A Blueprint for Winning Through Tax Reform
An Interview With Grover Norquist

 
In this well-crafted interview, Grover Norquist discusses tax-reform, the Trump Effect, and creating a coalition for exercising personal rights as written in the U.S. Constitution. He also shares the rewards to the economy, the ineffectiveness of socialism, and quality of life through small government and bi-partisan cooperation. Enjoy with us, the viewpoints of this much touted political activist and tax reformer as he outlines strategy for workable tax-reform.

President of Americans for Tax Reform. He founded the ATR at the request of President Reagan, and has been active as the leader of the American taxpayer protection movement. In 1993 he launched his Wednesday Meetings series for conservatives in Washington D.C. and contributed significantly to the Republican victory in the 1994 Republican Revolution. He congratulated Trump after his victory in the 2016 presidential election on his website, and played a significant role in the White House and Congress tax cut policy of 2017.

 

(Interviewer: Hanako Cho)

 

The Dangers and allure of Big Government

Interviewer: Japan has been going down the big government route for a while. It’s because the Liberal Democratic Party’s policies are no different than the liberal policies of the Democratic Party and we can no longer see a difference between right and left. How do you see the situation in Japan?

Grover Norquist: Well, governments tend to get larger because they keep coming up with new projects to fund and hire new friends. And everybody likes to be in a big department rather than a small department. Companies would like to be bigger, but you have to invent more and sell more to have a bigger company. In government, you just have to tax more. You don’t have to do more, you don’t have to do anything productive or useful, you just have to get more money and you’re off to the races. So the natural tendencies of government are to grow to the point where they’re abusive. The genius of the U.S. Constitution is it specifically says government’s allowed to do these things; it’s not allowed to do these things. And that has stopped a lot of problems. The government doesn’t get to choose what religion you’re in, which they used to have wars for hundreds of years in Europe over what religion you’re supposed to be. And so we just said, “We’re not doing that.” So that’s a whole collection of things not to worry about. We’re not going to run newspapers and television shows and tell people what to think, or what they’re allowed to say, First Amendment.

So it limits both the government and it sets up the rules so it’s harder – harder, it’s not impossible – harder for people to cheat and make the government bigger than it needs to be or should be. But, yes, if you look at all the European countries, they tend to get bigger and bigger and bigger. And the problem is as you get bigger, you get less efficient; you get less effective, you do things less well, and you’d think people would say, “Change direction, this is bad. Fix things.” But once the government gets big enough, it controls your education, it controls your retirement, it controls your healthcare. You’re not going to fight with that government that has all that — maybe your job is actually a government job.

So by expanding government, it actually reduces the number of its opponents that can be effectively used against you, and increases the number of people who are active in support of whatever the government wants. Give it more money, because I am the government. Give the government more money, I am the government. And to stop it, you have to get there before 50% of the population is paid by the government — or their life is controlled by the government — and get them to vote more limits on the government. And sometimes that’s a tax cut, where you say, “This new tax is too oppressive, we should get rid of it.” Sometimes it’s a regulation. Sometimes it’s a war; the government’s involved in a war where this is a bad idea, let’s stop this. And wars are just big government projects. And I get it’s sometimes necessary, sometimes it’s not necessary, but always expensive. And in the U.S., we’ve had some success in limiting government, but many failures. So we have a lot of work to do.

 

The Drawbacks of Consumption Taxes

Interviewer: The raised consumption tax has negatively affected medium and small-sized businesses who don’t export their goods and services to other countries. The smaller businesses are taking the greatest toll from Japan’s bipolarized economy. The consumption rate has dropped, and 1000 convenience and department stores have closed down. It is also resulting in lower wages and employment cuts, affecting the per household income. How do you see this situation?

 

The Difference between the US and Europe

Grover Norquist: -The value-added tax, that is the favorite tax of big government proponents. It is in some ways a hidden tax in that you don’t– it’s in everything you do every day — but your income tax, they give you a bill at the end of the year and tell you, “You pay this much in income tax.” Your property tax on your home, there’s a bill at the end of the year, you see how much you paid into your property tax. People don’t have– you know, at the end of the year, “How much did you pay in sales tax or VAT?” “I don’t know; it’s a lot. What that is, I don’t know.” And because you don’t add up all the stuff, and in the States, only some things are under the sales tax. Nobody has a sales tax more than 10% if you add up state and local, and it’s more like 5 in the States. European Union, it’s 20% on the value-added tax.

