Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Grover Norquist, ATR, and Leave Us Alone campaign

There's one American libertarian whom I admire to be a consistent free marketer,  Grover Norquist, founder of the Americans for Tax Reforms (ATR), formed in 1985 during US President Ronald Reagan time. Mr. Reagan instituted big tax cuts and he wanted an independent think tank that will help him preserve such gains, regularly remind Republican legislators to never reverse such tax cuts, champion other tax reforms in the US.

Grover has written many newspaper articles and several books. This one he published in 2008, he gave me about 4 copies during the 2nd Pacific Rim Policy Exchange (PRPX) in 2008 (Hong Kong) or 3rd PRPX 2009 (Singapore). I gave two copies to some selected friends in Manila, I still keep the two copies.

I like his chapter on Two Competing Coalitions -- the Leave Us Alone Coalition, and the Takings Coalition. The opening page under the former.

The Leave Us Alone Coalition -- don't want government to give them something, or take something from others, just government to leave them alone. Among the sectors or groups here are: Taxpayers, businessmen and women, Second amendment voters (gun owners, hunters), home schoolers, property rights advocates and homeowners, faith communities and parents' rights, the ownership society, police and military.

The Takings Coalition -- want government to take things from one group and give to someone else including themselves. Government taking money, property, power and control. Among the sectors and groups here: Government workers, modern mamelukes, labor unions, big blue states, the non-profit sector, universities, trial lawyers, coercive utopians.

First time I met Grover was in 2004 in the ATR office in Washington DC. I was an international fellow of the Atlas Network that time. He struck me as a straight, frank, explicitly libertarian leader, admired him right there and then.

Second time I met Grover was in 2007 during the first PRPX in Hawaii where ATR was a major sponsor. I was happy and honored to be invited and granted a travel grant by them.

Photos below: (a) with Bjorn Tarras-Wahlberg, then President of the World Taxpayers Association (WTA) and Grover, in 3rd PRPX in 2009 in Singapore.

(b) 4th PRPX in Sydney, Australia in 2010. With Peter Wong of Lion Rock Institute (LRI, HK), Grover and Jim Lakely of Heartland Institute.

(c) 7th ALS Friedman Conf + 17th WTA Conf in Sydney, May 2019. From left: me, Michiel R, Grover, and Dan Mitchell.

Grover's trusted senior staff Chris Butler and Lorenzo Montanari, they are also my friends. When I was in Washington DC in July 2019 for the Heartland conference, I visited them in the ATR office, they treated me to a nice lunch. Last September during the Asia Liberty Forum in Manila, ATR staff Philip Thompson came and we have dinner the night before the conference. 

Thanks for the things you keep doing Grover, Chris, Lorenzo, Philip, ATR team.

See also:
Friendship with ATR and Grover Norquist, June 13, 2019
The 7th ALS Friedman Liberty and WTA Conferences, May 22, 2019
More photos, 1st PRPX Hawaii, May 2007, January 28, 2019.

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