How Does It Work?
On Monday, Reddit's general manager Erik Martin invited the NeutralPolitics community to ask Grover Norquist anything. Twenty-four hours later, the forum's moderators gathered the top ten questions (thank you!) and on November 13, Norquist answered them on video. We're grateful to everyone who took time to submit questions and vote the best ones to the top. We'd also like to thank Erik and all the moderators for welcoming this experiment and making it possible. The top questions, voted up by the community and edited for length and style by the moderators, are:
1. nosecohn asks: The US is a big country with diverse and shifting interests. This brings complexity and nuance to the issues our representatives deal with in Washington. Does the whole idea of asking them to "pledge" something before they're elected lead to good policy? It seems like the resulting inflexibility would be a hindrance to good governance.
2. nosecohn asks: You are quoted in a July 13th, 2011 interview on CNN as saying, "Every time we've cut the capital gains tax, the economy has grown. Whenever we raise the capital gains tax, it's been damaged." Politifact rates that statement as false, because it implies causation where none can be established. Would you like to amend the statement or explain why Politifact is wrong? As a corollary, why should capital gains continue to be taxed at a lower rate than labor or other forms of income?
3. xiefeilaga asks: Mr. Norquist, you are well known for advocating significant reductions in taxes, government spending and the overall size of government. If it were up to you, how much would you cut from next year's defense budget? How many troops would you cut from the military?
4. Obrien asks: Can you name the most egregious tax loopholes that you're in favor of closing?
5. SantiagoRamon asks: Do you believe that there is ever a good time or reason to increase marginal tax rates on people and/or businesses, or are there absolutely no circumstances that would make that preferable to you?
6. Quarkism asks: As a small business, I pay an income tax of 35% whereas my big business counterparts pay a meek 15% in capital gains tax by way of sophisticated international accounting practices. Why should I vote Republican when the party supports a tax code and other governmental powers that put me at a disadvantage? Why do you not present a plan that closes unfair advantages / tax loopholes and have members of congress sign onto that?
7. Brutuss asks: Which tax deductions would you like to see eliminated from the tax code as part of an effort to "simplify" things? Assuming that rates were also cut, but the net result was an increase in revenue, would you score this as a tax increase or a tax decrease?
8. omla asks: Of the 34 nations ranked by health expenditure in a 2013 report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the United States spends the most at 17.7% of its GDP (based on 2011 data). It is more than France, Germany or the UK, which all have universal health care. How do you justify your stance opposing the regulation of health care considering the current comparatively large expenditure of your nation's GDP on health care?