"In politics, taxation is not the most important thing. It is the only thing." This is the first sentence of Mr. Norquist's chapter on TAXES: The lifeblood of the state.
Mr. Norquist does an excellent job explaining different categories of taxes - marginal income tax rate, property taxes, alternative minimum taxes, capital gains taxes, dividend income taxes, tariffs as taxes, social security as taxes, payroll taxes - the list goes on. As a non-accountant, I learned a lot from this book.
Thomas Pain was quoted as saying "That government is best which governs least." If you believe that then this book was written for you. It should be mandatory reading for individuals who own small businesses, are pro second amendment, advocates of school choice, members of the investor class, i.e. own an IRA or 401(k) plan, believe in much lower and reformed taxes and anyone else who believes in the vision of Thomas Jefferson where we have small government and people are left to live their lives with minimal government intrusion and don't rely on government to provide everything from housing to healthcare. You believe in individualism and want government to stay out of your life.
Part 1 shows a detailed comparison of what Mr. Norquist calls the "Leave Us Alone Coalition" and "The Takings Coalition". Many conservatives and advocates for small government already know these descriptions intuitively, but it is good to clearly see the stark contrast between the two distinct and mutually exclusive groups. Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum you will find yourself in one of these two camps. If you find yourself in the Leave Us Alone camp you will enjoy the rest of the book. If you find yourself in The Takings Coalition, you should probably stop reading as it will only offend your elite sensibilities where you believe government is always the solution and never the problem.
Part 2 of the book details the trends that are shaping the forces and issues that make up each coalition and show where each is going. This was a very valuable chapter because it shows in detail the areas in which the left will lead assaults to minimize the political power of the Leave Us Alone Coalition. It also shows the groups that are also members of the Leave Us Alone Coalition so that you can band together with them on their causes and they can hopefully join yours, which will help create strength in numbers. If you are a Leave Us Alone Coalition member you will see the groups on the left and issues they are attacking to subject you to a larger and more intrusive government. It is hard to fight an enemy that you can't see and have no idea where they will strike next. The great military philosopher Sun Tzu said "Know your enemy" after reading this section that enemy and their battle plans will be crystal clear to you.
Part 3 was the best in the entire book. It details the key reforms that will be needed to strengthen the Leave Us Alone Coalition. It shows in detail what issues you should be advocating, fighting, and most importantly voting for. After reading this section you will be armed to the teeth to ask any politician both State and Federal where they stand on the issues that will make government our servants instead of the the other way around. You will see why the key issues he lays out are so critical to long term change and how you can help get us there. It gives a very detailed road map for voters who choose to be informed and wish to be left alone by government. People should not fear their government rather the government should fear the people. If the Takings Coalition continues unchecked it will be us who fears them and is at their mercy for all of our needs. If we follow, fight, and vote for the issues that is detailed in this section it will create the long term change in government that keeps government working for us and out of our daily lives.
Many of the statistics and facts Mr. Norquist cites in the book are all sourced in the end so that you can go see exactly where he obtained a particular piece of information or stat and check it for yourself if wish, which I would encourage you to do as it will make you that much more informed.
One final point. To all the Kool Aid drinking members of the Taking Coalition that don't read this book, but come and give it a one star rating thinking you are somehow making a statement...grow up, you aren't making a statement, you are just showing you are an illiterate fool. Get off the dole, get a job, and leave us alone!
What makes people vote the way they do? This is a great book and a stimulating read with a zinger of an insight on every page. There is a lot more than economics and demographics that drives the political marketplace. In example after example, Norquist argues that the key to building political coalitions is to correctly identify the one issue that brings everyone in a certain group to the table. Political scientists call this "preference versus intensity." Norquist applies this principle across the board in the American political marketplace--in ways that may surprise you. Norquist uses the shorthand "Leave Us Alone" to identify a broad coalition of interest groups whose basic instinct is libertarian, not on everything, but on their key voting issue. The flip side of the coin is a "takings coalition," as Norquist terms it, which looks for government intervention on its key points of intensity. It is pretty clear what side the libertarian Norquist is on, but everyone who runs political campaigns for a living or wants to understand the dynamics of U.S. politics needs to read this book. Be irritated or thrilled. Norquist pops open the hood and shows how the engine works. You can see the pistons chugging.
Excellent book. The Mr. Norquist makes a compelling case the the People of the United States will soon choose the "Leave Us Alone" group (Republicans) or the "Takings" group (democrats) - and there will be no going back after that choice is made. He opens up one's eyes to the fact that our individual liberties and money are at peril and we had better choose wisely.