Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Coburn, Norquist Locked In 'Low-grade duel'

For years, anti-tax activist Grover Norquist and Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) fought in the same war against bloated government, two conservatives linked in the battle for lower taxes and less spending.

But times have changed.

Coburn and Norquist, two of Washington’s most unfailing apostles of starving the government, are locked in a low-grade duel over whether ideological purity on taxes is a realistic position in the face of skyrocketing national debt and growing deficits.

Norquist says it’s simple: No new taxes means no new taxes. Under no circumstances should Congress raise new revenues to solve the problem, he says.

Coburn usually would agree. But when it comes to taming the $14 trillion debt — a challenge Coburn has called “a matter of national survival” — he won’t rule it out.

“I don’t have a bottom line. I’m open to solving our very acute problems,” Coburn said Tuesday, when asked whether he would consider raising taxes.

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