One Oath to Rule Them All
You’d think the oath that mattered most to our elected leaders would be this one:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.
Republicans, however, seem to be in thrall to an entirely different oath:
I will: ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rate for individuals and business; and TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.
That is the oath to Republican lobbyist Grover Norquist that almost every single Republican member of Congress and every single Republican presidential contender (except Jon Huntsman) has taken.
Why does it matter?
Let’s take the example of the super committee. Here’s Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), one of the Democrats who served on the committee, explaining how Republican lobbyist Grover Norquist was the “13th member” of the super committee and how his so-called “taxpayer protection pledge” solidified the GOP’s continued unwillingness to make the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share:
Kerry: “But unfortunately, this thing about the Bush tax cuts and the pledge to Grover Norquist keeps coming up. Grover Norquist has been the 13th member of this committee without being there. I can’t tell you how many times we hear about ‘the pledge, the pledge.’ Well all of us took a pledge to uphold the Constitution and to full and faithfully and well-execute our duties and I think that requires us to try and reach an agreement.”
And, as Grover Norquist proudly told 60 Minutes this past Sunday, no Republican has voted for an increase in individual income tax rates since 1990 — 21 years ago.
What It Means: An Oath Of, By, and For the 1 Percent
The GOP’s oath to Grover Norquist has serious practical consequences — consequences that are bad for our country. Here’s just a few examples of what Republicans oppose en masse as a result of the oath they apparently hold most dear:
- Republicans oppose making the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share
- Republicans oppose making huge corporations pay their fair share (or even any taxes at all in some cases)
- Republicans oppose ending unfair tax loopholes that allow millionaires and billionaires to pay a lower tax rate than middle class Americans
- Republicans oppose ending unfair handouts to hedge fund billionaires
- Republicans oppose ending tens of billions of dollars in handouts to Big Oil
- Republicans oppose ending unfair tax loopholes that pay companies to ship jobs overseas
- Republicans oppose ending unfair tax loopholes for vacation homes and yachts
- Republicans oppose ending unfair and ridiculous tax loopholes for things like wealthy horse breeders or corporate jets
And in these deficit-obsessed times, we know that unfair government handouts to millionaires, oil companies, and giant corporations have to be made up by cutting spending elsewhere in the budget. So refusing to make everyone pay their fair share means programs that benefit the other 99 Percent each and every day get cut deeper as a result of the taxpayer-funded handouts going to the top 1 Percent.
IN ONE SENTENCE: The only oath our elected leaders should take is to the Constitution, not one to a Republican lobbyist who embodies an unfair system rigged to benefit the top 1 Percent.
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