So it is big — and the goal of the left in the United States of America is to establish a VAT, because a VAT would put 20% of the GDP, or almost 20% of GDP, into the hands of government. Instead of being 30% of GDP – state, local, and federal – it’d be over 50%. We’d be France. And by becoming France, you become neurotic and everything that we don’t want to be. The Left loves that it’s a money-maker. Just gushers of cash. They like to pretend that they’re in favor of progressive income taxes, but they’d rather have the cash than progressive income taxes, and there’s only so much money you can make taxing rich people. There just aren’t enough. So they really need to get the middle class.

The difference between the United States and Europe is not how they tax rich people; it’s how they tax the middle class. The middle class gets hit with a 20% value-added tax. They don’t do it in the United States. The middle class gets hit with an income tax rate that’s 10, 20, in some cases 30 percent higher than in the United States. So European – Denmark, Sweden, France – they pay 10, 20, even 30 percent more than the American does, family of four on income tax, then add the VAT. Whereas rich people basically pay similar amounts of money, or percentages US and Europe. So the way to sell people on a new tax, on the massive middle class, is to say, “We’re going to tax rich people and we’re going to do it like this,” and everybody’s supposed to look at that while you pick the pockets of the middle class with a value-added tax, with higher income tax. And you say to them, “Well, you shouldn’t complain because this guy over here, he’s really getting taxed.” If you take my money, why in the world do I care how much money you take from somebody I’ve never met? My life is impacted by how much of my income you take from me, not how much you take from him.

But the press likes to say Elizabeth Warren, running for President, that she wants to tax rich people. She has a 6% wage tax in her proposal.

 

Taxing the Middle Class

On everybody who works, 6%. She has some wealth tax that she says she’ll put in, that she’ll never actually put in. European countries that have tried wealth taxes largely got rid of them. Most of them got rid of them. Because they don’t raise much money and they’re very awkward and they — you know, people’s privacy has to be completely shredded. And at some point you’re chasing after money that doesn’t exist or won’t come back.

 

The Wealth Tax Fallacy

So on taxes, the Left talks let’s tax the rich. But what it does empower is taxing the middle class because they need the money, they need the money, they need the money. And the other is just to distract you. To fool you into thinking that this is a tax increase on rich people when in point of fact it’s a tax increase on the middle class.

 

The Perceived Myth of Social Welfare

Interviewer: Street interviews in Japan show that people think a tax raise was necessary for them to get social welfare. They think of taxes like a bank account, or like an investment for their children.

Grover Norquist: That’s the way they sell people on Social Security in the States. That your FICA taxes, your Social Security taxes are being saved for you. In point of fact, they’re being spent the next week for somebody else’s grandmother. Then when you get old and retire, they will steal money from your grandchildren and give it to you, and you think they’ve been saving your money all along, but they haven’t.

 

Social Security vs Personal Savings Plans

Interviewer: How can we change this kind of thinking?

Grover Norquist: In the States what we’ve done is, starting under Reagan, we expanded 401k’s and IRAs, which allow you to save tax-free for your retirement, or for buying a house, or for healthcare. But retirement’s the big number. And we have 100 million 401k’s in the United States and 40 million IRAs in the United States. That means that more than half of adults have their own personal savings account. Some other people have like a traditional pension, like Social Security. You put in something and we promise to pay you a certain amount. Whether or not you’ve saved enough for that. Or whether you’ve saved more than enough for that.

So right now more and more people have a 401k. Then they begin to compare, I put this much in my savings account and I’m going to get this much. I give the Social Security people this much and I’m going to get a fraction of it. You’d be much better off taking your Social Security taxes, 15% of your wages, and putting it into your savings account, into your personal IRA, 401k. Then you’d retire with much more money because you’d be getting actually interest and increase in the stock market, in all your savings. Whereas in this case they take your money, spend it, and promise to go tax somebody else and pay you a certain fixed amount, which is not a — but then there’s no savings. You can’t pass on something to your heirs. You die, it’s finished. If you had a 401k, you die and it goes to your heirs.

