“Soak the rich” losing popularity

posted at 9:31 am on June 3, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Perhaps this will feel a little counterintuitive after seeing today’s jobless numbers, but it actually makes a lot of sense.  Gallup’s latest poll on soak-the-rich tax policies show that Americans are less open to redistributionism than at the peak of the pre-Great Recession economy, with a plurality rejecting “heavy taxes on the rich”:

Americans break into two roughly evenly matched camps on the question of whether the government should enact heavy taxes on the rich to redistribute wealth in the U.S. Forty-seven percent believe the government should redistribute wealth in this way, while 49% disagree, similar to views Gallup found four years ago.

Republicans and Democrats have sharply different reactions to the government’s taking such an active role in equalizing economic outcomes. Seven in 10 Democrats believe the government should levy taxes on the rich to redistribute wealth, while an equal proportion of Republicans believe it should not. The slight majority of independents oppose this policy.

The question also provokes different reactions from men compared with women, whites vs. nonwhites, and upper-income vs. lower-income Americans. Consistent with their more Democratic political orientation, women, nonwhites, and lower-income adults are all more supportive than their counterparts of government redistribution of wealth via taxes.

The “slight majority” of which Gallup speaks is a ten-point margin among independents, 53/43.  Interestingly, even though a majority claims that the distribution of wealth in America needs to be more evenly distributed (57/35), a plurality of 42% believe that we have “the right amount” of rich people.  Maybe we just need to redistribute within the wealthy class?  That’s near a 20-year low of 40% in 2007, but the percentage who believe we have too many rich people dropped six points from 37% in 2007 to 31% today.

Redistributionist policies will always appeal to those who see themselves as outsiders to economic success.  One might expect that the terrible economy of the last three years would have boosted the popularity of Barack Obama’s populist agenda, but it seems the opposite has occurred.  Americans know that job creation comes from private investors taking risks with their wealth in order to create even more wealth, and not from government confiscation of wealth to create new bureaucracies that create nothing but red tape.  We have spent the last two years watching what happens when government takes wealth out of the economy, and the results — chronically high unemployment, bad housing markets, and a falling dollar that brings high fuel and food prices — are no longer dim reminders of the 1970s, but our current environment.

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at least among the rich!

Don L on June 3, 2011 at 9:33 AM

people are beginning to realize that the definition of “rich” is a sliding scale. Sure, a billionaire is rich. But Obama & co. see those making $150,000 in urban areas (where $150,000 barely pays the big mortgage) as rich. Those people are not amused.

kelley in virginia on June 3, 2011 at 9:34 AM

For once, I would like to see some redistribution of wealth for all the ones preaching it: Soros, 0bama, Clintons, Hollywood and so on.

Rookie on June 3, 2011 at 9:35 AM

What the polls shows is that the swing voters are starting to come to the conclusion that Team Obama has no idea what it’s doing, and as a result, they’re wary of allowing them to double down on the policies that haven’t worked for the past 28 months. Obama and his supporters may think that until the highest bracket rates hit the 90 percent mark that people are still undertaxed, but the moderates aren’t going along with that class warfare ideology.

jon1979 on June 3, 2011 at 9:36 AM

For the 10 millionth time, O-bots:

TAXING THE RICH MORE DOES NOT PUT MORE MONEY IN YOUR POCKET OR INTO YOUR PAYCHECK.

Christ. It’s like trying teaching algebra to a fire hydrant.

Good Lt on June 3, 2011 at 9:37 AM

Repeat: There are three basic types of people: the control freaks who believe they have the God-given obligation to control other people’s very thoughts and property.

There are others who want that to happen to them – the mommie help me, I can’t do it -I’m a helpless victim-crowd.

And then there are the freedom loving -hardworking responsible folks who don’t want either of the first two groups to be allowed any where near them.

Soak the rich to buy votes is just the frst and second groups doing their thing.

Don L on June 3, 2011 at 9:38 AM

Redistributionist policies will always appeal to those who see themselves as outsiders to economic success.

Because nothing says fair more than taking money by force from those who earned it, and giving it to those that didn’t.

Vashta.Nerada on June 3, 2011 at 9:39 AM

So class warfare doesnt breed growth???

Hmmm, thought we figured that out a few thousand years ago.

Silly me.

