Low-tax crusader and Republican strategist Grover Norquist tells Newsmax that the spending cuts required by sequestration will in fact be implemented — and that’s a “good thing” because it will save billions of dollars over the next decade.
He also warns that President Barack Obama is willing to use executive orders to “smack down” any business that stands in the way of his left-wing ideology.
And he declares that a bill to raise the minimum wage is “very bad legislation” that will cost jobs.
Norquist is president of Americans for Tax Reform, whose Taxpayer Protection Pledge asks candidates to commit themselves in writing to oppose all tax increases.
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In his State of the Union address, Obama proposed new spending and more tax revenues, claiming he can spend without adding a dime to the deficit.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV, Norquist comments: “I don’t think he’ll be allowed to add to the deficit because the Republican House of Representatives will not vote for the massive spending proposals he’s put forward.
“I also doubt that the Democrat-controlled Senate will actually pass all of his wish lists because 20 of those Democrats have to run for re-election in 2014, and I don’t think their voters will appreciate it if they continue the tax-and-spend policies of the last four years.”
Senate Democrats have unveiled a $110 billion plan to delay sequestration that includes tax increases. Asked if Republicans are right not to accept that plan, Norquist responds: “Yes.”
“Sequestration will take effect,” Norquist says. “Interestingly, it was Obama’s idea. He put it forward, thinking it would pressure the Republicans to raise taxes. It failed to do that and now Obama has to live with a law that he supported, he wrote, he signed.
“It is a good thing. It saves about $100 billion a year for 10 years into the future. Are there ways to alter it by keeping the same dollars in savings but give different departments more flexibility? That’s an option. Republicans are open to that.
“But the dollar amount of savings cannot change and we certainly are not going to replace savings to taxpayers with tax increases ripping off taxpayers,” Norquist says.
“Republicans wanted something that hit defense a little less hard and shifted the reduction elsewhere. Democrats don’t want to do that. So there’s no place for a compromise. Raising taxes instead of cutting spending is not a compromise — that’s called losing,” he told Newsmax.
“The president wants to impose a national cap-and-trade energy tax and says he’s not afraid to use executive orders to push his agenda.”
Norquist observes: “He will try to do things through executive order because he’s not going to be able to raise taxes or spend additional money or change laws in a dramatically stupid way as long as the Republicans have the House of Representatives and as long as the Democrats are scared about getting re-elected in the Senate. There are some things he can do by executive order, but raising taxes is not part of that.
“Republicans will keep fighting for sequestration, for reducing spending, for investigating some of what appear to be corrupt deals that the Democrats have had with grants and with executive orders and regulations.
“Regulations have come from the Department of Labor even though the people making the [National Labor Relations Board] decisions were illegally — unconstitutionally, the courts have ruled — appointed during a nonperiod of recess.
“So Republicans have a lot of tools — taxpayers have a lot of tools —to fight the president’s efforts to do things by executive order. But he could do damage to fracking, he could slow down the pipeline to bring oil into the country through Nebraska, he could do a lot of things to slow and hurt job creation, and of course he has demonstrated for four years if it gets in the way of left-wing ideology, he’ll smack down any job, any business that he wants to.”
As for tax reform, “no pro-growth tax reform could pass the Senate; no pro-growth tax reform would be signed by the president,” Norquist says.
“But it’s a good idea for the Republicans in the House to design tax reform and come up with some alternatives, because it says here’s what we would do if there was a Republican Senate and a Republican president.”
Norquist has called Obamacare a half-trillion-dollar tax increase on the American people.
“There are over 20 taxes in Obamacare, and at least eight of them directly hit middle-class Americans,” he says. “They all hit middle-class Americans indirectly by hitting doctors and insurance companies and hospitals.
“So this is a very bad bill with a lot of damaging taxes and regulations. But we may have to wait until people see the damage before you can fix it.
“The three networks, even though the 3,000-page Obamacare legislation passed two years ago, haven’t covered what’s in there. Have you learned on network television about the 21 tax increases? The establishment press, which has been cheerleading for Obama, has not done its job informing the American people.”
The president wants to raise the minimum wage by 24 percent, saying it will help 15 million low-wage workers. But the Republican House seems reluctant to pass a minimum wage bill. Norquist believes they are acting wisely.
“We know from history that when the minimum wage was first put in, hundreds of thousands of people lost their jobs. It was particularly devastating to African-Americans.
“The minimum wage has a very sad history in terms of stopping people from getting their first jobs, stopping people who are untrained from getting trained at work. So the minimum wage is a very bad piece of legislation. It’s hurt people in the past and until we come to grips with the damaging history of it, why would anybody think of doing again something that’s already failed?”
Norquist also tells Newsmax that the immigration plan put forth by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has “some very good ideas. The outline he’s got is a fine starting place. We need to have border security. We need to have a path to legal status for people so that people in this country for years and their children don’t hide when the police come by, that they are secure in the jobs and their positions.
“But we need to defeat the labor unions, which are the guys who sculpted the present nonworking immigration laws we have. The center-right needs to get together and come up with a good immigration law recognizing that the labor unions are going to fight anything reasonable and we need a united conservative movement to beat the unions.”
Karl Rove’s American Crossroads has launched an effort to weed out GOP primary candidates it deems unacceptable, a move criticized by members of the tea party.
Norquist offers his take on the Republican in-fighting: “We need to look back at some of those races where people think the tea party nominated the wrong guy and realize that Harry Reid spent millions of dollars to interfere in the Republican primary to choose the candidate who couldn’t beat him and to stop the candidates who would have beat him. That wasn’t a tea party problem. That was the Democrats playing the Republican primary.
“[Todd] Akin in Missouri was not supported by the tea party groups. He was supported by the Democrat candidate, the incumbent, who ran ads pretending to attack him but really praising him for a solid conservative voting record.
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“Karl Rove and others have correctly pointed out: How did we end up with idiot candidates? Well, you end up with idiot candidates when the Democrats choose your candidates for you.”
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