Norquist is an idiot to support any and all tax loopholes. These tax breaks are often put in place to pressure certain behaviors. They increase the cost of compliance, which is money that is totally wasted, and are used to give certain companies a competitive advantage over others. Why would Republicans make this a deal breaking condition when we desperately need spending cuts?
Norquist apparently does not understand that the cost of government is not represented by tax revenues. It is represented, primarily, by spending. The government has no magic wand and can not create REAL resources out of thin air. When it inflates it burdens anyone who is holding a dollar. When it borrows it burdens those that are seeking loans and investments. How it finances spending not reduce the burden. Spending is the cost of government, not taxes. A tax cut does not reduce the burden of government unless it is accompanied with spending cuts. It simply shifts the burden. Dubya cut taxes and increased the burden of government.
Coburn is right on this one and I don't know what Norquist's game is, but limited government does not appear to be it. You could have a very low tax rate and the government could still be a considerable drag on the American people through incoherent red tape, unjust laws and inflationary policies.
To be fair, some of the supposed "loopholes" that Dems are attacking are nothing of the kind and they are simply trying to single out a few companies for special tax treatment. Obama has been hesitant to close "loopholes" that would harm commodity traders because that is a big part of the economies of Chicago and Illinois.
The only real reason Republicans should oppose closing tax loopholes is that tax reform is a very complicated issue. We need real spending cuts NOW. The Dems are only using the "loopholes" as a red herring. They KNOW the American people do not want higher taxes. The soak the rich well that they have relied on for years has dried up. But they can still scapegoat a few of the rich who may appear to be getting special treatment and use it as cover to punish their political opponents. The Dems can then blame the Republicans and call them uncompromising. Norquist is helping them.