business leaders that he has almost single-handedly managed to unite. The common vision: an America in which the rich will be taxed at the same rates as the poor, where capital is freed from government constraints, where government services are turned over to the free market, where the minimum wage is repealed, unions are made irrelevant, and law-abiding citizens can pack handguns in every state and town. ‘My ideal citizen is the self-employed, homeschooling, IRA-owning guy with a concealed-carry permit,’ says Norquist. ‘Because that person doesn't need the goddamn government for anything. 

Mother Jones Feature on Norquist



According to a New York Times columnist Paul Krugman article:


"In Norquist's vision, America a couple of decades from now will be a place in which elderly people make up a disproportionate share of the poor, as they did before Social Security. It will also be a country in which even middle-class elderly Americans are, in many cases, unable to afford expensive medical procedures or prescription drugs and in which poor Americans generally go without even basic health care. And it may well be a place in which only those who can afford expensive private schools can give their children a decent education."




Grover Norquist is a creature of the 19th century, the golden age of the 'Robber Barons'.  His ideal presidential administration was William McKinley's, devoted to the prosperity of the Robber Barons, and in turn, complete subservience of the lower and middle classes to the wealthy ruling class.


"Yes, the McKinley era, absent the protectionism," he agrees, is the goal. "You're looking at the history of the country for the first 120 years, up until Teddy Roosevelt, when the socialists took over. The income tax, the death tax, regulation, all that." -- Grover Norquist


This is the McKinley that Norquist so admires.  Justifying the annexation of the Philippines, McKinley famously explained America's purpose in the world:

"There was nothing left for us to do but to take them all, and to educate the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize and Christianize them, and by God's grace do the very best we could by them, as our fellow men for whom Christ also died."

Sounds like 'nation building'.




"Admittedly, labor mobility is not the sine qua non of hemispheric free trade: that honor belongs exclusively to Trade Promotion Authority. Empowering President Bush (and every president after him, for that matter) with Trade Promotion Authority will ultimately make labor mobility throughout the hemisphere less of a concern by eliminating the punitive taxes on imports that kill job creation in developing nations and close access to markets to our south."

--  Testimony of Grover Norquist to the Senate Judiciary Committee, September 7, 2001



Shortly after Bill Clinton was elected president of the United States in 1992, Norquist began hosting a weekly get-together of conservatives in his Washington office to coordinate activities and strategy. "We were sort of like the Mensheviks after the Russian Revolution," recalls Marshall Wittmann, who attended the first meeting as a representative of the Christian Coalition. The "Wednesday Meeting" of Norquist's Leave Us Alone Coalition has become an important hub of conservative political organizing. George W. Bush began sending a representative to the Wednesday Meeting even before he formally announced his candidacy for president. "Now a White House aide attends each week," reported USA Today in June 2001. "Vice President Cheney sends his own representative. So do GOP congressional leaders, right-leaning think tanks, conservative advocacy groups and some like-minded K Street lobbyists. The meeting has been valuable to the White House because it is the political equivalent of one-stop shopping. By making a single pitch, the administration can generate pressure on members of Congress, calls to radio talk shows, and political buzz from dozens of grassroots organizations. It also enables the White House to hear conservatives vent in private — and to respond — before complaints fester"



During an interview on the National Public Radio show Fresh Air, Norquist claimed that the estate tax is just as immoral as genocide, because both target only a minority of the population:

 NORQUIST:   That's the morality of the Holocaust. "Well, it's only a small percentage," you know. "I mean, it's not you, it's somebody else." [...]

TERRY GROSS:   Excuse me. Excuse me one second. Did you just --

NORQUIST:      Yeah?

TERRY GROSS:     -- compare the estate tax with the Holocaust?

NORQUIST:     No, the morality that says it's OK to do something to do a group because they're a small percentage of the population is the morality that says that the Holocaust is OK because they didn't target everybody, just a small percentage. What are you worried about? It's not you. It's not you. It's them. And arguing that it's OK to loot some group because it's them, or kill some group because it's them and because it's a small number, that has no place in a democratic society that treats people equally. [...]

TERRY GROSS:   So you see taxes as being the way they are now terrible discrimination against the wealthy comparable to the kind of discrimination of, say, the Holocaust?

NORQUIST:     Well, what you pick -- you can use different rhetoric or different points for different purposes, and I would argue that those who say, 'Don't let this bother you; I'm only doing it' -- I, the government. The government is only doing it to a small percentage of the population. That is very wrong. And it's immoral. They should treat everybody the same. They shouldn't be shooting anyone, and they shouldn't be taking half of anybody's income or wealth when they die.


What Norquist conveniently left out of his example was that 90% of IRS tax code is devoted to the wealthy and their zeal for tax loop holes, and corporations who open a post office box in the Caribbean and call that their 'corporate headquarters' in order to avoid paying U.S. tax as a registered U.S. corporation.



The following is a portion of a transcript of Bill Moyers interviewing Norquist. 

BILL MOYERS: But what about those real people we saw in that film, the woman who needed the health insurance, who needed the health coverage, who was going to have to take $400 out of her $800 a month salary to meet medical costs that she didn't have?  

GROVER NORQUIST: I think you have to look at the total level of what government does to her in terms of the taxes that they impose on...

BILL MOYERS: She's not paying much taxes, though, at $800 a month.

GROVER NORQUIST: And she's got...well, she's paying sales tax in that state, she's paying Social Security taxes in that state.

BILL MOYERS: But aren't all of those taxes sort of the membership dues we pay for living in a cooperative and collaborative society?

GROVER NORQUIST: Well, first we have to decide what we want the government to do. What is it legitimate to require with force people to pay for? It is not charity. I mean, guys with guns will show up if you don't pay your taxes and take that money from you. And I think that we want in order to have a free society to have as little as possible done coercively. 

Transcript of Bill Moyers interviewing Norquist


OK then we free this woman of taxes, so that guys with guns won't show up at her door, but then Norquist never stated how this woman will pay her $400 health insurance bill on $800 per month.  When all is said, Norquist says nothing to help grannie though he implies that is his intent.