Who is Grover Norquist?
Grover Norquist is the founder and president of the conservative tax advocacy group Americans for Tax Reform, a group that advocates for lower taxes and smaller government. The son of a former Polaroid Corporation vice-president, Norquist lived a very comfortable life during his upbringing and received an excellent education in one of Massachusetts best public schools and a college education from Harvard University. Once he graduated with his B.A. and M.B.A., he went on to become an executive director of the National Tax Payers Union. From there he started Americans for Tax Reform group in 1985. Since then he has become a major player in the modern conservative movement with his famous “Taxpayer Protection Pledge.” In the pledge, signers promise to “oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses; and oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.”
Why does a man who has never held public office in his life have so much influence on governmental affairs? It just doesn’t seem to make sense to most as to why Norquist has such an influence over Republican tax policy. Look no further than the people he is associated with for that answer.
Norquist is a member of one to the most powerful non-governmental organizations in the United States, the Council on Foreign Relations. The CFR, as many call it, is a global affairs think tank that is dominated by the American upper class. The CFR is the bridge between the nation’s wealthiest individuals and its politicians, bringing them together under one organization to essentially craft the future of American foreign policy. Membership to the organization is not for everyone; one must be invited by an existing member of the organization for one to even be considered by the Board of Directors.
It is through this channel that many CFR members receive government appointments to a variety of positions within the government. Norquist surely uses an organization such as the CFR to create connections for funding and political support from conservatives.
The CFR just tops the list of organizations that he is involved with; he is also a board member of the National Rifle Association and the American Conservative Union.
The Future of the pledge and Norquist
The last few days have not been promising for pledge supporters, as of yesterday John Boehner admitted that tax increases on wealthy Americans is inevitable and will be a part of a future fiscal cliff deal. Suddenly the future does not seem very bright for Norquist and his anti-tax pledge, but what will become of him next?
Unfortunately for his critics, Norquist and his pledge aren’t going away any time soon. His connections are far too deep within the Republican Party for him to disappear completely. Norquist is a behind the scenes leader, a product of the American upper class, who has almost limitless connections to politicians and those with power and wealth. Even though many Republican politicians have publicly denounced his pledge, that doesn’t mean that they have broken ties with Mr. Norquist entirely. His exclusive influence and ideas will still lead the way for the Republican Party into the 2014 and 2016 elections whether we are aware of it or not.