Monday, October 8, 2007

Muddy waters

Right on cue, no sooner had the Minnesota Poll revealed that a majority of Minnesotans opposed raising the gas tax than liberals stated that the reason for the lack of support is that taxpayers are simply too dumb to support the liberal position. Whenever polls show a lack of support for their policies, liberals reflexively reason that people don’t agree with them simply because they’re stupid.

The following except appeared in an article by Pat Doyle in the Sunday Star Tribune:
Some who have followed the issue over the years were surprised that more people didn’t support a gas tax hike in the aftermath of the disaster.

“I would have thought the bridge collapsing might have been a pretty good indicator that something needed to happen, but it’s still muddy waters,” said Lee Munnich, who specializes in transportation policy at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.

He said politicians supporting a hike have not made a persuasive case that routine but critical maintenance needs more money and the federal government won’t provide enough of it.
While I shall pass over Munnich’s unfortunate reference to “muddy waters” subsequent to the bridge collapse, he needs to refer back to the poll results. There is absolutely nothing “muddy” about these numbers. Contrary to what the Democrats believed, taxpayers aren’t willing to write the tax-and-spenders a blank check because a bridge collapsed. DFLers believed that they had the perfect issue to force a tax increase and were salivating at what they believed was slam-dunk opportunity.

If the poll results had been reversed, Democrats would be trumpeting the results as proof that Minnesotans are firmly behind a gas tax increase. They would be scampering about demanding action in light of what would be described as overwhelming support for the tax hike. However, since the poll results are not in line with liberal plans, they are “muddy” and “surprising.”

The other obvious and more important point in the article is how it exposes the liberal belief that people don’t agree with them simply because the explanation was inadequate. In other words, were taxpayers more fully informed, they would obviously support raising taxes. It’s not a matter of genuine philosophical differences; it’s that a more “persuasive case” must be made. (Leftists “making a more persuasive case” is the type of ominous euphemism that one can easily imagine the Gestapo employing.)

The best line of the article was quoting Robert O’Byrne of rural Rochester who stated, “I think for every dollar you pay in taxes you get back about ten cents in value.”

This wisdom is contrasted with a statement that will certainly be a contender for the Stupidest Logic of the Week Award in which 82-year old poll respondent Ralph Belin stated that he favors a gas tax increase because, “I don’t think people in our state are that bad off, they can afford a nickel a gallon.” Brilliant. Just brilliant. To liberals, the only qualification for whether a tax is advisable is if taxpayers can “afford” it.

How about this logic: I don’t believe Ralph is so bad off he can’t afford to send me $100. Ralph, if you’re reading this – and unfortunately you’re not – I’m waiting for the check, because you can “afford” it.

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