This Story About 'How Republicans Are Born' Started An Important Conversation On Twitter

"Did you mention that you drove her to the guitar store on roads that were partly funded by sales taxes?"

Over the weekend, Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, tweeted a story meant to illustrate "how Republicans are born" by criticizing the existence of sales tax. As the tweet went viral, however, it had a very different effect.

"Daughter, 8, has been savings [sic] up to buy her first Guitar," Norquist wrote. "Found it for $35. She had 35 exact. Then...sales tax."


It's not clear whether the story is true, as some users pointed out that $35 is quite the bargain for a guitar. Regardless, the tweet definitely started a conversation — although probably not the one Norquist intended. 

The tweet has received more than 6,000 replies as of this writing — more than its likes and retweets combined. Many of those responses challenged Norquist's views by pointing out just how many important aspects of everyday society are funded by taxes. BuzzFeed editor Chris Geidner compiled screenshots showing a thread of replies.

You can see several of the tweets below. Users mentioned everything from roads to traffic lights to music programs in schools — all of which affect not only how Norquist and his daughter could get to the store to buy the guitar in the first place, but also how she could learn to play it, and even how Norquist could send his tweet in the first place.

However, some users suggested that Norquist's problem could be solved simply if sales tax in the United States were included in the price of items, as is the case in other countries such as Australia.

Earlier this year, a retired teacher wrote to her local newspaper to make a similar argument to many of the replies to Norquist's tweet. In response to an Iowa congressman who asked why he should have to pay for maternity care, Barbara Rank asked why she should pay for "a bridge I don't cross, a sidewalk I don't walk on, a library book I don't read."

"It's called democracy, a civil society, the greater good," Rank closed her letter. "That's what we pay for."


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