Grover Norquist is a busy guy, what with heading up Americans for Tax Reform and making regular media appearances around the country in support of tax sanity. He normally remains focused on that one key (and admittedly important) issue, but on occasion he can wander off into brief bouts of hyperbole. That may be what took place when he sat down for an interview with National Journal. He starts off displaying an unusually satisfied tone, saying that 2011 was actually a pretty good year for tax hawks, and he expects more of the same in 2012.
Even Obama is not going to want to raise taxes, because it’s an election year. He came up with this idea for the one-year tax holiday so he could claim that he’s for a tax cut. Mind you, it’s a temporary tax cut, but he does not want to run as a tax increaser. I think we’re in reasonably good shape.
Between now and November, I believe we will see a one-year extension of the FICA tax [cut]. I believe we will see the extension of [the break on] depreciation spending. And then the third one that you could have is repatriation. If I was Obama’s political consultant, I’d have put repatriation on the table when he extended the Bush-era tax cuts by two years [in 2010]. The estimates are that it would bring $6 [billion] to $800 billion back.
But the conversation took a bit of a turn when the reporter raised the possibility that Barack Obama might still win a second term. Were that to happen, the possibility certainly exists that he would allow some or all of the Bush era tax cuts to expire. What then?
Obama can sit there and let all the tax [cuts] lapse, and then the Republicans will have enough votes in the Senate in 2014 to impeach. The last year, he’s gone into this huddle where he does everything by executive order. He’s made no effort to work with Congress.
Amazingly, National Journal doesn’t take the bait on that provocative bit of speculation, so Norquist doesn’t have the opportunity to expand on it. I rather wish they had, since it would be interesting to see precisely which grounds he thinks the Senate could use to attempt the removal of Barack Obama from office. The simple act – or, to be more precise, lack of action – of allowing a legally passed set of tax cuts with a built in expiration date to lapse hardly sounds like something which would qualify as High Crimes and Misdemeanors. Further, signing executive orders is clearly not outside the bounds of the office, nor is being obstinate about “working with Congress.”
It might be safer to assume that Grover was just taking a moment to pose a hypothetical extreme while stressing the importance of electing a Republican this fall to avoid disaster on the tax front. If it’s anything more than that, we’ll need him to follow up. Either way, stressing lower taxes and reduced spending is a far more profitable line of thinking than daydreaming about impeachment hearings.