Grover Norquist, the anti-tax activist who famously said he wanted to strangle government in a bathtub, sure knows how to overreact. But today he went a little too far, going straight to the mat on behalf of a billionaire wannabe tax cheat by invoking Nazi Germany.
Last week, two Democratic Senators — Charles Schumer of New York and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania — proposed the so-called Ex-PATRIOT Act, which would basically “force wealthy people who give up their U.S. citizenship to prove that they did not do so for tax reasons.” It was a response to the recent decision by Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin to renounce his U.S. citizenship; the news broke right before Facebook’s $16 billion IPO, and many suspected he did so to escape higher tax rates. Even Republican Rep. John Boehner called the move outrageous
Norquist was appalled by this attempt to make sure rich people pay what they owe to the U.S. government, and told The Hill that Schumer was as bad as both the Nazis and the Communists:
“I think Schumer can probably find the legislation to do this. It existed in Germany in the 1930s and Rhodesia in the ’70s and in South Africa as well,” said Norquist. “He probably just plagiarized it and translated it from the original German.”
The Nazis infamously implemented a departure tax on Jews who tried to flee Germany before World War II. Schumer is Jewish.
“The East Germans had the position that if you wanted to leave the country you had to pay them back for all the wonderful Communist education they gave you K through 12,” he said. “Schumer’s effort has a really distinguished history.”
Schumer’s spokesman responded to the smear with a hopeful sentiment: “When even Speaker Boehner feels free to openly disagree with Grover Norquist, it is official that literally no one cares what Norquist thinks on this issue.”
Let’s hope no one cares. But that’s never stopped him before.
Copyright 2012 The National Memo