Editor’s note: This video interview with Newsmax.TV took place Wednesday, in advance of President Barack Obama’s bipartisan parley with congressional leaders today.
President Barack Obama is trying to “pretend to work” with Republicans on raising the U.S. borrowing limit, says Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist.
“The only time Obama — who’s been a very partisan, political president — the only time he even listens to the Republicans, or asks their opinion, or tries to pretend to work with them is when he absolutely has to have their votes for something, such as the debt limit,” Norquist says in an exclusive Newsmax.TV interview.
The Treasury Department says it will run out of money to pay the nation’s bills on Aug. 2.
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"As long as we get a dollar of spending restraint, a dollar of spending cuts for every dollar of debt ceiling, that's what Speaker [John] Boehner has demanded as the minimum . . . Republicans will not except anything less than their minimal demand, which is you want a trillion dollar debt ceiling increase, you got to have a trillion dollars in spending reduction.
"I think that's sound policy, sound politics, and it's eminently reasonable," Norquist says.
GOP lawmakers have made it clear that they're not going to raise taxes to curb the skyrocketing debt, the anti-tax crusader tells Newsmax.
Obama wants to “argue that the problem is that the peasants are not sending enough money in to Washington,” Norquist contends. “The American people are not under-taxed.”
Rather, the president and Democrat leaders on Capitol Hill are spending too much money, he says.
“The only way to solve an overspending problem is to spend less. Raising taxes doesn't solve the problem it enables the problem.”
Congress has voted to increase the borrowing limit 16 times since 1993, including the latest bump in February of 2010 to $14.29 trillion.
Some Republican senators, including Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Jim DeMint of South Carolina, say the president’s Aug. 2 debt ceiling deadline doesn’t mean anything. Instead of raising the limit, the Treasury could avoid a default by using the ample government tax revenues in combination with possibly shutting down parts of the federal government to meet debt servicing obligations, they explain.
Speaking during the Twitter town hall meeting at the White House on Wednesday, Obama said, “The debt ceiling should not be something that is used as a gun against the heads of the American people to extract tax breaks for corporate jet owners, for oil and gas companies that are making billions of dollars because the price of gasoline has gone up so high."
Norquist counters that Democrat claims of raising taxes only on "businesses and the rich are taxes on small businesses. Most small businesses actually pay the personal income rate. So when you 'raise taxes on high income individuals' you're also raising taxes on small businesses . . . when you tax oil companies, you're raising the price of gasoline for every American. That's not a tax on rich people. It's not a tax on Exxon. It's a tax on people who drive cars.”
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is taking on Norquist directly. The Hill reports that Reid said, "the Republican Party has been taken over by ideologies either devoted to, or terrified by, Grover Norquist and his no-tax pledge, whatever that means.”
All but 13 Republican members of Congress have signed Norquist’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which is a commitment to fight a net increase in federal taxes.
Only two Democrats have signed, and Norquist tells Newsmax, “it disappoints me that more Democrats have not taken the pledge, but it doesn’t surprise me.
“The number one difference between the two parties is their willingness or unwillingness to raise taxes, Norquist asserts. “Republicans have committed to not raising taxes.
“Democrats refuse to say out loud, ‘We’re trying to raise your taxes.’ They use a thousand different euphemisms. That means they’re embarrassed by what they’re doing.”
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