Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2011 Tax Person of the Year: Grover Norquist

GroverYear in Review: The 2011 Person of the Year, 134 Tax Notes 7 (Jan. 3, 2012):

The dire state of tax politics became woefully evident in 2011, as fragile optimism about the possibility of tax reform bumped into the harsh reality of political intransigence. Democrats and Republicans each complained about the other's refusal to budge on tax policy, but a common belief is that one man is at the apex of political decision-making on taxes: Grover Norquist. Whether he is a radical obstructionist or a principled hero depends on whom you ask. Regardless of our readers' perspective, Norquist's prominence has earned him the distinction of Tax Notes' 2011 Person of the Year.

An avowed zealot of cutting taxes, Norquist was a lightning rod in 2011 for politicians and the media. If Warren Buffett was a symbol of progressive tax idealism, Norquist became the public face of "hell no" tax reductionism.

The other nominees for Tax Person of the Year:

  • Dave Camp (Chair, House Ways & Means Committee)
  • James S. Eustice (In Memoriam) (Professor, NYU; Partner, Cooley)
  • Laurie M. Hatten-Boyd (Principal, KPMG's Information Reporting Practice)
  • Claudia Hill (Editor, CCH Journal of Tax Practice and Procedure; Coordinator, IRS Watch blog)
  • Charles J. "Chad" Muller (Chair, Office of Professional Responsibility, IRS Advisory Council)
  • Jeffrey Owens (Director, OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration)
  • Carlton M. Smith (Director, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law Tax Clinic)
  • Victor Song (Chief, IRS Criminal Investigation Division)
  • Jay Starkman (Author, The Sex of a Hippopotamus: A Unique History of Taxes and Accounting)

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Is he really a "Tax Person"?" Perhaps a more appropriate distinction should be "Lobbyist of the Year" or "Anti-Government Activist of the Year".

Posted by: a. nomus | Jan 5, 2012 6:36:33 AM

If the Ayattollah can be Times man of the year then Grover should get his "kudos". Mr Norquist and Mr Laffer are the two principal adherents of an ideology that has led us to our current fiscal crisis. Mr Laffer convinced Republicans that fiscal conservatism = cutting taxes. Even in the face of overwhelming evidence that huge deficits would result. Voodoo Economics was what Mr Bush the First called it, rightly so. Mr Norquist, our latest and most vocal adherent to this failed and paltry god, goes further and demands unquestioning allegience and promises dire consequences for heretics. Once again, the face of fiscal disaster. Cutting taxes is the answer to all of our ills, except of ills of fiscal irresponsiblity.

Posted by: George W | Jan 4, 2012 2:02:29 PM

Members of Congress who pledge allegiance to Grover are not fit to serve.

Camp is my Congressman and he appears incapable of original thought, he just takes orders from rich people (the Dow executives in Midland keep him marching straight).

Posted by: save_the_rustbelt | Jan 4, 2012 7:04:32 AM