“My View” from the Oct. 26, 2012, edition of “Viewpoint with Eliot Spitzer.”
Have Mitt Romney and his anti-tax Rasputin Grover Norquist finally met their match? For years Norquist has almost single-handedly led our Congress down a destructive one-dimensional path of refusal to consider any revenue increases as part of meaningful fiscal policy.
By persuading 279 members of Congress to take a no-tax pledge, he has hamstrung every effort to address long-term issues: the basic inequities in our tax code, the failure to invest sufficiently in the building blocks of our future, entitlement reform or the deficit.
The effort to restore Clinton-era tax rates on the wealthiest Americans, who have thrived over the past several years even as others have borne the brunt of the deep recession, foundered as well on his capacity to hold the Republican leadership hostage to his no-tax pledge.
That leadership temporarily includes, and for who knows how long, Mitt Romney, who signed the pledge back in 2006.
But now, from an unlikely quarter — the most senior corner of our business leadership — comes this conclusion: no resolution of the fiscal issue before us is possible without a compromise that raises revenues. From Jamie Dimon to Lloyd Blankfein, a group of over 80 senior executives at our largest companies have concluded revenue increases are necessary.
David Cote, the CEO of Honeywell and a Republican, said: “To say you can solve this without increases in taxes is ludicrous.”
Their acknowledgment that Norquist is dead wrong and that Romney’s “no revenue needed” claim — shrouded in his “I’ll tell you after the election how I do all this” secret — defies the laws of common sense and the vast experience of these executives amounts to a game changer.
It is not just the intellectual firepower of the executives that makes this a big deal. The political potency of the mainstream corporate leadership, many of them Romney’s own guys, telling the King of CEOs and his Republican puppet master that their ideas just won’t work shakes the very foundation of the Romney-Norquist worldview.
Unfortunately for us instant-gratification types who think this should be enough to sway any voter with eyes to read or ears to hear and a brain to think, it just isn’t. The general public will not care.
But in the aftermath, when decisions will actually have to be made, the new counterweight to Romney and Norquist, a sane recognition that revenues must be part of our answers going forward, could bring some sense back into the politics of Washington.
That’s “My View.”