Odie1941 on June 3, 2011 at 9:42 AM

There are producers, moochers and looters.

search4truth on June 3, 2011 at 9:42 AM

D’oh

Welcome to the real world

cmsinaz on June 3, 2011 at 9:43 AM

Gosh, you would almost believe that Americans can recognize a Marxist philosophy when they see it in action.

kingsjester on June 3, 2011 at 9:44 AM

I think it was Chris Rock who defined the difference between rich and wealthy:

An NBA player is rich. The man that writes his paychecks is wealthy.

The Notorious G.O.P on June 3, 2011 at 9:44 AM

Well duh!

gophergirl on June 3, 2011 at 9:45 AM

I think most would be happy if they thought money was going to pay down the debt, but everyone knows it will just go into obozo’s pocket to start a new entitlement or to give to his union goons. H@## NO!

Bambi on June 3, 2011 at 9:45 AM

Americans break into two roughly evenly matched camps on the question of whether the government should enact heavy taxes on the rich to redistribute wealth in the U.S. Forty-seven percent believe the government should redistribute wealth in this way, while 49% disagree, similar to views Gallup found four years ago.

What may be just coincidental,

47% of Americans don’t pay federal income taxes
47% of Americans receive some form of government assistance

One could argue these polls always end up being answered by the same folks.

BobMbx on June 3, 2011 at 9:46 AM

It’s still disheartening that so many actually believe government has the right to enrich somebody at the expense of another for that purpose alone.
Also some of the questions Gallup asks are outright strange. “As far as you are concerned, do we have too many rich people in this country, too few, or about the right amount?”
Right amount 42%; too many 31%; too few 21%
WTF!! If this country was culturally healthy in the finest American tradition, “too few” would be in the 90′s. Improving? Very slightly.

cartooner on June 3, 2011 at 9:48 AM

Well, all I have to say on this subject is O’Bama, you and the rest of your ilk go first, then I might consider it. All of you make/steal/plunder a he!! of a lot more money than I ever will, so YOU.FIRST!

sicoit on June 3, 2011 at 9:49 AM

Charlie Rangel has the solution. He told “The Judge”, “We have to really cut back in our spending and we have to raise revenue in order to do it”

davidk on June 3, 2011 at 9:50 AM

Americans know that job creation comes from private investors taking risks with their wealth

There was not much investing yesterday:

Stocks Fall 279 Points, Worst Day Since August 2010

http://www.nationaljournal.com/economy/stocks-fall-279-points-worst-day-since-august-20110601

itsnotaboutme on June 3, 2011 at 9:51 AM

“When the people shall have nothing more to eat, they will eat the rich.”

~~ Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)

RedPepper on June 3, 2011 at 9:51 AM

My bad–not yesterday, but 2 days ago.

itsnotaboutme on June 3, 2011 at 9:52 AM

We are all rich compared to the vast majority of the world.

forgotten_man on June 3, 2011 at 9:53 AM

Well, all I have to say on this subject is O’Bama, you and the rest of your ilk go first, then I might consider it. All of you make/steal/plunder a he!! of a lot more money than I ever will, so YOU.FIRST!

sicoit on June 3, 2011 at 9:49 AM

Exactly. If MackDaddy believed what he is preaching, why does he have more money now than when he went into office?

davidk on June 3, 2011 at 9:55 AM

I think it was Chris Rock who defined the difference between rich and wealthy:

An NBA player is rich wealthy. The man that writes his paychecks is uber wealthy.

The Notorious G.O.P on June 3, 2011 at 9:44 AM

And, people earning $150,000 to $250,000/year are defined as “rich” and, as small business owners, are the real targets of Obama’s redistributive policies.

Fallon on June 3, 2011 at 9:56 AM

itsnotaboutme on June 3, 2011 at 9:51 AM

The stock market tanking is just us rich people losing money – who cares?

Vashta.Nerada on June 3, 2011 at 9:57 AM

Paul Ryan should have played this 9-minute video by Bill Whittle at his “summit” with Barack Obama. Not that Obama would have cared or listened — but it blows every argument about taxing the rich to smithereens.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=661pi6K-8WQ

rrpjr on June 3, 2011 at 9:58 AM

Maybe, just maybe some people are realizing that this notion of the ‘fix’ is to tax “rich” people more is simply a ruse to tax everyone more. If rich people want to pay more and feel they should, they can simply do so. But they don’t.

Anyone with an IQ above 10 also knows that there aren’t enough “rich” people to pick up the slack, and they also know that the ueber rich have access to tax loop holes that middle/lower income people cannot use.

The ordinary person will ask themselves whether taxing the rich will lower gas prices, food prices, get them out of foreclosure or help them find a decent job. The answer is, no.

