Grover G. Norquist '78, president of Americans for Tax Reform, which aims to reduce government spending, is an economist and self-proclaimed “tax guy.” Norquist spoke with FM about the development of his political views, his thoughts on the modern Republican Party, and his take on the United States’ current economic challenges.

1. Fifteen Minutes: What were the inspirations for your early political views?

Grover G. Norquist: I was an anti-communist before I was political in other ways. I read a great deal about the Soviet Union—my public library decided to get rid of all its ‘annoying’ books, which meant all of the right-of-center books, and sold them all off for a nickel or a dime or a quarter. I picked up “I Led Three Lives,” by Herb Philbrick, the guy who was a spy inside the communist party. So I was an anti-communist first, and then over time became active in the Republican Party, and then broadened my interest set into market economics and, in college, I knew I was a free market person.