What do you think of the campaign to get politicians to promise they will never raise taxes?

Some Republicans who signed a pledge not to raise taxes are showing signs of being willing to raise taxes after all. Grover Norquist, the organizer of the pledge effort, is denouncing them for “impure thoughts” and says their pledge is still binding, no matter how long ago they signed it. Today’s Question: What do you think of the campaign to get politicians to promise they will never raise taxes?

  • Phil

    I don’t think anyone voted for Grover Norquist. Who cares what he thinks or says?

  • Richard

    The interesting point about Mr. Norquist is not his hostility to big government but his analysis of politics. Voters shy from hard choices. My bet is that Americans will never give the Republicans a clean mandate to drown the sort of state they have now. Like voters everywhere, they want many impossible things before breakfast, including low taxes and all the things that high taxes pay for.

  • Emery

    That’s funny, last I checked the majority of the Republican base is retired (as in medicare-social security receiving) white males.

  • DNA

    I think it’s idiotic! Like attempting to achieve temperature control by either permanently tearing off a refrigerator door or locking it up completely.

    How about a campaign to get politicians (and people in general) re-educated about Cannabis sativa, the world’s most utilitarian plant? Since not one country has legalized it outright in all forms for ALL of its benefits, THIS, surely is reason for concern.

  • kim

    My first thought is that it was kind of a dumb promise in the first place. There might be a good reason to raise taxes, at some point. WWII, for example, was a pretty good reason to raise taxes. I think, if the Iraq War had been a well thought out, good idea, IT would have been a good reason to raise taxes. (I don’t think it was either of those things, but that’s beside the point.) If you have a special need and you have to pay for it, if you’re a government, you raise taxes. (If you’re a person, you defer purchases or work more hours.) Raising taxes isn’t some kind of sin. Sometimes it’s a necessity. It should be thought out, but that doesn’t mean it should never be done. When you use the techniques that were used here in MN (“We, the legislature, didn’t raise taxes, your local government did”) It’s hypocritical. And, in that scenario, the taxes that actually get raised affect those who have trouble paying the most. Like property taxes.

    So, it wasn’t a smart promise, IMO. Beyond that, why are “we” so worried about what Grover Norquist thinks? I’d like to see the folks who made that promise, get past it and move on to getting some real work done.

  • Elaine

    Odd, Republicans like to call Democrats fiscally irresponsible. I think that in the worst case Democrats might be called “tax and spend” but over the past 30 years the Republicans seem to be “borrow and spend” party which is far more morally bankrupt in my view.

  • Gary F

    It’s never enough, ask Cuba, Venezuela, California, Greece, France, Spain, and the list goes on.

    You can never tax enough to keep up with a Marxist insatiable government. You cant tax yourself into prosperity.

    No matter how much you tax “the rich” it will never be enough.

    Eventually, you run out of rich people to tax, they either leave or stop working.

    “the biggest problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of someone else’s money” Margaret Thatcher.

  • Steve the Cynic

    The only pledge an elected politician should be bound by is the oath of office (and other things unrelated to public service– contracts, marriage vows, etc).

  • Rich in Duluth

    In my opinion, such a pledge disqualifies a candidate for office. I want people in Congress who represent all of their constituents, not just the ones who voted for them. This requires compromise. There is no compromise with pledges such as this and we’ve seen the consequences. Legislation is supposed to be contentious and difficult, but, with no compromise, legislation is impossible.

  • John O.

    Phil pretty much nails it.

  • Ann

    If they would concentrate on giving companies incentives to hire and grow, they would have tons of money from the tax revenue of working people! On the other hand, Minnesotans love to pay taxes for sports stadiums and everything else. They voted in a lake and arts tax. I have been to some of the arts events that were funded through this program. There were a handful of people at the events.NBC news had a report the other night on some of the ridiculous vehicles that were bought through the Homeland Security program in the US. Government tax and waste is a part of the culture.

  • Jim G

    Pledges to not raise taxes such as the one Grover Norquist espouses are anti-American. Raising revenue is necessary to run our government. This Pledge has gridlocked Congress with its non-thinking pledgers blindly voting to obstruct every avenue to solve the Fiscal Cliff rapidly approaching.

    I haven’t done this in a while, but when one is fighting orthodox thinking such as this tax pledge one needs to refer to a higher authority. My Bible School training although many decades past still has its influences on my thinking: so what does the Bible says about rich people and pledges?

    Warning to Rich Oppressors. James 5: 1-4

    Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.

    Now pledges. James 5:12

    Above all, my brothers, do not swear- not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your “Yes” be yes, and your “No” be no, or you will be condemned.

  • Mike

    Grover Norquist and Gary F don’t seem to know what the intended purpose of taxes are. Margaret Thatcher is quoted, for real? What a way to limit your consciousness.

    I’m glad in the future we won’t be calling them “taxes”, which sounds tiring and draining. As it is now, in an artificially impoverished world brought about by prohibition, its hard to hear it otherwise.

  • Kurt Nelson

    It must be nice for Norquist and Krinke to live in the black and white world, but here in reality, where the rest of us live, these types of pledges are a joke. Sure, they get the base riled up, and on Faux news, this is like their mantra, but my question to those that sign – to what end is this silliness destined.

