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Jon Ralston’s Obsession with Tax Pledge

In seems I got under the skin of political pundit Jon Ralston last week by simply noting the fact that during the first five months of this year unemployment went down, while over the last three months after Gov. Sandoval reneged on his no-new-taxes promise it went up.

Now all I facetiously wrote, tongue firmly planted in cheek, was this: “Cause and effect? Nah. Raising taxes couldn’t possibly retard job creation, could it?” To which Jon responded in his Flash e-newsletter Friday afternoon:

“(T)he most ludicrous explanation for the tick up in the rate goes to rabble-rouser Chuck Muth, who said the increase is tied to the extension of tax sunsets. Really? Proof? Please.”

Oh, puh-lease. All I did was point out the “coincidental” facts and raise a legitimate question. I made no absolute assertion. Do I think the tax hike is completely responsible for the ongoing increases in unemployment in Nevada over the last three months? Of course not. On the other hand, is raising taxes a good way to increase employment?

Don’t be “ludicrous.”

The problem for my old friend Jon Ralston is that he’s developed a rather unhealthy obsession with the Taxpayer Protection Pledge and candidates who adopt a no-new-taxes platform. Jon can’t help but write about it, and when he does, he can’t help but write about it in the most dismissive, disdainful manner possible.

Indeed, in his Sunday Las Vegas SUN column, Jon referred to no-new-taxes pledges as “repugnant sloganeering and binary idiocy by mindless partisans.” And in a tweet today he wrote: “Shockingly, @SenDeanHeller is not readily embracing the new Obama plan: #nonewtaxes #norquistiandisciple.”

That Obama plan, in case you haven’t heard, includes a staggering $1.5 trillion tax hike.

It’s just plain silly for Jon to suggest that “binary idiocy” guides Sen. Dean Heller’s opposition to such a massive tax increase….or that his opposition is due to some disciple-like adherence to anti-tax hike champion Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, the originator of the 25-year-old Taxpayer Protection Pledge that more than a thousand elected officials across the country have signed.

The truth is Sen. Heller doesn’t oppose tax hikes because he signed the Tax Pledge; he signed the Tax Pledge because he opposes tax hikes.

Look, the budget deficit doesn’t exist because the American people aren’t taxed enough; the budget deficit exists because the government spends too much. Ergo, the solution isn’t to raise taxes, but to cut spending. Period. What part of this is so difficult for liberals to understand?

If Jon really wants to criticize politicians who deserve it, instead of criticizing conservatives who take a firm no-new-taxes position and campaign on it, he ought to instead criticize those who agree with him on jacking up taxes for not running on a “Vote for me and I’ll raise your taxes platform.”

Indeed, does anyone remember Barack Obama running for president in 2008 on the promise that if we elected him he’d raise taxes $1.5 trillion? Me neither. And did Nevada Democrat Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford or Assembly Speaker John Oceguera run on a “Vote for me and I’ll raise your taxes $600 million” in 2010? Nope.

Seriously, Jon….why not devote as much time and scorn on those who lack the strength of their convictions as you do on those who do?