The ideological architect of the Bush tax policies is Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). Called by USA Today "the most influential Washingtonian most people have never heard of," Norquist has pursued for nearly two decades the conservative goal of shrinking the size of government through reducing tax revenue. Through ATR, founded in 1986, he coordinates the "Wednesday meeting"—a weekly strategy and coordinating meeting attended by all the major conservative organizations and regularly by administration officials.
Norquists fundamental belief is that taxation is theft—money the government "takes by force." Its the libertarian view that has animated the conservative movement for years, grounded in an unshakeable faith that if economic decisions are left to individuals and the unrestrained free market, all will be well. Government is always the enemy, and the ultimate goal of the movement is—in a phrase that has now entered the online Dictionary of Public Finance—to "starve the beast." ATRs mission statement says: "The governments power to control ones life derives from its power to tax. We believe that power should be minimized."