Norquist: Still No Better Argument for Tax Hikes

Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR)
Joshua Roberts | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR)

A powerful anti-tax crusader said President Barack Obama doesn't have a better argument for tax increases today than he did two years ago, when he agreed to extend the Bush tax cuts for all Americans.

"Raising taxes is always bad for the economy," Americans For Tax Reform President Grover Norquist told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Tuesday. "Tax increases are what's done instead of reforming government."

Negotiations to avoid the "fiscal cliff" of mandatory tax hikes and spending cuts have largely been focused on the president's desire to raise tax rates for the top two percent of wage earners.

Republicans have said they're willing to give the president half of his $1.6 trillion request for new revenues, but not in the form of tax rate increases for the wealthier Americans.

The GOP plan calls for closing tax loopholes and deductions, though there's a growing number of Republicans who want to give Obama his tax rate increases in order to shift the fiscal cliff talks to spending cuts and entitlement reform.

"Nobody should sign a bad deal — not Obama, not [House Speaker] Boehner — because of a imaginary deadline," said Norquist.

"This fiscal cliff is, of course, a totally made up deadline. It can be moved two weeks, three weeks."

In the rush to reach a deal before year-end, he's worried that damaging tax increases could be passed.

Norquist also said states that have reformed rather than raised taxes have done better, and the federal government should follow that model.

Norquist and Americans For Tax Reform lobby against all tax increases in any form. They're the keepers of the "Taxpayer Protection Pledge," which has been signed by nearly all Republicans in the House and Senate.

In the pledge, lawmakers promise their constituents for the duration they hold office not to vote for any legislation that increases taxes.