FDR and a majority of Americans discover the ‘right’ to other people’s stuff

“In other words, the government of the democracy is the only one under which the power that votes the taxes escapes the payment of them.”   

Alexis de Tocqueville

The New York Times editorialists today produced their daily, not annual, treat or treat editorial, calling the belief that flat tax proposals might spur the economy out of its doldrums a fairy tale — maybe like Hansel and Gretel? Have all the gingerbread you want, the witch promises to not throw you in the oven, too.

They also paraded the results of their latest New York Times/CBS News poll as proof positive the American public agrees the wealth should be redistributed more evenly, instead of allowing those who earn it to keep it.

Along the way they belittled the flat tax plans of Rick Perry, Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich.

Here are some key questions from that poll:

15. Do you feel that the distribution of money and wealth in this country is fair, or do you feel that the money and wealth in this country should be more evenly distributed among more people?

Fair — 26

Should be more even — 66

20. In general, do you think the policies of the Republicans in Congress favor the rich, favor the middle class, favor the poor, or do they treat all groups equally?

Favor rich — 69

Favor middle class — 9

Favor poor — 2

Treat equally — 15

38. In order to try to create jobs, do you think it is probably a good idea or a bad idea to significantly cut taxes for small businesses?

Good idea — 78

Bad idea — 18

40. In order to try to create jobs, do you think it is probably a good idea or a bad idea to lower taxes for large corporations?

Good idea — 27

Bad idea — 67

43. In order to lower the nation’s budget deficit, do you think taxes should be increased on households earning one million dollars a year or more, or should the government address the budget deficit without increasing taxes on those households?

Should be increased — 65

Should not be increased — 30

The editorial prominently mentions the fact people think Republicans in Congress favor the rich, but did not ask whether that was the wrong thing to do.

It also mentioned the soak the rich and corporations answers, but failed to mention that 78 percent say it would be a good idea to significantly cut taxes on small businesses. Where do you draw the line between what is good for small businesses but bad for corporations?

The Times concludes:

“The country also needs a comprehensive reform of the tax system, one that strengthens progressivity and raises more revenue from a mix of sources. All of the needed revenue — to meet health care needs; to improve education, infrastructure and security; to foster new technologies and protect the environment — cannot be raised from rich Americans, nor from the income tax alone.

“It is encouraging that after reflexively rejecting tax increases for so long, more Americans are recognizing that, in fact, incessant tax cutting is largely to blame for the nation’s fragile condition, and that new taxes are part of the solution. If only more politicians would catch up.”

I don’t recall reading a question in the poll about incessant tax cutting. In fact, when asked what is the most important problem facing the country, only 1 percent said taxes. Jobs was the answer of 33 percent and the economy said 24 percent.

The problem is: You can fool all of the people some of the time.

There is no democracy in science or economics.

Let’s have a show of hands. Who wants free candy?

(Thanks to Cato’s Dan Mitchell for pointing to the FDR video.)


2 comments on “FDR and a majority of Americans discover the ‘right’ to other people’s stuff

  1. Steve says:

    Proof , again, polls can have any result one wishes. All that is needed is the proper information to ask the right questions. For instance most pollsters did not know Harry’s machine was getting ready to bus the winning contingent to the polls with prearranged sample ballots.

  2. Nope, pollsters did not see it coming, though the papers reported it was happening.

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