Tags: Grover | Norquist | tax | pledge

Grover Norquist’s Real Goal

Tuesday, 27 Nov 2012 04:07 PM

By Ronald Kessler

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Ronald Kessler reporting from Washington, D.C. — Rather than focus on how to reduce government spending, Democrats and many in the media are busy demonizing Grover Norquist and his pledge politicians agree to sign promising never to raise taxes.

In their effort to portray the president of Americans for Tax Reform as sprouting horns, Norquist’s critics rarely mention what is behind his crusade. While Norquist believes we are paying too much in taxes, it’s not because he has an ideological aversion to supporting legitimate government functions. Rather, he believes that in too many cases, we are paying for waste.

grover-norquist-(AP)-(1).jpg
Grover Norquist believes that Americans are paying for government waste.
(AP Photo)
As noted in my story The Real Problem With Government Spending, those of us who have dealt with the federal government for decades have an impression that in most agencies, half the workers could be cut without impairing output or services.

Lacking a profit motive, workers in the government by and large have a different work ethic from those in private industry. When they could make one call, federal workers take a meeting. When they could find an answer on the Internet, they form a study committee. Instead of appointing one supervisor, they appoint five.

To be sure, there are exceptions. FBI agents, CIA officers, and the military work incredible hours and risk their lives to protect us. But even within those agencies, there are unnecessary levels of supervisors and support staff who could perform their work in half the time.

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Only when you are self-employed do you fully realize how much more efficient you become when your output directly correlates with how much money you make. But instead of looking for ways to save money, government agencies actually look for ways to spend more near the end of the fiscal year so Congress won’t reduce their outlays in the next budget year.

Incredibly, whenever I have proposed the theory that half of government workers could be cut, current and former federal employees I know have all agreed.

Yet after spending five hours interviewing Norquist, CBS’ “60 Minutes” ran a profile of him that never once mentioned that behind his efforts is a desire to cut government spending. As for his tax pledge, it is merely a way to hold politicians publicly accountable for the promises they make and often break.

Nor does Norquist fit the caricature of the right-wing nut the media and Democrats have conjured up. Married to Samah Norquist, a Muslim Palestinian born in Kuwait, Norquist stands up to those who portray all Muslims as terrorists.

Every year during the Islamic month of Ramadan, Norquist co-hosts Iftar, when Muslims break their fast. The inter-denominational event is held at the Alexandria home of Rafat (Ray) Mahmood, a Pakistani ambassador at large. The other co-host is Michael Chertoff, the former secretary of Homeland Security. Chertoff is Jewish; his father is an orthodox rabbi.

At the last Iftar, I was honored to be asked by Norquist to talk about my Newsmax story quoting former FBI Director William Webster denouncing as “morally wrong” those who portray all Muslims as threats, thus undercutting the war on terror.

Besides being gorgeous, Samah is, according to Norquist, “very good on taxes.”

Norquist also serves on the advisory board of GoProud, a political organization representing gay conservatives. Given that Americans for Tax Reform relies on contributions from a range of conservatives and conservative organizations, some of whom may disapprove of gays, it takes courage to support GoProud.

Every Wednesday morning at ATR headquarters on 12th Street NW, Norquist holds an off-the-record, invitation-only meeting of more than 150 representatives of conservative interest groups. They gather to exchange the latest intelligence on politics, strategy, and issues and to listen to presentations by members of Congress, congressional staffers, political candidates, pollsters, and authors.

A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard School of Business, Norquist punctuates the talks with an occasional joke and questions that pin down sources of statistics presenters may cite. Although he will lampoon what he calls “the other team,” he keeps the meetings respectful.

When a speaker complains of Democrats’ tactics, Norquist will ask whether Republicans engaged in the same tactics when they were in power. Often, the answer is yes.

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This is the man Democrats and many in the media have been vilifying. Now they are doing everything they can to divert attention from the need to cut spending and the spiraling debt — which exceeds $86.8 trillion, counting unfunded liabilities — by painting Norquist as a scary ideologue.

What is really scary is their disregard of the need to cut government spending to avert financial catastrophe.

Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. He is the New York Times bestselling author of books on the Secret Service, FBI, and CIA. Read more reports from Ronald Kessler — Click Here Now.

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