Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform’s pledge is a Washington game changer that has prevented many tax hikes.
So much so that some Democrats want to emulate it – but to promote decidedly different goals.
According to the Daily Caller, Representatives Alan Grayson of Florida and Mark Takano of California are circulating their own pledge “to vote against any substantive changes to America’s entitlement programs.” So far, over two dozen senators or representatives have signed the pledge. Of course, they claim to be protecting beneficiaries, but in reality, this vow would hurt them.
Hopefully, this harmful pledge will not be as successful as ATR’s tax pledge. Working Americans need time to plan for retirement, and any reforms to our entitlement programs should be done sooner rather than later.
But this pledge is designed to impede the negotiation process before it really begins. It ignores calls for reform, not just from conservatives, but also from Social Security and Medicare Trustees themselves. It neglects the millions of future seniors and disadvantaged who will see their benefits cut when Social Security and Medicare go insolvent. Delaying reform will cost taxpayers, is designed to further divide an already contentious congress, and will restrict the ability of future congresses to respond to unforeseen complications.
According to Norquist:
“Given that the present structure of entitlements leads to the collapse of those entitlements and to unsustainable levels of debt, these people are promising not to avoid national bankruptcy and not to destroy, or allow to self-destruct, Social Security and Medicare,” he said. “They are saying to younger people Social Security and Medicare will not be there for you — if I have my way — because I will vote not to reform it.”
Delaying reform does not protect seniors, but enlarges the problem, benefiting politicians while harming the vulnerable.