Conservatives Urge No Compromise on Bush Tax Cut

By Jason Pierce | July 7, 2008 | 8:27 PM EDT

Arlington, Va. ( - President Bush's $1.6 trillion tax cut has overwhelming support from conservatives, but several leaders of the movement Friday called for even more changes, including a flat tax for all Americans. The panel discussion, "No Compromises: The Case for the Bush Tax Cut" was conducted as part of the three-day Conservative Political Action Conference taking place in Arlington, Va.

Grover Norquist, the head of Americans for Tax Reform, called for a revised system that would prevent the income of Americans from being taxed more than once and would make it more difficult for Congress to approve any tax increase.

"We need a system which taxes our income one time, at one rate, because we are all equal in the eyes of the government," Norquist said. "We also need a law that says it would take a two-thirds super-majority in Congress to raise taxes in the future."

Lew Uhler, of the National Tax Limitation Committee, said a flat tax is the only way to tax Americans "morally, equally and fairly." He also defended high-income citizens, who would stand to benefit the most from the Bush tax cut plan. Uhler said those who pay more taxes deserve more of a tax cut.

"Remember this: the top five percent of the income earners in this country pay 50 percent of the taxes while the bottom fifty percent of the taxpayers in this country pay only five percent of the taxes," Uhler said. "If you are going to give a tax cut, some of it is going to go to those who have paid the most."

Jim Martin, head of the organization, 60 Plus, which some refer to as the "conservative right hand of the AARP," focused on the effort in Congress to get rid of the so-called "death tax", or estate tax. Martin said senior citizens represented by his organization want immediate action taken on the tax, since it will affect them sooner than most.

"In my many years in Washington, I have seen a lot of taxes come, but not many go. For this one, it's time for it to go," Martin said. "The previous attempts to rid America of the death tax have been ten-year plans, where it is phased out gradually. The senior citizens I represent say, 'I may not have ten years.'"

Norquist also criticized the death tax, which, he said, often represents the fourth time government has taxed the same income.

"Americans are taxed three or four times: when they make their income, spend their income and save their income, and now with the death tax, the government takes half of your money after you have died," Norquist said. "We need to move to a system that taxes us one time at one rate."

Norquist admitted total tax reform will take time and a lot of effort.

"To the horror of the establishment, President Bush ... is going to do what he said. We are going to get a tax cut, one very similar to the $1.6 trillion President Bush has proposed, but it won't be fast and it will be a fight."

Karen Kerrigan of the Small Business Survival Committee moderated the panel discussion.