 

Has the 401k Made a Change in the Way People Save?

Interviewer: So after the introduction of the 401k, have the people in the U.S. greatly changed their way of savings?

Grover Norquist: Well, in 401k’s, more people are putting more money into that. The private sector which had traditional defined benefit pensions, those don’t work in the real world, so they’re moving over into defined contribution. Now only the government and unionized companies have defined benefits. “We promise to pay you this much.” “Well, how are you going to make the money?” “I don’t know, but we promise to pay you that much. We’ll see what happens.” But the more people have a defined benefit plan then they go, “What if I took my Social Security savings and invested them, I’d be better off.” To get people to say, “Let’s do something different with Social Security,” you need an alternative that they’ve seen and touched and felt and go, “I know how this works. I trust this.”

 

The Impact of the Stock Market

Back in the ’30s and ’40s and ’50s, very few people, less than 10%, owned stock. Now more than half of Americans own stock through 401ks and IRAs. But until you’ve done that, well, is it just a big risk? Disappear tomorrow? How safe is it? But now you’ve got a whole generation that have been saving for their retirement – more than one generation saving for their retirement through a 401k, IRA, they would be perfectly happy to take any government program and just fold it into their personal savings. And ultimately that’s what Bush wanted to do, Bush 43.

 

George Bush 43 and Social Security

He wanted to take your Social Security and give it to you to invest into the future so you’d be in control. I wish we’d been able to do that. That would have been very helpful. The Left was never going to agree. As soon as everybody in the country saves 10% of their income in a 401k that they control and retire with almost a million dollars in the bank and money to survive on, the modern Democratic party’s finished. Because the modern Democratic party, everything they do shrinks the value of your 401k or your IRA. They tax it, or regulate it, or… And they can’t promise you anything, “We’ll give you more Social Security,” no, no. But we earn our own Social Security, our own 401k.

 

Privatizing Social Security

I think that privatizing Social Security in the States and in other countries — and a bunch of European countries have done some of it — but Latin America followed Chile’s model, have been the best at it. Where the money you would otherwise pay into your taxes goes straight into a 401k for you. So that’s been very positive.

 

Changing the Government Mindset

Interviewer: Unless the people change their mindset, the government will probably use social welfare as an excuse to keep raising the tax rate. In this case, they could very well start raising the consumption tax to 30% and then 40%. What are your thoughts on this?

 

Proposing a Constitutional Amendment

Grover Norquist: I would recommend starting a campaign that says, “We just went from 8 to 10. Before that it came up to 8, then 10.” Here are all the quotations from politicians, “We’re never going to raise it again. People promised they wouldn’t, but then they did.” So to put into the constitution that the value-added tax cannot be more than 10%. And then the politicians have to say, “Oh, we have no intention of raising it past 10.” “Then put it in the constitution.” “No, that would make it too difficult to raise it higher than 10, which we don’t plan to do. So stop asking us. But we don’t want to do it. We don’t want to say no, but we don’t want to do it. We’ll never do it, but we won’t say no, we won’t put it in the constitution.” Well, then everybody goes, “Wait a minute. You want to raise it beyond 10, you jerk.” And they wanted to wait 5 or 10 years until everybody cooled off, and then raise it again. So I think now when people are sore, angry, about 10, is the time to put into the constitution, no more than 10. And then you could have a discussion down the road of, “Let’s go to 9. Let’s see what we can do there.” But at a minimum, stop the bleeding. Stop the bleeding. This could work.

 

The Effect of the U.S. Tax Cut

Interviewer: President Trump enforced a huge $1.3 trillion tax cut in 2017. It’s been 2 years now. How much has the U.S. economy grown in that time?

Grover Norquist: Okay. We started turning the economy around the day Trump was elected. So even though he hadn’t passed any new laws, people knew that the Trump administration was going to undo some of the regulations that Obama had put in, but they hadn’t taken effect yet. So they passed a law that said, “Next year, in January, in November, this new regulation will take effect.” Which meant the press didn’t write about it, nobody seemed to know about it. And that is one where — that was the first big thing that Trump did was he undid expected regulations. The Stock market went up because instead of having one future they were going to have a different future. And that was very helpful. Then they cut the corporate income tax, the individual rates, did full expensing, reduced the cost of capital investment in the United States, and then expanded energy production and made it easier when the other team would not let a pipeline get built, the Trump people are moving on pipelines.

