Mary Franson: dangerously stupid, or just dangerous?

One of these days, I'd like to generate some metrics on stupid statements, and compare the numbers for Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and State Rep. Mary Franson, just to see, you know, the trendlines. And stuff.

Franson is at it again, this time sticking up for Mitt Romney on the 47% debacle. As they say, with friends like these, maybe Mitt doesn't need enemies.

Question of the week: Would you be willing to pay more in taxes IF the bottom 47% were paying something - even if it's a dollar? (This statement was brought to me at a coffee shop by a constituent and agreed with the other coffee drinkers)

The real question is whether this statement represents an idiotic misunderstanding of the federal tax code, or a really dangerous attitude toward taxation of the middle and working classes.

Why is this kind of statement so dangerous? There are a few reasons why many working and middle class taxpayers (Mitt Romney's 47%, including the elderly, active duty military personnel, firefighters, police officers, teachers, factory workers, etc.) have no federal income tax liability. One is the Earned Income Tax Credit, which was signed into law by Conservative President And Saint Ronald Reagan as a compromise so he wouldn't be forced to raise the minimum wage. Another big reason is the Mortgage Interest deduction, which encourages home ownership by allowing taxpayers to deduct from their taxable income the interest they pay on their mortgages.

So the question is not whether people "should" pay at least a dollar. They do already, through payroll taxes and other mechanisms. The question is why anti-tax zealots like Franson, Bachmann, and Romney want to eliminate the tax credits and deductions upon which hard-working Americans depend. My bet is that these folks aren't about to advocate for upping the minimum wage at the state or federal levels to offset the effect of removing those credits and deductions from the tax code, which is what it would take to ensure that their fantasy of "everyone paying something" comes true.

So which is it? Stupid, or fanatical?

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