October 20, 2021

Who’s afraid of Grover Norquist?

Deloitte Tax Expert Makes Statement That He’s Likely to Regret

“If there are Republicans who break with Grover Norquist’s position, I think that’s an important thing,” said Clint Stretch, managing principal of tax policy at Deloitte Tax LLP in Washington.

“I think it signals a willingness on their part to have the fight with him over whether every tax expenditure is a legitimate reduction in effective tax rate, or whether there are some that should be regarded the way they regard spending programs.” [Bloomberg, Earlier, Earlier]

If You Ever Attend a Meeting Run by Grover Norquist, Know That Your Coffee and Bagel Consumption Will Be Tracked

Bloomberg has a profile of Americans Tax Refund Founder and spending hatchet-man Grover Norquist out today and if you’re not familiar with the man or his mission, you’d think he was the scariest Swede since snark and sass into otherwise dry debates but others don’t see it that way.

Exhibit 1: Former Senator Alan Simpson, is quoted as saying, “If you are in thrall to Grover Norquist,” the Wyoming Republican who co-led the debt panel said he told the group in February, “this country hasn’t got a prayer.”

Exhibit 2: Rep. Chris Van Hollen’s (D-MD) assessment:

“Until Republicans are more afraid of the deficit than they are of Grover Norquist, we’re going to have a problem,” said Representative Christopher Van Hollen of Maryland, the top Democrat on the Budget Committee.

And I suppose, if you are a Democrat, a relatively pragmatic Republican or a cancer survivor (or a nonprofit that fights cancer) Grover could be pretty scary. He doesn’t take too kindly to those in the GOP who want to raise taxes or eliminate reductions or credits that aren’t matched with further reductions in taxes. You can just ask Tom Coburn:

Norquist has attacked Senator Tom Coburn, a onetime member of the Gang of Six, because the Oklahoma Republican raised the possibility of eliminating tax breaks. Norquist said if Coburn agreed to a tax increase “he was elected on a lie.”

Now, based on that, you may get the impression that Norquist is simply a bearded Sarah Palin but you’d be wrong. Bloomberg reports that he while he does sit on the board of the NRA, he also is an adviser to GOProud and that his wife is a Kuwaiti-born Muslim.

But what may make Grover so scary-good at holding people’s feet to the fire is his attention to detail. To be a tax and fiscal wonk, you kinda need to be obe made that way but Bloomberg gives us the impression that his wonkiness transcends simple Federal government matters:

Norquist, who peppers his conversation with comic voices, Chekhov quotes and references to the movie “Grease,” is big on numbers. He knows what year his meeting reached an average of 80 people and when it grew to 100. He keeps charts on how much coffee and how many bagels are consumed, and his staff counts the attendees every 15 minutes so he can graph the flow.

So for any aspiring Grovers or Grovettes out there, this is what you’re emulating. Best start with the simple stuff.

No-Tax ‘Zealot’ Norquist Emerges as Barrier to U.S. Debt Deal [Bloomberg]