 

Steps to Strengthen U.S. Economy

There’s some very real steps forward they took to strengthen the economy. And that’s worked very well to give us a much healthier economy going forward. We have unemployment rates that we haven’t seen in 50 years, much lower unemployment. More people are working than under Obama. During Obama, people quit working. So some of the unemployment– oh, the unemployment went down, yes, because 1 to 2 percent of the population that used to be looking for work, stopped looking for work because they gave up on work — and that makes unemployment look down because they no longer — if you’re not looking at this, you don’t count as unemployed.

Then under Trump, people have come back into the workforce and more jobs have been created, so the unemployment number kept going down. For African Americans it’s at historic lows. For women, for any way you want to look at it, it’s historic lows in terms of that. And the growth of the stock market, the value of everything in the country, of income, wages, have all grown very well and strong.

 

What Would a Second Trump Election Look Like for the Economy?

Interviewer: If the Trump administration continues a second term, what will the economic growth be?

Grover Norquist: I think if we don’t get caught up in trade wars, we’ll be at 3 and 4 percent. There will be another tax cut. If Trump wins reelection and gets the House and Senate back, he will pass a bill that will be introduced this spring, about April, May. And that will be the political document where we say, “If you reelect me and the Republicans, we will do this.” It will be expanding IRAs and 401k’s, it will be ending the taxation of inflation on your IRA. It’ll be a whole series of tax reductions aimed at middle-income people. A lot focused on 401k’s and IRAs because that’s the middle-class savings plan and making sure that’s stronger.

 

Can Republicans take back the House?

Interviewer: Can Republicans take back the majority in the House?

Grover Norquist: Right now they’re 18 seats down. 13 of those were in Trump plus six districts. If you took the Trump plus six districts you only need five more and there are 40 somewhat competitive ones. It’s not guaranteed, but it’s very doable. So if Trump either wins or comes close, we will be in a position to save the Senate and look to take the House. So a lot of that depends on how the Democrats play impeachment. And right now the support for impeachment’s been falling because they’ve kind of overplayed their hand. And it’s not clear — there’s an investigation about the FBI going after the President. And so as that comes out, that can be very embarrassing to the Left, that could help Trump a great deal. There are a series of issues that affect only a few million people, but then you only need 10,000 people in Wisconsin, and 20,000 people in Michigan, and 10 or 20,000 people in Pennsylvania to win the election.

 

Home Schooling and Charter Schools in Danger

Two million American children are home schooled and the Democrats want to restrict, regulate, end home schooling. All those parents will all be voting for Trump because the Democrats will take away their ability to raise their kids and educate them themselves. then you have three million people who have their kids in charter schools. Charter schools are public schools, government-run schools, but independent of the teacher’s union and of the political structures that screw up the public schools. And those people have sweated to get their kids in charter schools and now Elizabeth Warren wants to shut them down.

 

Will the Democrats Desire to Regulate Elect Trump?

And so you have three million people, they were out demonstrating against her. It was in the papers yesterday. When she goes somewhere the charter school people demonstrate against her. You have 19 million Americans with a concealed carry permit, the right to carry a gun concealed. And the Democrats want to end that. So you have 19 million Americans who have made the decision how they’re going to protect themselves and their family. A third of them are women. It’s increasing a million and a half every year, the number of people with concealed carry permits. So that’s a group that fears the government taking away their ability to protect themselves. You have 10 million vapers, people who quit smoking and they vape. There’s an effort by the Democrats to ban that. The President right now is opposing that. This will be helpful. And so for 10 million adults, they are saving their life by vaping instead of smoking cigarettes, and the Democrats want to take that away. That will move millions of votes. So that’s why I think Trump will win if the economy’s doing well, there’s no war, and there’s no big scandal. I mean, they can talk about attacking him, but first it was Russia, that turns out to be nothing and now the new Ukraine thing is also nothing.

And so I don’t know what the D’s are going to do, but they quite correctly fear losing the next election. We have a lot of work to do on that, but the Republicans have a lot more money in the bank than the Democrats. Democrats are in debt, the Democrat party. Trump has raised more money than all the Democrats together. So I think it’ll be a pretty big deal.

