Anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist — the president of Americans for Tax Reform — has gotten most of the Republican members of Congress to sign his anti-tax pledge, which says that the signing lawmaker will not raise taxes under any circumstances. Last night, during an interview with The Daily Show’s Samantha Bee, Norquist revealed the absurdity of this position, explaining that he is not okay with the government raising taxes even in cases of war, natural disasters, “beard flu,” or to fight “the rise of the apes”:
BEE: Is there a scenario in which you would be comfortable with someone raising taxes?
BEE: No? War?
NORQUIST: Right now the federal government spends about four percent of GDP on national defense.
BEE: Natural disaster?
NORQUIST: Okay, your house gets knocked down and the federal government is going to raise your taxes? That makes you better off?
BEE: Beard flu?
NORQUIST: Beard flu, I’m not familiar with that.
BEE: What about the rise of the apes?
NORQUIST: If, there, look, there are legitimate [cut off]
BEE: If the chimps took over would you be comfortable raising taxes?
NORQUIST: We’d prefer that not to happen. But I think raising taxes would not solve that.
Norquist then explained that he thought up the ATR pledge when he was 12, prompting Bee to ask, “what other impossibly reductive gridlock inducing ideas did you have when you were 12?”
This interview laid quite bare the absurdity of the ATR position, as the organization believes that there is literally no circumstance, even a global calamity, that justifies the need for more federal revenue. And ATR’s stance has brought Norquist into conflict not only with progressives, but with Republicans as well. “I didn’t know I was signing a marriage agreement that would last forever and I think that the majority of members of Congress understand that you have to have additional revenue,” said GOP Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID).