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Did I really just hear the president treat the American people like idiots?


There's a lot to respond to regarding the president's just-concluded speech on the debt crisis. But I think I'll go with the statement that epitomized how he seems to view the American people -- like idiots.

Tucked away in the middle of his talk was a smooth-as-molasses group of sentences that went something like this (my paraphrase): wealthy people -- note he didn't really define what "wealthy" means -- or at least did a horrible job by saying at one point taxes would not go up for those who made less than $250,000 and then in the next breath said his plan would only affect "millionaires and billionaires" -- oh boy, this is already not going well.

Let me start over.

The president's statement went something like this: the wealthy would just love to pay more taxes if they were asked. In fact, every time in the past that they've been asked to pay more taxes, they have!

Here's how he put it, according to his prepared remarks:

What we're talking about under a balanced approach is asking Americans whose incomes have gone up the most over the last decade - millionaires and billionaires - to share in the sacrifice everyone else has to make. And I think these patriotic Americans are willing to pitch in. In fact, over the last few decades, they've pitched in every time we passed a bipartisan deal to reduce the deficit.

Wait, time out. What?

Here's the problem. First, the American people aren't "asked" to pay taxes. They are told. If it was optional, no one would do it.*

And second, of course they've paid taxes every time they've been told to. Or "pitched in" as the president calls it. That's what you do when your tax bill comes. If you don't pay it, the IRS shows up at your door, rummages through your files, and turns your checkbook into a newly tapped well in the middle of a dry desert.

The president's remarks are like saying, every time I put a gun to your head and "ask" you to kiss my shoes, you've done it! You good little citizen, you! Thanks for doing your part to clean my shoes!

You can't cite something people are forced to do as an example of how benevolent they are if you "ask" them to do it. It makes no sense.

The most amazing part of all this is the president thinks he can get away with treating the American people like idiots.

Maybe most frustrating is that with so many people, he gets a pass.

*Let's ignore for a moment that part of the reason we're in this mess is because so many people refuse to pay taxes, and that there are some people who game the system by taking advantage of loopholes.

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