Super-genius political science professor Charles H. Franklin of the University of Wisconsin, Madison recently gave loud voice to a widely held liberal belief: Ordinary Americans, especially conservative ones, are stupid.
At a conference by the Society of Professional Journalists, alternative newspaper editor Bill Lueders asked Franklin why "the public seemed to vote against its own interests and stated desires, for instance by electing candidates who'll drive up the deficit with fiscally reckless giveaways to the rich."
Franklin responded: "I'm not endorsing the American voter. They're pretty damn stupid." (Excuse my impertinence, but is there a grammatical glitch in the genius's formulation?)
First, we should note that Franklin implicitly accepted Lueders' premise as fact: The voters who claim to be motivated by a passion to end reckless Washington spending had just elected candidates who will be fiscally irresponsible because they support "reckless giveaways to the rich."
But how smart is it to mischaracterize a policy, misrepresent its likely consequences and ignore other relevant data to arrive at an ideologically preordained conclusion?
Extending Bush tax cuts for those making $250,000 or more would not be a giveaway. We're not talking about the government's money, but money earned by individuals. Only leftists believe that all income is the property of the state and that the amount remaining after income taxes is a gift from the government to the individual.
Moreover, the tax rates we're discussing have been in place since 2003. To extend those rates would not be a cut. To fail to extend them would constitute a tax increase. I suppose "intelligence" doesn't require the honest use of terminology.
In addition, the premise is overly simplistic because it suggests that extending the Bush rates for the highest income bracket would cost the government revenues dollar for dollar, as if we have a completely static economy. The mentally gifted simply refuse to acknowledge the empirical evidence showing that reductions in marginal income tax rates during the Kennedy years, the Reagan years and the George W. Bush years resulted in increases in revenue. They also fail to factor in the economic truism that tax increases during bad economic times retard growth and thus constitute a drag on tax revenues.