The Dems hated Reagan’s “trickle down” economics. They prefer “trickle down” taxation and never discuss where that money might end up.

Cody1991 on June 3, 2011 at 9:59 AM

We are all rich compared to the vast majority of the world.

forgotten_man on June 3, 2011 at 9:53 AM

Vast majority? Hardly. The wealth is just spread more evenly in the western world (despite what communist morons think), compared with 1-2% of population somewhere else. But the real, tangible wealth moved East decades ago – but you will not see it on the streets or public places.

Rookie on June 3, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Google Laffer curve

The 48er on June 3, 2011 at 10:02 AM

No. I work, I make my money. I will distribute my money as I see fit. If I want to donate to a poor bum on the corner I will do so. If I do NOT want to fund Bon Qui-Qui’s new manicure, I will not do so. If I want to fund an elderly person’s ability to get a prescription filled? I will do so. I will NOT fund the drug habit of a womb-to-tomb physically fit perfectly able human being living in a federal housing complex.

Got that?

Who is John Galt?

Key West Reader on June 3, 2011 at 10:04 AM

It’s like trying teaching algebra to a fire hydrant.

Good Lt on June 3, 2011 at 9:37 AM

I disagree. Unlike the vast rabble that slavishly follow the Dem talking points, the fire hydrant might eventually learn.

TugboatPhil on June 3, 2011 at 10:06 AM

For the Progressives!

Key West Reader on June 3, 2011 at 10:08 AM

One might expect that the terrible economy of the last three years would have boosted the popularity of Barack Obama’s populist socialist agenda, but it seems the opposite has occurred.

FIFY. It’s 1979 all over again, and new generations are learning old unpleasant lessons.

OhioCoastie on June 3, 2011 at 10:08 AM

Redistributionist policies will always appeal to those who see themselves as outsiders to economic success.

…and are championed the most by the people that do the least.

Baxter Greene on June 3, 2011 at 10:38 AM

Using a picture of Joe the Plumber is timely. Obama will be in Toledo today. Wonder if he’ll stop by Joe’s house again? ;)

MattB on June 3, 2011 at 10:52 AM

I disagree. Unlike the vast rabble that slavishly follow the Dem talking points, the fire hydrant might eventually learn.

TugboatPhil on June 3, 2011 at 10:06 AM

Yeah, probably should have put the obligatory disclaimer that I didn’t mean to insult fire hydrants by comparing them to O-bots.

Good Lt on June 3, 2011 at 10:56 AM

What part of “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods” and “Thou shalt not steal” do these people in favor of redistributionism not understand? In a democracy, we are given the ability to reach into a taxpayer’s pocket and pull out, not only the change, but the money they need to survive upon. As Ben Franklin had to say about the grasping of government — including our own:

Sir, tho’ we may set out in the beginning with moderate salaries, we shall find that such will not be of long continuance. Reasons will never be wanting for proposed augmentations.

unclesmrgol on June 3, 2011 at 11:03 AM

My Congressorganism (I’m no specist!), Brad Miller (SWP-NC13), sent out his plan to save Medicare via email yesterday.

He’s devised an ingenious two-pronged attack.

1) Claim that the Republicans are fighting seniors
2) Raise taxes

That’s the kind of levelheaded, creative leadership America needs!

mankai on June 3, 2011 at 11:09 AM

Using a picture of Joe the Plumber is timely. Obama will be in Toledo today. Wonder if he’ll stop by Joe’s house again? ;)

MattB on June 3, 2011 at 10:52 AM

Nope, he’ll be waaaay too busy receiving praise & glory from the UAW at the “Fix It Again Tony” (FIAT) plant…..

Tim Zank on June 3, 2011 at 11:09 AM

For the Progressives!

Key West Reader on June 3, 2011 at 10:08 AM

The Beatles released two of the best right-wing songs of the 60s, Revolution and Tax Man.

mankai on June 3, 2011 at 11:10 AM

Gosh, you would almost believe that Americans can recognize a Marxist philosophy when they see it in action.

kingsjester on June 3, 2011 at 9:44 AM

Why do you think they took over the public school system decades ago!

Shay on June 3, 2011 at 11:19 AM

Good Lt on June 3, 2011 at 9:37 AM

My guess is that the fire hydrant has the ability to learn the algebra. These economic illiterates are in fact brain dead.

chemman on June 3, 2011 at 11:32 AM

What part of “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods” and “Thou shalt not steal” do these people in favor of redistributionism not understand?
unclesmrgol on June 3, 2011 at 11:03 AM

We have a good Christian friend who got onto the redistributionism bandwagon during the meltdown in 2008. When I pointed this out plus the vineyard owner parable about pay all I heard was sputtering and crickets.

chemman on June 3, 2011 at 11:36 AM

I can’t imagine any reason to tax the rich at 40%. I can’t imagine any legit reason to tax the rich at 20%.