 

The Phenomenon of Socialism in the U.S.

Interviewer: In the U.S. more and more young people are being drawn to socialism. Why is this phenomenon happening?

Grover Norquist: Two things, they don’t know anything about socialism, they haven’t read about the Soviet Union.

 

Looking at China

It’s because of the lousy public education. And the good news is over time, people will learn more. And that will be… and the other one is we, Conservatives, Republicans, need to explain to people better what socialism is and the history of it. And that Sweden is not socialist and Denmark is not socialist. Their government’s too big, but they’re not government-run industries; this is not East Germany, or Russia, or China. Oh, China has been successful. Their economy is — everything China did to make their economy grow was to walk away from state control. They gave farmer’s more control of their assets. They let people move in the country. Let local governments make decisions, not everything from the top at first.

Now they’re beginning to slow some of that down and I think it’ll cost them the ability to keep growing because they think that they created this growth instead of recognizing, every time you stopped doing things, things got better. Every time you went away, things got better. Now they want to come back and take credit for it and start telling people what to do. That will give them a slowdown, plus there’s a tremendous amount of investment in China where — political investment, kind of like during the Decade in Japan, the politicians would have all this infrastructure and that was supposed to make everybody rich. And so you have these big concrete roads that go nowhere. Well, China has a lot of that – local people making decisions, building cities where there aren’t necessarily people for them, you know, structures. They spend 8% on infrastructure, the United States spends 4% on infrastructure. And we waste a lot of our 4%. But you can imagine if you had 8%, much of it waste, that’s not very helpful.

So I think that they’ve got some challenges coming. In the next 15 years, the number of people in China under the age of 55 will decrease by 250 million. So there’ll be 250 million fewer people of working age. And there’ll be 250 million people over 55.

The society is aging. They don’t do immigration. And a lot of their growth over the last 20 years was moving hundreds of millions of people to the shores, into the big cities, on the ocean. Or alongside the rivers, or near the Three Gorges Dam, which you can now run barges up and down. So you can run factories on both sides of these rivers. But there aren’t any more people in the countryside to go scrape up and bring into the city. So the growth that they’re going to have is not as robust as in the past. They will have to spend more money taking care of old people and have fewer people to do it. And they’ve got problems with everybody on their border.

 

Blocking Infrastructure

Interviewer: With regard to Trump administration’s infrastructure policy, he is planning to invest 1.5 trillion dollar in investments over the 10 years. But it hasn’t really taken effect, right?

Grover Norquist: Correct. The congress would not work with him on that. The Democrats wouldn’t. They don’t want him to have a success on it. Two, the Democrats just want higher taxes, okay?

Well, there are two things. Trump was counting — when he said the 1.5 trillion or whatever — he was counting money spent by federal, state, and private companies together. So he said the federal government would put up 200 billion and the rest would come from the private sector. So, of course, the Democrats don’t know there’s a private sector, and so they kept hearing 1.5 trillion in higher taxes and spending. Now he never said that. But I think 200 million’s a lot of money for the federal government to kick in, period. But it’s a lot less stupid than 1.5 trillion.

 

The Need for Bi-Partisan Support

So he said to the Democrats, “You know, I’m ready to go if you are.” There is a movement that has bipartisan support that I’ve been helping with that says, “Let’s take $200 billion worth of loans to farmers.” So the federal government loans money to farmers. Why? I don’t know; that’s pretty stupid, but we do. We loan money to farmers and then they pay the government back, and crop insurance, stuff like that.

What we recommended – there’s a bill in Congress to do this, which has bipartisan support from the Black Caucus and the Conservative Republicans together – is take $200 billion, sell it, take the cash, and say, “Who wants to build roads with $200 billion?”, and that that would be the federal government’s contribution. You don’t have to raise taxes; you just sell assets that you have. I like that a lot. I think we can do it. I’ve certainly argued to the administration that you ought to look to do it that way. Because then you say, “Look, here’s $200 billion. It’s right on the table. Democrats, when you’re ready, come and we’ll divide this up on projects. We’ll build this highway, we’ll build these bridges, and so on.

 

Get with the Program!

