Benjamin Franklin saw America as a democratic society: middle class, largely urban, technologically sophisticated, family centered, joyful, and upwardly mobile. The America we try to present to the world was largely Franklin’s vision. But recently we have been oriented more towards Ayn Rand than Benjamin Franklin. And we have been that way long enough that on the basis of data and not ideology we can evaluate how these anti-Franklinian policies have performed. What has been their success at nuturing and perpetuating the vital democratic middle class that has been America’s greatest strength — as important as its military prowess? There are many factors one might use to make this evaluation. Here are seven chosen across a broad spectrum of American society:
Just as they did in 2000, the Republicans are running on an economic platform centered on tax cuts, and proposing that the Bush cuts be made permanent for the richest Americans. The 2008 income tax data are now in, so we can assess what their economic theory is worth, and how it fulfilled its promise that tax cuts would produce widespread prosperity by looking at all the years of the George W. Bush presidency.