Politicians often say whatever they think voters want to hear on the campaign trail only to do whatever the lobbyists and special interests want once in office, hoping (or plotting) how to hide it or “explain” it to voters in the next election. Especially when it come to tax hikes.
The idea of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge is simple enough: Make them put their “no-new-taxes” rhetoric in writing. Voters have learned that it’s not enough to read a politician’s lips; they want to read their signature.
Since its rollout with the endorsement of President Reagan in 1986, the Pledge has become de rigeur for Republicans seeking office, and is a necessity for Democrats running in Republican districts.
Today the Pledge is offered to every candidate for state office and to all incumbents. More than 1,100 state officeholders – from state representative to governor – have signed the Pledge. Statehouse tax-and-spend interests have to contend with Pledge signers in every state.
Frequent (Lame) Excuses Candidates Make for Not Signing the Pledge
Why should I make a Pledge to some organization or group?
The Taxpayer Protection Pledge is actually made to a candidate’s constituents, not to the sponsoring organization which circulates the Pledge and encourages candidates to sign it. Those voters are entitled to know where candidates stand before electing them, not after.
My word is my bond. I don’t need to sign any piece of paper to commit to something.
A quaint sentiment undermined by one politician after another who have given their word on the campaign trail only to break it once in office. Remember President Bush’s verbal “Read my lips” comment in 2000? Or Sen. Bill Raggio’s verbal “guarantee” that he wouldn’t raise taxes in 2008? And look where that got us?
A signed commitment to taxpayers is a much better way to hold politicians accountable for their actions. Words mean nothing – but a contract with taxpayers? That’s a whole different level of accountability.
Politicians who say their word is their bond and, therefore, they don’t sign pledges of any kind are forgetting about the pledges sign when buying a house or a car or even using their credit cards in the grocery store. Why should voters have more faith in the word of a politician than the check-out woman at WalMart?
What if I sign the Pledge, become elected, and then raising taxes becomes necessary?
If you actually believe that the state government in Nevada has a revenue problem and not a spending problem, well then, you shouldn’t sign the Pledge. Just be honest enough to tell voters that you believe raising taxes might be necessary and let the voters decide, fully informed, whether they agree with you or not.