  • Gary F

    California keeps taxing, how come they can’t balance their budget?

    France is soaking the rich and it isn’t working.

  • Theresa

    Makes me wonder if there are any countries in the world that have a reasonable tax system that works well for the people and their habitat.

    Or is that prohibition thing keeping budgets from being balanced?

  • JasonB

    It’s a hollow promise, just like much of what they say. More accurately, it’s a slight-of-hand game. They will tell you one thing knowing it is just an appeasement, while doing or planning something else. It’s almost like wordplay; anything short of a legal description can easily be justified later if they do not follow through with their ‘promise’.

  • Wally

    How about a campaign to get politicians to sign pledges they won’t:

    1) raise spending

    2) try to bring more money to their state then their state’s taxpayers contribute

    3) spend money we don’t have

    4) spend money foolishly


    Fat chance.

  • P. Nielsen

    That is a ridiculous and silly idea and no elected official, or person desiring to become one, should be so stupid as to sign one or agree to that line of thinking. Look where it has gotten us…..I have no respect for, or trust, in people who stoop so low to get themselves elected to public office. It is irresponsible and panders to a public which is ill informed about how and why government exists and works for all citizens. Now, if we could only get rid of the aftermath of Citizens United and get to truly public funding of election races (and shorten the time for holding elections).

  • Joe in Minneapolis

    Norquist’s extremist tax-bashing pledge represents a clear instance of how rampant idealism can harm real society. He and his supporters have prioritized tax-bashing over all other political & economic considerations, and the fact that these pledges have produced no added value to society is consistently ignored. It is social cannibalism run amok.

  • Jim G

    Signing this no new tax pledge is simplistic and irrational.

    This past weekend I was deer hunting in Wisconsin. I stayed at my brother’s rural home. Saturday night the well pump stopped working. Water, the elixir of modern housing, stopped flowing. All hunting plans immediately stopped as we attempted restart the pump. The electrical connections were checked; but alas as the breaker was reset, it wouldn’t hold. Eventually, it became clear that the well could not be coaxed into producing another drop of water. The well man would have to be summoned on Monday. That meant no functioning toilet for my brother’s family for at least 24 hours. Not wanting to be an additional drain on the remaining emergency supply of water I ended my deer hunting one day early and headed home.

    Thankfully, my brother had not signed a pledge to never call the well/pump repairman should the flow of water (revenue) prove insufficient for the needs of his household.

  • david

    Moronic! I would really like to see a list of the idiots that put two wars, a large expansion of Medicare, and tax cuts for the rich on the credit card, then agreed to this brilliant idea. I just had to put over $8,000 in medical expenses on my credit card and i am now cutting expenses AND raising more income to get it taken care of BEFORE the next catastrophe hits. See how the REAL world works people?

  • Mary

    I think the whole concept is totally unreasonable and unworkable. I would like to see Grover Norquist and the Republicans who signed it to personally live on a frozen salary for the rest of their lives. Let them figure out how to pay for health care, groceries, gas, and everything else when the price goes up but their income doesn’t. Do they think they could cut their spending on a yearly basis for the rest of their lives and still afford to live? Perhaps because they have millions in the bank they could. The federal government doesn’t have a surplus in the bank to pad the way. Cutting unnecessary spending is fine, but you can only cut so much before you need to figure out how to get more income.

  • Kevin Watterson

    In eight years I’ve not seen anything more talked about yet less relevant.

  • Gordon near Two Harbors

    Any politician who signs a pledge with any group or individual is unqualified for public service.

    Politicians need to be pragmatic, rational, and forward-thinking. Most of all, they need to serve ALL of their constituants and enact policies that ensure a safe, prosperous future for this country.

  • James

    Grover Norquist’s campaign may be reprehensible, but it is also brilliant. So simple! So effective! So enduring! Such a force!

    Instead of bitching and moaning about it, how about countering it with similar, but more constructive campaigns? Some examples:

    A pledge to vote for no spending program without adequate funding. (A balanced budget pledge.)

    A pledge to vote for no budget that is not balanced. (A different balanced budget pledge.)

    A pledge to not run for a third term in the same office. (A personal term limit pledge.)

    A pledge to never vote for liberalization of gun laws. (An anti-NRA pledge.)

    If pledges work, let’s use them for the good of the nation, instead of simply complaining about pledges that already exist.

    Today’s comments sound like a lot of sour grapes!

  • GregX

    Grover Norquist lives in one district and gets one vote.

    Legislators, members of congress and political executives at all levels must be held to account by their constituents.

    That being said – if Grover Norquist wants to tear apart the Republican party … go ahead.

  • Lawrence in Mankato

    Are you all so narrow minded that you can’t see the real issues here? Note the Questions refers to the No new Taxes pledge vs. the actual main reason we are in such debt.

    If MPR was not so Progressive Liberal and less used to subtly attacking any opposition points to their Liberals views, we would see this Question of The Day written as not anti republican stance but rather_

    ” What do you think of the stance of the DFL politicians to promise they will never CUT SPENDING?”

