On May 15th, Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform discussed his new book, Leave Us Alone: Getting the Government's Hands Off Our Money, Our Guns, Our Lives, and entertained questions from an audience at the New America Foundation.
Norquist began by analyzing the political landscape of American politics, dividing it into two inimically opposed coalitions: the "Takings Coalition," comprised of groups with a shared interest in feeding upon the earnings and wealth of others, and the "Leave Us Alone Coalition," composed of those with a common interest in keeping the government out of their lives.
While the components of each coalition contain diverse viewpoints on many issues, all are motivated to cooperate and vote by shared interest in one area: the degree to which a government should interact with the social and financial autonomy of its citizens.
The contrast between these two coalitions represents the ideological divide that will shape American domestic policy for the next several generations, according to Norquist. Their balance of power will decide the direction that American policy moves toward for the next generation.
Norquist went on to identify the trends that would alter this balance in the future, including differing fertility rates, the decline of hunting, and the expansion of stock ownership. He also discussed important legislative priorities for the "Leave Us Alone Coalition," such as portable health savings plans and individually mandated savings accounts- New America Foundation
Steve Clemons is Washington editor at large for The Atlantic and editor of Atlantic Live. He writes frequently about politics and foreign affairs.
Clemons is a senior fellow and the founder of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation, a centrist think tank in Washington, D.C., where he previously served as executive vice president. He writes and speaks frequently about the D.C. political scene, foreign policy, and national security issues, as well as domestic and global economic-policy challenges.
Grover Norquist (Twitter: @GroverNorquist) is president of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), a taxpayer advocacy group he founded in 1985 at President Reagan’s request. ATR works to limit the size and cost of government and opposes higher taxes at the federal, state, and local levels and supports tax reform that moves towards taxing consumed income one time at one rate. ATR organizes the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which asks all candidates for federal and state office to commit themselves in writing to the American people to oppose all tax increases. In the 113th Congress, 219 House members and 39 Senators have taken the pledge. On the state level, 14 governors and 1,035 state legislators have taken the pledge.
Grover Norquist, author of Leave Us Alone, says President Bush got away with too much government spending because spending too much is not a deal-breaker for most Republican voters. He suggests that more transparency about government spending would turn it into a vote-garnering issue.
Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, explains the precarious arrangement of the Democratic Party's coalition which prevents them from making political progress, and compares them to the Republicans.
"They're hedged in because these parts of the Democratic Coalition are so key."
"They can't do things that organized labor and trial lawyers won't allow."