Norquist: GOP Can Cut Deal With Obama to Reform Taxes, Not Increase Them

By Christopher Goins | November 9, 2012 | 1:49pm EST

Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist. (AP photo)

– Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) President Grover Norquist told that House Republicans can cut a deal with President Obama to reform taxes as long as it doesn’t result in a net increase in taxes and not violate ATR's tax pledge. Editor-In-Chief Terry Jeffrey asked the tax reform advocate whether House Republicans could make a deal with Obama and not violate ATR’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge: “(I)n your view, the Republicans in the House can cut a tax deal with President Obama -- as long as it’s not a net increase in taxes?”

Norquist said: “Yes. Absolutely. Tax reform is a good idea, should be done and hopefully Obama won’t get in the way.”

More people working as a result of pro-growth policies, and the federal government taking in more revenue because of economic growth, is not a violation of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, Norquist says.

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The Taxpayer Protection Pledge is a promise in writing from candidates to their constituents that says that they pledge to not raise taxes. Candidates on both the federal and state level have taken the Pledge. .

The Pledge specifically obligates the signer to oppose “any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rate for individuals and business” and to “oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollars by further reducing tax rates.”

When asked what would be and what would not be an acceptable change in the federal tax laws, according to the pledge, Norquist explained: “Sure, if you cut the capital gains tax, that would reduce the disincentive to work, saving and investment. You’d have more economic growth. The government would actually get more revenue.”

“Cutting the capital gains tax from 15 to 10 percent would get the government more revenue because more people would be working. That’s not a tax increase. That’s a good thing. If you cut marginal tax rates, as Reagan did, and you have more people going to work, therefore paying total higher tax burden in the economy, that’s okay because you didn’t raise taxes. You increased the number of people working,” he continued.

“So when Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Wednesday that “he was opposed to raising tax rates but pro-growth policies,” Norquist recalled, “that led to more people working and more revenue because the economy is stronger, that’s a good idea. And it’s certainly acceptable within the pledge.”

“An increase in the marginal income tax rates, capital gains tax rate, and estate tax rates, are all ‘off the table,’” Norquist said, adding that anything "revenue-neutral" doesn't violate the pledge.

According to ATR, 279 members of Congress have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, including House Speaker Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), as well as Democratic Reps. Rob Andrews (D-N.J.) and Ben Chandler (R-Ky.).

In the Senate, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), are signers.

The entire interview with Norquist was conducted for CNS-TV's “Online with Terry Jeffrey,” on the Web site.

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