This has been on my radar for a few weeks since I developed a Reaffirmation Pledge to the Constitution for members of Congress to sign. I'm now working on a similar page for state governors and legislators to consider.
On the federal budget side, Norquist's ominous taxpayer pledge acts as a catalyst forcing Republicans in Congress to borrow for budget and spending needs instead of laying taxes to raise the revenue as prescribed in the U.S. Constitution. This has resulted in a long string of annual deficits eventually accumulating into a massive $15 trillion mountain of debt.
The Pledge to Norquist however has a slightly different effect on governors and state legislators since states cannot print money or operate continuously on borrowed debt. Instead, it forces those governors to raid any source of revenue under governor or state control.
An astute letter writer to the Leader Telegram recently picked up on Gov. Scott Walker's "we're broke" mantra and tied it into his pledge to Grover Norquist to justify decimating public services and public education.
Leader Telegram Letter Excerpt:
The beauty of this strategy is that it works. When public services are underfunded, the public is angry that services aren't provided and they demand further cuts or privatization. When public schools are underfunded, quality of education suffers and parents put their kids in private schools, which are now receiving taxpayer assistance through vouchers.
Meanwhile, Walker flies, at taxpayer expense, around the state touting his budget cuts while receiving his health care and pension on the taxpayers' dime. Occasionally, he lands in the state Capitol and signs into law legislation that funnels more government giveaways to his corporate cronies, while the poor schmucks teaching our kids and the snowplow driver clearing our streets are one budget cut away from losing their jobs. It's time to close the Norquistian bathroom door by recalling Walker.
E.W. from Eau Claire
So, what the Norquist Pledge means to Wisconsin to put it another way, is that any time Walker needs additional revenue for his WEDC slush fund, campaign contributors, ideological projects or any additional state spending, whether legitimate, emergency or otherwise, is that he will never have to raise that revenue the old-fashioned way by raising taxes. Norquist forbids it. Instead, he will loot education treasuries, anti-poverty programs and public employee's pensions and benefits just like he did the first time with his class war budget act, cut state aid to communities and then tell them they could fill their budget hole with unnegotiated-for (stolen) employee capital compensation (tools). This is also another reason why Walker applies for every dime from the federal government the state is eligible for - the federal government is just another source of revenue to raid in his view.
State budget dollar amounts will likely never be cut, instead they will grow from inflation and increased costs and made to balance using government service's funds and public employee wage and benefit compensation to refill the kitty. This means no program or employee is sacred unless deemed absolutely necessary to fulfill their ideological mission.
Locally, we will be be paying more because local school boards and municipalities wanting to maintain the same level of service will have to find the revenue Walker extracted from them OR make the choice for a controlled decline. Either way, the public will only grow angrier and local officials will be the bogeyman. This is the scheme in a nutshell.
The ramifications of Act 10 combined with Norquist's irresponsible and anti-constitutional pledge makes for a devastating weapon for unprincipled opponents to defeat. This I believe is the right-wing's ideological calculator designed to mismanage and destabilize government enough to drown it in a bath tub. While this is happening, an uninformed public will only grow angrier demanding more tax cuts, government vouchers and privatization.
This I believe could feed onto itself and bring the entire U.S. government down ushering in a long era of single-class serfdom and fascist-run capitalism.