Apathy among voters and general ignorance among taxpayers are the big-government politician's best friends. Some of it may well have been on display recently.
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., has been a staunch proponent of getting the government's fiscal house in order. The United States' national debt is more than $16 trillion, and Manchin understands action to reduce it and save important progams such as Social Security is imperative.
Recently, Manchin used a speech at a conference near Charleston to seek public opinion on how Congress and President Barack Obama can keep the nation from plunging over the "fiscal cliff."
Manchin asked those at the conference some questions, including whether it would be acceptable to cut Social Security expenses by doing away with cost-of-living increases for more affluent recipients. Some people seemed to believe that would be all right.
But then, Manchin asked the audience if the so-called "Bush-era tax cuts" should remain in place. Not a hand went up from anyone in the audience, according to a published report.
Clearly, many if not all of those in the audience believe the tax breaks in question are helping only high-income Americans. That is not true. The Bush-era tax relief package has lessened the burden of virtually all taxpayers.
Manchin emphatically is not in the camp of tax-and-spend liberals. But those who are must be pleased at how well they have managed to mislead the public.