And if I was the President, I would say to any city or state, “You come to me with a plan that’s written down and approved by all of your regulatory guys. Don’t come and tell me, ‘We’d like your money,’ and then spend five years delaying the process because you have regulations.” They could do this very quickly if that was the cost of getting the money. “Come to me and then I’ll give you this voucher which says, ‘You got a half a billion dollars for your bridge, for your road,’ so when the Democrats come to the table and we release this 200 billion, you’re in. Now go talk to your Democratic congressmen and tell them to get with the program.”

 

Promises, Promises

So we could drive, I think, a lot of support for taking the 200 billion and getting it committed to specific projects. Because politicians love to go, “We’re going to do 200 billion,” and then they promise a trillion dollars out to people because they promised everybody everything. And people vote for the whole — I vote, yes, thinking they’re getting their bridge. They’re not getting their bridge. Then they come back and say, “Help us next time when we want to raise taxes. Then we’ll get your bridge. Promise.”

 

Using PPP

Interviewer: Will the Trump administration also use PPP as a way to invest infrastructure?

Grover Norquist: Oh, pub– yeah. That’s what the President was looking at. You can do things with toll roads, certain bridges can all be tolled. The technology now makes it very easy. I mean, you could toll all the roads if you wanted to and just say, “Here’s who owns the roads and who will take care of them.” You don’t have to have the government run the roads if you don’t want to now. Back when you had to have a toll and all that stuff. Now with technology, you could make it very clear, you know, “These roads are owned by AT&T. And if you want to ride on them they cost this much.” Okay? And you had the little thing in your car and you drive around and they send you a bill. So you can toll things easily. And improvement on a road, let’s say you don’t privatize the old roads, but you have a wider road, or a bigger road, or a different road and you got to build it now. Well, then toll it. Have a toll in effect. Public-private partner, because then the private sector comes and says, “We’ll build the road if we can have a $1 toll.”

So that’s the big, I think, opportunity there. I think the challenge is the Democrats don’t want an infrastructure bill meaning more roads.

Infrastructure number of months ago, Schumer and Pelosi said, “We want to do infrastructure.” And they had a list of all the things they wanted to do with their tax increase. Roads weren’t on the list. Roads weren’t on the list. Bridges were not on the list. It was education, it was parks, it was mass transit, it was green things, you know. Didn’t mention roads. I mean, how do you not mention road– well, because they have no intention of ever building roads with any money you give them.

 

Developing Activists

Interviewer: you mentioned during your speech that you have been very successful in establishing activists in 41 states out of 50 states. What was the key to be effectual in establishing these kind of activists?

Grover Norquist: Sure. We started by having a meeting in DC, which started at 20 people and moved to 150. But we also started talking to people in the States. Now I knew leaders of taxpayer groups around the States. I knew leaders of the Libertarian Party. I knew think tank leaders. And over time, we now have five people, who in addition to me, fly around the country and go to meetings and help get them going and stronger. And 41 states are going, 9 we have yet to– I mean, we’ve had a meeting in them, but then they folded, it was too difficult. We didn’t have the right leader. And so now we’re going to those states and getting those back up again. But 41 states– some states have more than one meeting. There are three meetings in California, three in Ohio, three in Florida, two in West Virginia, two in Kentucky, stuff like that. So our goal is to have every state capitol, and then in the larger states, two or three, four different meetings, so that everybody on the Right works together, knows what they’re doing, plays well with other children.

 

Working Together

So that’s kind of a — and what you do there is you just keep finding leaders who are willing to work with everybody. The person who chairs a meeting doesn’t run the meeting. He manages the meeting. The people in the meeting put themselves on the agenda. They decide if they’re going to speak. It’s not like the chairman goes, “You speak, you don’t,” you know. Everybody works together. Everybody has to understand that nobody tells anybody else what to do. Nobody works for anybody else. We work together, or not. Somebody has a project, nobody else has to do anything on it. If they want to, they can. But nobody’s required to agree with anything that anybody else said. We don’t vote on issues. We don’t say, “Oh, you’re wrong, you’re right.” Sometimes different concerns have a different approach. Do what you’re doing. Let everybody know what you’re doing. We’ll call it that

 

The Tax-Cut Movement

Interviewer: What made you join the tax cut movement?

