The loopy mendacity of Grover Norquist

The high priest of tax cuts blames the recession on the Democratic takeover of Congress in 2006. Even some of his own comrades can't hide their embarrassment.

Topics: U.S. Economy, Globalization, How the World Works, Great Recession,

On Friday afternoon, Grover Norquist posted the following explanation of why the U.S. economy is sliding into the deepest recession since World War II at the National Review Online’s group blog, The Corner.

The economy as measured by the market and businesses’ willingness to hire does not sound very excited by the Reid/Pelosi/Obama spending spree.

The economy began to collapse when the Democrats captured the House and Senate and we then knew that the lower tax rates on individuals, capital gains, and dividends would end after 2010.

It’s not the first time that Norquist, president of the anti-tax lobbying group Americans for Tax Reform, has unburdened himself of such breath-taking imbecility. But to do so in response to the news that the economy lost 600,000 jobs in January is bold, even for him — (and of course, stunningly wrong, even in the narrowest sense — at the very moment Norquist wrote those words the stock market was rebounding, on hopes, theorized by none other than that shining beacon of leftwing propaganda, the Wall Street Journal, that the stimulus bill would pass. If Norquist wants to see a real market panic, wait and see what happens if the Senate fails to pass a stimulus bill.)

As Paul Krugman replied when I asked him how one combats such prideful ignorance (or willful mendacity, take your pick) as that displayed on a daily basis by Norquist, “to some extent you can’t fight it, people will believe what they want to believe.” But there is some evidence that there’s a limit to what Norquist’s own fellow travelers are willing to stomach. Responding at The Corner to Norquist, Ramesh Ponnuru, author of “The Party of Death: The Democrats, the Media, the Courts, and the Disregard for Human Life,” wrote:

This interpretation of the economy strikes me as highly implausible.

Of course it does. And of course Norquist knows it is implausible, and ridiculous. All’s fair in love and pro-tax-cut propaganda. The scary thing is that Norquist is an influential figure in the Republican party, and his reduction of economic analysis to cartoon absurdity is hardly unique — we’ve been hearing it on the floor of the Senate every day, all day, all week long.

Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 17
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    John Stanmeyer

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Container City: Shipping containers, indispensable tool of the globalized consumer economy, reflect the skyline in Singapore, one of the world’s busiest ports.

    Lu Guang

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Man Covering His Mouth: A shepherd by the Yellow River cannot stand the smell, Inner Mongolia, China

    Carolyn Cole/LATimes

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Angry Crowd: People jostle for food relief distribution following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti

    Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    “Black Friday” Shoppers: Aggressive bargain hunters push through the front doors of the Boise Towne Square mall as they are opened at 1 a.m. Friday, Nov. 24, 2007, Boise, Idaho, USA

    Google Earth/NOAA, U.S. Navy, NGA, GEBCO

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Suburban Sprawl: aerial view of landscape outside Miami, Florida, shows 13 golf courses amongst track homes on the edge of the Everglades.

    Garth Lentz

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Toxic Landscape: Aerial view of the tar sands region, where mining operations and tailings ponds are so vast they can be seen from outer space; Alberta, Canada

    Cotton Coulson/Keenpress

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Ice Waterfall: In both the Arctic and Antarctic regions, ice is retreating. Melting water on icecap, North East Land, Svalbard, Norway

    Yann Arthus-Bertrand

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Satellite Dishes: The rooftops of Aleppo, Syria, one of the world’s oldest cities, are covered with satellite dishes, linking residents to a globalized consumer culture.

    Stephanie Sinclair

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Child Brides: Tahani, 8, is seen with her husband Majed, 27, and her former classmate Ghada, 8, and her husband in Hajjah, Yemen, July 26, 2010.

    Mike Hedge

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Megalopolis: Shanghai, China, a sprawling megacity of 24 Million

    Google Earth/ 2014 Digital Globe

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Big Hole: The Mir Mine in Russia is the world’s largest diamond mine.

    Daniel Dancer

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Clear-cut: Industrial forestry degrading public lands, Willamette National Forest, Oregon

    Peter Essick

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Computer Dump: Massive quantities of waste from obsolete computers and other electronics are typically shipped to the developing world for sorting and/or disposal. Photo from Accra, Ghana.

    Daniel Beltra

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Oil Spill Fire: Aerial view of an oil fire following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, Gulf of Mexico

    Ian Wylie

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Slide 13

    Airplane Contrails: Globalized transportation networks, especially commercial aviation, are a major contributor of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Photo of contrails in the west London sky over the River Thames, London, England.

    R.J. Sangosti/Denver Post

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Fire: More frequent and more intense wildfires (such as this one in Colorado, USA) are another consequence of a warming planet.

  • Recent Slide Shows



Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>