    Obama signed away an additional $6 trillion…SIX TRILLION_ and he offers to make some $1trillion in cuts over the next 10 years? That is a stupid measly $100 billion per year in so called cuts when the cuts he has referred to, are actually nothing more than reducing the already expected RAISES to his programs!

    Tax the ones that provide jobs_ ? Obama cares less about your job just as the Union cared less about their members being employed, they effected Hostess company to close. 18,000 workers unemployed because of 200 employees in one of their 341 union sections refuses. Unions were no ,longer needed once our country had labor laws and safety laws in place. Now the Unions are blood sucking thugs, we all see that. They are no different than the DFL wanting more taxes ( taxes that would cover just 9 days of our total yearly Federal cost!) NINE FREEEKIN days.. Taxes will solve the issue of a Greece like debt? Oh please_ commies get in line while Obama works to see his lifelong goal of seeing a weaker America, one that he won’t have to apologize for__an America no longer able to protect freedoms and no longer a thorn in his deceased father’s side__ get a clue.

  • Grover is a creep

    Grover Nordquist is a secret Muslim with ties to the Muslim brotherhood. His no new taxes pledge is a plot to weaken the US infrastructure and military to aid in an al quida take over. And all but one Republican in office is in on it. “Impure thoughts” indeed. Just another typical tactic of the right-wing fascism machine calling others what they themselves are actually guilty of.

  • Linda in Plymouth

    Who can say exactly what Obama and Reid have as a plan to cut the deficit now that Obama is the one responsible for signing the bills that allowed our deficit to add another $1.28 trillion each year since he took office. Forget the fact that he gave grants of near $90 billion of the stimulus to failed Green Energy loans that were to companies where 90% were owned by his campaign contributors! The gov’s own records support that fact.

    So what does Obama offer as cuts to his wild spending? So far all he says is the savings are sort of like_ a savings, bit its just $ not spent when the troops come home from Afganistan an Pakistan.

    Add more taxes to the top 2%, to those that own companies that employ us, and the gov records say we will lose 700,000 jobs. That is more than the jobs lost when Obama cut drilling an closed the gulf for a year when it could have been closed for a month. Those drilling jobs are now overseas for good.

    Obama? you listening_ What is your spending cuts plan?

  • Linda in Plymouth

    Please do not think we can get our President to sign anything reasonable for that would go against his ideology. He says one thing and does the opposite, he breaks all promises he makes to get elected. To all you that worship this false “god” called Obama, Name three promises he has kept? Can’t. Tell us what HIS policy is to cut spending and reform entitlements and tax code? He can’t because he has NO plan. Anyone see his plan then show all of us right here. If not, then shut up.

    His air force trips and campaigning trips and family vacations cost all of us over $2 billion in just 4 years. Does he really need to spend our money that way? He says we all have to have skin in the game_ yet he doesn’t sacrifice a thing. He even has his own White House full time home theater projectionist. Obama with no experience has led us to the brink_ Transform that and Hope for a cure in 2016

  • lawrence P.

    Linda , apparently from the eastern block, probably has it correct. So where is President Obama’s plan on how the would cut spending? Taxes cover 8-9 days of our yearly debt shortfall.

  • Jefferson

    We need to stop being so selfish, it’s so easy to demand higher taxes on other people…especially the rich. No one knows facts and understands the actual rates that each group pays. It’s time to make real changes to the tax system so that the rates are lower, more people pay FIT, we remove special interest from the tax code, make capital gains tax rates the same as normal income and increase revenue. Of course we can protect the poor (with a standard deduction of $20k/year) and then every dollar after that point is taxed at a 20% rate and then increase the tax rate to 25% at $250k/year. That accomplishes all the goals I just mentioned, it covers the concerns of both Republicans and Democrats while increasing revenue.

    I’m waiting for politicians in Washington to come to a compromise similar to this plan. They should be asking all people to make sacrifices, not just the rich…where are the JFK Democrats who are asking all American people to sacrifice for their country instead of demanding the easy option (which solves less than 10% of the deficit problem we face) by asking only the rich to pay more?

  • Steve the Cynic

    Linda, I don’t know of anyone who worships Obama as a god, false or otherwise. I do, however, know lots of folks with a superstitious and almost religious faith in the Invisible Hand of the Free Market to solve all of our problems, establish justice, guarantee freedom, raise up the poor, help the helpless, defend the defenseless, heal the sick, make the simple wise, strengthen the weak, reward the righteous, punish the wicked, and generally do all the stuff people with sincere religious faith expect God to do. Folks who believe that are just as wrong as those who think Government is best able do all those things. The Economy is the biggest false god in America. Is the Economy treating us well? If not, we must offer sacrifices to appease it: cut social programs, let businesses polute our environment and despoil the ecosystem, accept lower wages, etc.

  • Jay Johnson

    The politicians take and oath of office to the people that elected them. The pledge is to the people that are trying to buy their favors. In other countries we call their politicians corrupt, here we say money is free speech and you can use speech to buy your politicians so it is not corruption. It is free speech.