Common sense tells us that as you raise taxes, you will simply spend more, which will in turn require even higher taxes, which will then naturally lead to even higher spending. Govt needs to be small and well run. Fraud and waste need to be dealt with, and govt needs to stop being the lifeline for so many people. It’s inherently unfair to take large sums of peoples hard earned money to pay for programs for others that have, historically, been massive failures at actually resolving the problems they claim to fix.

TheBlueSite on June 3, 2011 at 11:38 AM

“Property is the fruit of labor…property is desirable…is a positive good in the world. That some should be rich shows that others may become rich, and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterprise. Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another; but let him labor diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built.”

- Abraham Lincoln

Meric1837 on June 3, 2011 at 11:39 AM

I will NOT fund the drug habit of a womb-to-tomb physically fit perfectly able human being living in a federal housing complex.

Key West Reader on June 3, 2011 at 10:04 AM

I got in trouble (ha, ha) with the local do-gooder community I have to interact with when I told then “If a man doesn’t work he shouldn’t eat.” The do-gooders mostly came from various Christian churches. Their ignorance of their own beliefs is breathtaking.

chemman on June 3, 2011 at 11:41 AM

Progressivism and its pathological need to redistribute wealth is driven by greed, pure and simple. Those in the ruling elite see others outside their circle that are better off than they are, and they use their political power to take what they don’t have the talent to earn.

Greed drives the progs.

slickwillie2001 on June 3, 2011 at 11:46 AM

For once, I would like to see some redistribution of wealth for all the ones preaching it: Soros, 0bama, Clintons, Hollywood and so on.

Rookie on June 3, 2011 at 9:35 AM

Want to see that flip in an instant? Start a discussion on eliminating the Family Trust tax loophole.

The rich liberal elite go along with the progs’ desire to redistribute wealth because they don’t plan to be a target.

slickwillie2001 on June 3, 2011 at 11:48 AM

You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.

You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.

You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.

You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down.

You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.

You cannot build character and courage by taking away people’s initiative and independence.

You cannot help people permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves.

Lesson for you, Obamaman

Key West Reader on June 3, 2011 at 11:57 AM

Low- to middle-income families cannot afford the inevitable increases in the cost of living associated with making sure the relative wealth of the intended tax targets also increases. There’s no need to demonize or lionize any particular economic class–we all benefit from low taxes and small government.

VerbumSap on June 3, 2011 at 12:29 PM

Come on, do questions get any more loaded than this? The plan isn’t to soak the rich, it’s to recognize the fact that the tax cuts on the rich are one of the largest drivers of our deficit. Trickle-down had 10 years to work and all we got was a trashed economy. The rich did just fine in 1996, I don’t see why saying “maybe now isn’t the best time to have the lowest tax rates in history on the wealthy” is so demonized. It’s common sense and logical.

Rainsford on June 3, 2011 at 12:42 PM

FIFY. It’s 1979 all over again, and new generations are learning old unpleasant lessons.

OhioCoastie on June 3, 2011 at 10:08 AM

Yeah, but there will be no “Reagan Revolution” this time.

47% of Americans don’t pay federal income taxes

BobMbx on June 3, 2011 at 9:46 AM

I believe that number’s over 50% now?

Dr. ZhivBlago on June 3, 2011 at 12:44 PM

Forty-seven percent believe the government should redistribute wealth in this way…

Remind me again the percentage of Americans that pay no taxes.

Big John on June 3, 2011 at 12:57 PM

No conservative should ever accept the phrase “tax the rich.”

Whenever anything like that is said, the conversation must stop dead in its tracks, and not move an inch until the lie has been completely killed.

What Democrats propose is never to tax the RICH. That is a bare-faced lie. Of course the Pelosis, Kerrys, Kennedys and Soros’s of the world have never (and it’s perfectly safe to say will never) propose a federal property tax.

What liberals want to do is tax the PRODUCTIVE members of our society – taking away the wealth these people have proven beyond any possible doubt that they can manage infinitely better than any civil servant ever could.

The liberal ideology is not simply “mistaken.” It is insane and it is idiotic. And it must always be addressed as such. Always.

logis on June 3, 2011 at 1:13 PM

“Nothing needs reforming redistribution so much as other people’s habits incomes.”

