The Americans for Tax Reform pledge is completely ludicrous in my view, because it effectively locks the entire Republican Party into the status quo. The fact that House Republicans are meeting with Norquist today for an interpretation of the pledge is telling - no one knows what the pledge means. Five minutes of Googling could not turn up the actual text of the pledge. All I was able to find was the following:
The Taxpayer Protection Pledge
ATR asks every candidate for elected office on the state and federal level to make a written commitment to their constituents to “oppose and vote against tax increases.”
Let’s consider a world of three people. One person pays all of the taxes ($3). Now Congress decides to broaden the base, and have all three people contribute to tax revenues ($1 each). Two people now have suffered tax increases, and can run screaming to their representatives that they have violated the pledge, despite the fact this move was revenue neutral. This is the insanity of the ATR pledge.
Tax systems in complex, modern economies are complicated. To have politicians hewing to an oversimplified, nonsense pledge in the middle of a fiscal crisis is beyond ridiculous.