Grover Norquist: I was active in the effort to cut taxes in Massachusetts, my home state, very early on. I was supportive of California’s Proposition 13, which is a significant property tax cut. I was offered a job as the head of the National Taxpayer’s Union, which was the only national taxpayer group in the country back in the ’80s. And then when Reagan was President, he created Americans for Tax Reform and asked me to run it. So basically I was convinced, am convinced, that taxes are the key dividing point between people who want the government to get larger and more powerful and more abusive, and people who want it to be less expensive and lighter touch, and allow society to be more organic in how they get together and do things. Whereas government is top-down, do this, do that. It’s not sustainable, it’s just blunt force.

 

Owning the Land

I found out this from studying history. I started reading all the Cold War history, during the Cold War, the nature of the Soviet Union and so on. But then American history and how we developed property rights in the United States. Because the United States is either the only country in the world, or one of very few, where when you own this building and the land on it, you also own everything to the center of the earth. So if there’s oil, or gravel, or gold, it’s yours. In Europe — and I think everywhere else — in Argentina, you own the surface, but also some sort of if there’s gold on the surface, you can go down a little bit, but you can’t go down 100 feet. There’s some sort of weird

– it’s sort of yours, but not clear. Whereas in the United States, once you own this land, if there’s water down there you can have access to it, if there’s sand, or gravel.

There are lots of things that are not really expensive, but they’re valuable, and sometimes there’s gold and silver and oil and natural gas. And that has tremendously strengthened the United States. We’ve had more holes poked in the United States looking for oil than all the rest of the world together. Because in Poland, if they poke a hole in your farm and they find oil, well, then they’ll bring all the cranes and drill for oil and mess up your farm, and the government takes all the money. Because the government owns what’s under the ground. You don’t. Whereas the United States in North Dakota, if they find oil under your ground, people come and pay you large quantities of money to come and take it out and they won’t tear up your land. Or if they crunch it a little bit, you don’t care because they’re giving jillions of dollars. So in the United States, people, “Come, poke a hole in my backyard. Take a look. Tell me if it’s anything there. I might have won the lottery.” And I have not learned how or why in the United States the individual owned everything under the land. In Europe, the king owned everything underground. You know, “If you find anything interesting, it’s mine.” Problem is, nobody looks for anything interesting if the king’s going to get it. So that was pretty goofy. Whether it’s coal or something else of value down there.

 

Individual Freedoms and Limited Government

I think we’re in a very good situation; we just have a lot of work to do. We kind of know what we’re trying to get done. We have a structure where the people we want in our political movement are people who on their vote moving-issue, want to be left alone. So in the States, you home school, you want to be left alone, that’s the most important thing in your life, you’re in. You have a Second Amendment, your ability to keep your gun, you want to be left alone, that’s your vote-moving issue, you’re in. You’re an entrepreneur, the most important thing in your life is to be able to be an entrepreneur and not get told what to do and taxed or regulated. You’re a taxpayer, you just don’t want higher taxes, you’re in. You’re any of the various communities of faith, the most important thing in your life is practicing your faith, passing it on to your kids and you want to be left alone, then everybody there doesn’t agree on what’s the most important thing, they have very different ideas about what’s the most important thing. What they all agree on is the government should be small enough and non-threatening enough, to allow me to have my gun, and you to home school, and you to make money, and you to be a small business guy, and you to be able to go to church, synagogue, or mosque, and we can all be friends because were not in disagreement about any vote-moving issues. I may think that your favorite project is silly, boring, or ridiculous, but it’s not threatening. That’s what you do; that’s what I do.

 

How to Have a Winning Conservative Coalition

And so when you find new issues, like vaping, we want to be left alone to vape. People who want to ride motorcycles without helmets. There are a lot of states that have helmet laws, other states said, “No, you don’t have to wear a helmet if you don’t want to.” It’s very important to some people, “Don’t make us wear a helmet.” So if what you want to be is left alone on key issues, you’re welcome at our table, you’re welcome at our meeting, you’re welcome at our coalition, and all we ask is that our candidates stand in the middle of the room and say, “I’m going to leave your guns alone, your kids alone, your education alone, your money, your business, your faith,” boom. And then we can all be happy.

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