–Mark Twain

Owen Glendower on June 3, 2011 at 1:18 PM

They can impose whatever tax rates they wish…the question is whether or not you actually pay it.

Also, consider that if you tax a multi-billionaire even a high rate, he’s still a multi-billionaire.

Dr. ZhivBlago on June 3, 2011 at 1:20 PM

Vote for me and take what he has and give it to you, deal?

Venril on June 3, 2011 at 1:26 PM

Republicans and Democrats have sharply different reactions to the government’s taking such an active role in equalizing economic outcomes. Seven in 10 Democrats believe the government should levy taxes on the rich to redistribute wealth, while an equal proportion of Republicans believe it should not. The slight majority of independents oppose this policy.

The “slight majority” of which Gallup speaks is a ten-point margin among independents, 53/43.

What was the composition of Gallup’s sample?

In a sample with equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats, which would resemble the 2010 electorate, if the same fraction (70%?) of Republicans opposed government wealth re-destribution (in English, socialism) as Democrats favored it, and Indies opposed it 53/43, that should result in an overall majority opposed to it.

Every Republican in Congress, and every Republican Presidential candidate needs to embrace the Ryan budget plan, and rally the majority of the American people behind them.

Steve Z on June 3, 2011 at 1:40 PM

Look, this is really simple…

Liberals believe money should be taken from the rich resulting in everyone being poor.

Conservatives believe the rich should keep what they made and anyone can work hard to achieve success and become rich.

So which do you want, to be poor or have an opportunity to become rich?

dominigan on June 3, 2011 at 1:45 PM

No conservative should ever accept the phrase “tax the rich.”

logis on June 3, 2011 at 1:13 PM

I would also say that no Christian should ever accept the phrase “tax the rich”, because that person is engaging in a blatant sin for coveting others possessions, and plotting a way to take those possessions (stealing) and giving it to others.

It violates TWO of the Ten Commandments. If you are a Christian, and hear another Christian using that phrase, you should point out their sin to them and correct them (in private).

dominigan on June 3, 2011 at 1:50 PM

The problem with “let’s tax the rich a little more” approach is that among other things it simply won’t work. Sure you can raise some money (sometimes) but all that does it allow the Democrats to spend more money. As the Democrats can spend faster than the rich can make money, sooner or later the definition of “a little more” and “rich” get stretched to include everyone. In addition, the rich react. They either take their money somewhere else or they raise prices to cover their losses. So any tax increase in any part of the economy simply flows across the entire economy: raise taxes on oil companies and the gas price goes up, raise taxes on insurance executive and the price of insurance goes up, raise taxes on auto executives and the size of the federal subsidy goes up.

Fred 2 on June 3, 2011 at 1:52 PM

unclesmrgol on June 3, 2011 at 11:03 AM

Just saw your post. Glad I’m not the only one thinking this.

dominigan on June 3, 2011 at 1:53 PM

Seven in 10 Democrats believe the government should levy taxes on the rich to redistribute wealth, while an equal proportion of Republicans believe it should not. The slight majority of independents oppose this policy.

In other words, the Democrats can’t do math and the Republicans can.

YehuditTX on June 3, 2011 at 2:43 PM

But the rich are the cause of all our problems! Oh, and Obama is AWESOME!

search4truth on June 3, 2011 at 3:27 PM

One od the intelligent (and sexy ;) ) young women at my home blog defines Socialism (which this is, of course) as “I work, so you can live beyond my means.”

Siddhartha Vicious on June 3, 2011 at 9:02 PM

Od=of

No, really – it does.

Siddhartha Vicious on June 3, 2011 at 9:19 PM

47% of Americans don’t pay federal income taxes
47% of Americans receive some form of government assistance

I’m in both categories and I say cut it all.

MSimon on June 4, 2011 at 4:47 AM

“Soak the rich, those shameless ones!” loses its luster when you realize “them is us.” The only place real volumes of taxable incomes exist is those earning less than $100k/year. That’s because their demographic is the big one.

{^_^}

herself on June 4, 2011 at 5:51 AM

If the left is so enamored with fairness let them pay into all of lefts’ proposed “Revenue enhancers” they want to levy on U.S. and pass a law that proclaims all of the ideals espoused by the left apply only to the left.

Everyone else can follow the monetary rules before the latest change.

With certitude, you will find the majority of U.S. are conservative.

MSGTAS on June 4, 2011 at 10:15 AM