Thursday, October 02, 2003


House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi just compared Republican attempts to cut Medicare spending with the Holocaust.

ha ha ha, just kidding.

That didn't actually happen of course, but people are telling me that Grover Norquist just compared taxes to the Holocaust on NPR's Fresh Air.
In comments Peter provides this report:

I listened pretty carefully, and with some astonishment. Grover was making the point that in this country, people often go up and down the income scale, so a tax cut for the "rich" can benefit everyone. Terry Gross responded with a question about the estate tax repeal, which clearly benefits only those who have rich parents.

Grover calmly segued into a moral argument: that is was immoral to discriminate against one group of people just because they were different, ie, rich. He said something like, "It's like the Holocaust, people saying, 'Oh, it's okay, they're just going after those people there... not me.' Something is immoral no matter who they're doing it too."

Terry, who is very kind of all sorts of guests, interrupted: "Excuse me... did you just compare taxes to the Holocaust?"

"No," said Grover, and then did it again. He repeated that whether or not you're taxing someone, or "shooting" someone, its immoral for you to accept it just because it's happening to someone else. He also then threw in a comparison to the Apartheid regime of South Africa.

Briefly: this interview was actually disturbing. Norquist laid out ridiculous arguments and nebulous facts with the calm, reasoned manner of a Lyndon LaRouche: someone who believes that only he has the truth, and everyone else is deluded or evil.

The interview started with him responding to Terry's question: "How do we pay for the war in Iraq, etc." by him saying, "Interesting use of the word 'we.' We are the people. The government is THEM. THEY have to pay for it; we don't."

And this man talks to the President and his senior advisers on a regular basis.

Can't wait for the transcript...

UPDATE: Sadly No kindly provides the transcript:

Norquist [Discussing the death tax] I think it speaks very much to the health of the nation that 70% plus of Americans want to abolish the death tax because they see it as fundamentally unjust. The argument that some who play to the politics of hate and class division will say it's only 2% or 5% in the near future of Americans likely to have to pay that tax. I mean, that's the morality of the Holocaust, it's only a small percentage, it's not you it's somebody else. And this country, people who may not make, earning a lot of money, at the centerpiece of their lives, they may have other things to focus on, they just say it's not just, if you've paid taxes on your income government should leave you alone, not tax you again.

Q. Did you just compare the estate tax with the Holocaust?

Norquist: No, the morality that says it's ok to do something to a group because they're a small percentage of the population, is the morality that says that the Holocaust is ok because they didn't target everybody. It's just a small percentage what are you worried about? It's not you. It's not you, it's them. And arguing that it's ok to loot some group because it's them, or kill some group because it's them, and because it's a small number, that has no place in a democratic society that treats people equally. The government's going to do something to or for us it should treat us all equally. And the argument that Bill Clinton used when he wanted to raise taxes in 1993 is I'm only going to tax the top 2%, so this doesn't affect the rest of you, I'm only going to get some of these guys, not you, others.

The challenge there, when people use that rhetoric, in addition to the fact that I think it's immoral to separate the society, by, uh, when South Africa divided society by race, that was wrong. When East Germany divided them by income and class, that was wrong. East Germany was not an improvement over South Africa. Dividing people so when you can mug them one at a time is a bad thing to do. Whether you do on racial grounds, religious grounds, whether you work on Saturdays or not grounds, economic grounds.

Q. So you see taxes as being, the way they are now a terrible discrimination against the wealthy, comparable to the kind of discrimination of say, the Holocaust?

A. Well, when you pick, when you use, you can use different rhetoric, or different points for different purposes, and I would argue that those who say don't let this bother you I'm only doing it, the government is only doing to a small part of the population, that is very wrong. And it's immoral. they should treat everybody the same. They shouldn't be shooting anyone. And they shouldn't be taking half of anybody's income or wealth when they die.