Grover Norquist has just started speaking on tax policy. The issue, Norquist says, is that tax payers want to mostly be left alone. Home schoolers want to be left alone -- they don't insist that everyone home school, but they want to make their own individual choices. Hunters want to be left alone -- they don't want to force schools to teach from a book called Heather Has Two Hunters. Most importantly, people want to be left alone in their faith.
The "Leave Us Alone" coalition, Norquist says, hearkens back to the Reagan Revolution. It springs from we used to call Western conservatism -- a small-L libertarian, center-right movement that wanted to let people live their private lives and shrink the role of the federal government. It opposes the Left, which wants to extract more and more resources from individuals in order to create a larger and larger federal government that takes away their individual choices. Norquist says that, if properly argued, the LUA coalition would win 60% of the vote.
"All the bad guys can be friends -- until they run out of money." The Left needs an increasing revenue stream to remain cohesive. Cutting off the taxes means that rationing has to take place, and Norquist says that a coalition of "parasites" will never be able to remain allied when the money runs short. He likens it to the final scenes of Lifeboat.
Norquist recommends that we nurture the liberty interests in the conservative coalitions. The concealed-carry movement has generated an entire new class of LUA activists, as have home-schoolers. We need to find those people whom government insults through its intervention and nurture their realization of the necessarily overbearing impact of the federal government. Those converts make the most passionate activists, and the Right needs to find that passion again.
Taxes form the basis of this movement, though, and Norquist makes the case that it has to start with starving the government of excessive revenue. That will force fiscal responsibility onto politicians, but more importantly, it will produce a new class of politicians who understand the need to end the spending spree. Conservatives who vote for tax increases are, in Norquist's words, the "rathead in the Coke bottle".
We can't end spending while discussing tax increases. Tax increases "feed the beast" and only whets the appetite of those who divide the spoils -- and worse, it encourages more groups to come to the table to get more of the revenue. We cannot cut spending without first removing the incentive to spend, and that comes from tax increases.
Transparency on spending is the next step. That's why earmarks are more important than the dollars involved. Exposing earmarks really exposes the dirty, influence-peddling nature of the federal government. When Bridges to Nowhere finally make the news, when the Charles Rangel Center For The Advancement Of Charles Rangel comes to light, the public reacts with deserved revulsion. That gives momentum to the LUA coalition and more credibility to the notion that the national political structure does a poor job of spending our money -- and that they should only be given the bare minimum essential for meeting its Constitutional responsibilities.
It's an excellent speech. Norquist has a matter-of-fact delivery, which makes his argument even more compelling.