“The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”
The current Oath of office which was enacted in 1884, which is sworn to by all members of Congress:
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”
This is the ONLY oath that your representatives, ALL of them, regardless of political affiliation are bound to uphold by law.
Unfortunately, numerous politicians, mainly from the GOP, have taken it upon themselves to make another pledge to a lobbying group; a 501(c)(4) organization called The Americans for Tax Reform, which was founded in 1985, by Grover Norquist.
This pledge for members of Congress states the following:
I, _______________, pledge to the taxpayers of the _____ district of the state of__________, and to the American people that I will:
ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses; and
TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.
(Note: a similar pledge for state legislators states: “I will oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.”)
In the last Congress, the pledge was signed by 236 of the 242 Republicans, plus 2 Democrats in The House and 40 of the 47 Republicans and 1 Democrat in The Senate.
As the country moves forward and attempts to eliminate the potential of falling over the looming fiscal cliff, it is extremely important to ask yourself to whom do you want your elected officials pledging their allegiance. To the Constitution, as required by law, or to a lobbying group with absolutely no authority to legally meddle in the affairs of Congress.
Sure it’s easy to say no new taxes…everybody would LIKE to say that. But what are the realities? How can an elected official make a promise to lobbyists representing special interests, and not be free to make legislative decisions as required by the times? What if a calamity arises, another war or natural disaster? How can some politicians bind themselves to a written pledge outside of their elected responsibilities? It makes no sense.
In addition to prohibiting direct increases, this pledge also prohibits ending loopholes or deductions, since they likewise raise taxes. And, frankly, the real issue is the pledge, itself. What if another lobbying group organizes members to make similar pledges that would simply forbid raising taxes on specific groups, i.e. corporations, or manufacturing, oil, etc.? What if politicians signed a pledge to stop funding the defense department, eliminate regulations for special interest groups, defund social programs, or myriad other schemes. No doubt, the public would be up in arms.
Difficult budgetary decisions lie ahead. Intelligent discussion is required, which cannot be achieved if certain groups feel they are bound by having signed written commitments to the allegiance of outside lobbyists, in contradiction to their sworn duties as elected officials.
The issue will be revenues, and this election suggests America wants everyone to pay their fair share. We elect officials to make those choices. They should be free to do just that, without the outside interference of people like Grover Norquist.
You can't address spending without addressing Medicare, Soc. Sec. and Defense. Everything else is peanuts.
I also don't think you can address spending without addressing tax spending--special loopholes and credits that reduce individual taxes paid (often creating negative tax rates for people). When I filed for the homebuyers tax credit after filing my taxes, the government sent me a $6,500 check in the mail. This is what these credits and loopholes are, spending with a different mechanism.
Although last summer's grand bargain wasn't completely clear, these things were in the general outline. I hope Republicans come around to accepting them. Otherwise. . . Geronimo!