As a citizen, I deeply resent some born-rich turd like Grover Norquist extorting the complicity of Congress members with his Americans for Tax reform primary terror tactics. As far as I'm concerned, he is a domestic enemy of this nation and members should be fighting him, not licking his Prada loafers:
After a series of highly-regarded conservatives voiced their support for Doug Elmendorf, the director of the Congressional Budget Office whose term is up in January, Elmendorf haters fired back on Friday, urging Republicans to jettison the Democratic appointee as soon as possible.
Why? Because he is not a "superb economist" or a scrupulously impartial arbiter of national economic policy, as Harvard's Greg Mankiw and Stanford's Keith Hennessey have made him out to be. No, they argue, Elmendorf is a shill for liberal Democrats and CBO has had a lefty tilt ever since he got there six years ago.
This argument is advanced most forcefully in an open letter to GOP congressional leaders by Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, who works primarily as a political strategist. (Though, to be fair, he does have an MBA and a bachelors in economics from Harvard). Norquist, you may recall, is most famous as the author of the anti-tax pledge that binds virtually every Republican in Congress never to vote to raise taxes.
So why is Norquist against Elmendorf? For one thing, because CBO, under Elmendorf, has not demonized higher taxes. Instead, the agency promotes a "Failed Keynesian Economic Analysis," Norquist says, that asserts that "higher taxes are good for the economy, even to the point of implying that growth is maximized when tax rates are 100 percent."
Did the CBO really say that a 100 percent tax rate would be good for the economy? As evidence, Norquist points to a 2010 post by the Cato Institute's Dan Mitchell, titled "Congressional Budget Office Says We Can Maximize Long-Run Economic Output with 100 Percent Tax Rates."
"I hope the title of this post is an exaggeration," Mitchell writes, "but it’s certainly a logical conclusion based on" CBO's claim that paying down the national debt -- regardless of whether it's through higher taxes or lower government spending -- would be a good thing for the economy.
"There’s nothing necessarily wrong with CBO’s concern about deficits," Mitchell goes on. But "what’s missing from CBO’s analysis is any recognition or understanding that the real problem is excessive government spending."
In other words, what's missing is conservative ideology about fiscal policy.