Meet The Dark Lord of the Debt Mess

Grover Norquist

Photo: Gage Skidmore via WIkimedia Commons

Here’s one possible narrative of how and why Monday’s Dow Jones industrial average went on a harrowing toboggan ride into a tree: the market was still freaked out over Friday’s S&P downgrade, which in turn was influenced by the refusal of congressional Republicans to consider even the teensiest of tax hikes in the debt-ceiling sweepstakes—which in turn was the absolute edict of a powerful yet unelected Washington operative who chirpily answers his cell phone: “Grover G. Norquist!”Given the wallop-packing authority of the founder of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR)—after 26 years in existence, the country’s preeminent lobbying organisation against tax increases of any kind—it’s probably fair to label the slide in the U.S. government’s credit rating the “Norquist downgrade.”

Isn’t it?

“No!” Norquist (the “G” is for Glenn) insisted over his cell phone the morning after Standard & Poor’s rendered its controversial verdict and lowered America’s triple-A rating to double-A-plus. “All of Obama’s problems are ones he created. And my role is to help fix it by forcing the focus on spending, and not allowing it to be distracted onto tax increases.”

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