Poll: Majority of Americans like the idea of taxing the rich more

posted at 12:05 pm on September 21, 2011 by Tina Korbe

Pundits dismissed the president’s jobs and deficit reduction proposals as political grandstanding, but the American people appear to approve of many of the president’s ideas, according to a Gallup poll released today.

The survey of 1,004 adults — only about 44 percent of whom were Republicans or Republican-leaning independents — showed significant majorities support a majority of the individual components of the president’s plan.

For example, 70 percent favor increasing taxes on some corporations by eliminating certain tax deductions and 66 percent favor increasing income taxes on individuals earning at least $200,000 and families earning at least $250,000.

The first part of that is fine. I’m all for true tax reform. I like the idea of closing loopholes to ultimately lower taxes on corporations to increase their global competitiveness, as Paul Ryan says. But the second part is troubling. Gallup didn’t ask questions to determine the respondents’ general knowledge of the tax code, though, so it’s impossible to know whether those polled would still approve of increasing taxes on the rich if they knew the top 10 percent of earners pays 70 percent of federal income taxes or that the top 1 percent pays 38 percent while nearly half of U.S. households pay no taxes at all.

Majority support for other of the president’s nonsensical proposals are even more disheartening. Take this one: 73 percent support giving tax breaks to companies hiring people who have been unemployed for more than six months. Sounds good on its face, but, as Ed has said on his show, it’s a simple question of incentives: A tax break of a couple of thousand dollars will not motivate companies to hire workers at a salary of tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. The tax break will go only to those who would have hired new workers in the first place. That means more federal government spending, but not necessarily more jobs.

Large majorities also support providing more funds to hire teachers, police officers and firefighters (75 percent) and providing more funds for public works projects, including making repairs to more than 30,000 schools (72 percent). The wording of the questions might have something to do with those results — far harder to oppose hiring more “teachers, police officers and firefighters” than “state employees” and to oppose school repairs than other types of public works spending. It also perturbs me that the question suggests the federal government can “provide” more funds, when, in fact, all it can do is redistribute funds. If it was a question of “free money” or “Obama money from his stash,” as one supporter so memorably put it long ago, then, sure, I’d be a fan of hiring more teachers and making school repairs, too. But if it’s a question of adding to the debt that’s dragging down our economy in the first place and of penalizing the very people best positioned to create jobs and grow the economy, then I’d rather we not spend more money we don’t have, thank you very much.

The only proposal a majority of respondents did not support was the extension of the payroll tax cut — probably because Gallup called that what it actually is, “reducing Social Security taxes for workers and employers.” Forty-seven percent approved of that idea, while 49 percent disapproved. Does that mean the American people are aware SS is bound to go belly up eventually and don’t want to hasten the day? Or do they just see “Social Security” in a question and resist any kind of change to the program? I’d like to at least take that as a hopeful sign that the electorate is beginning to understand the precarious position of our entitlement programs. The results of the rest of the poll were depressing enough.


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…..Of course the White House is going to get the polling numbers they are looking for with the ” tax the rich” and “support your local policeman/teacher” poll tested initiatives.

This plays on stereotypes of “Rich Fat Cats” as the “haves” and the regular folks as the “have nots” and you will always get people to say,”yes we need more teachers and fireman”…..

But the majority of the American people have also stated for years that “we need to cut spending” and even more recently,they prefer spending cuts to tax hikes to pay for this bill.

Obama’s bill has a 3 to 1 ratio of tax hikes over spending cuts.
……….very unpopular.

Obama is primed to raise taxes around 1.5 trillion dollars in the middle of a economic downturn.
………..very unpopular.

Obama’s plan also does not jump start any significant job creation according to economist.
………..very unpopular.

Obama’s plan uses accounting tricks and gimmicks to derive “cuts” and “savings”.
………..very unpopular.

Obama’s plan raises taxes on small business and middle class.
………..very unpopular.

Tax reform will address the issue with “having the rich do their fair share” line.Teachers and Police can be hired…..if states cut their bloated budgets and irresponsible spending.

Democrats and Republicans oppose Obama’s bill and the more he has talked about it….the worse it gets.

I think the Obama administration has brought disaster upon itself by thinking that pushing populist rhetoric and playing on stereotypes is going to over come such a disastrous bill that will cause distention from all areas of Congress…..
………raises taxes over a Trillion dollars…..
…………..is basically stimulus II(very unpopular)….
………………and will not move the unemployment level down significantly.

There are a lot of people with businesses and families that fall into the $200,000 range that are shaking their fists at being called “millionaires”.
Just ask Chuck Schumer how this is going over in NY.

Increasing Americans and their businesses cost (raising taxes) does not create jobs or encourage customer spending……epic fail.

Baxter Greene on September 21, 2011 at 2:01 PM

OMG the rhetoric! The rhetoric is working! Where is our Karl Rove bulls**t machine when we need it!?

Constantine on September 21, 2011 at 1:53 PM

The democrats traded it in for Obama.

Because poor people don’t have enough problems, right?

ernesto on September 21, 2011 at 12:23 PM

Paying taxes is Patriotic according to democrats…what’s the problem?

Baxter Greene on September 21, 2011 at 2:06 PM

I’ve said for a long time that as soon as 51% of the people realize that they can vote themselves money from the other 49%, we’re done as a country. And we’re almost there now.

Physics Geek on September 21, 2011 at 1:48 PM

I think that is an over simplification. After all, Obama is calling the whole tax the rich thing the Buffet Rule and Buffet is certainly not in any need of anyone else’s money.

I think that people would rather see the rich taxed, than themselves of course…but I also think that a lot of rich people are liberal Democrats who would be more than happy to go along with all of this.

Terrye on September 21, 2011 at 2:07 PM

OMG the rhetoric! The rhetoric is working! Where is our Karl Rove bulls**t machine when we need it!?

Constantine on September 21, 2011 at 1:53 PM

(from the headlines)

Poll: Economic pessimism deepens, and more blame Obama

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2011-09-20/poll-economy-obama/50483094/1?loc=interstitialskip

….yea genius….working about as good as the rest of Obama’s policies have worked out.

Baxter Greene on September 21, 2011 at 2:11 PM

Because poor people don’t have enough problems, right?

ernesto on September 21, 2011 at 12:23 PM

Poor people are not the ones who get most of the tax credits and deductions. They go to middle class and upper middle class. No one is seriously talking about raising taxes on people who make so little money that they have virtually no income to pay taxes on. Even if you got rid of the earned income tax credit, it would not save that much money because those people don’t make that much and don’t get that much. So when they talk tax deductions to corporations, they might just mean your boss…not just some rich fat cat.

Terrye on September 21, 2011 at 2:11 PM

Vashta.Nerada on September 21, 2011 at 12:20 PM

Because poor people don’t have enough problems, right?

ernesto on September 21, 2011 at 12:23 PM

We all have problems, sunshine. It’s all in how you deal with it or expect others to deal with it for you.

kim roy on September 21, 2011 at 2:14 PM

I’m not buying it. And I’m not buying the results of the latest Marist poll on the Palin/Obama match-up either. And something is beginning to smell like a dead fish.

lynncgb on September 21, 2011 at 2:29 PM

For those of you wondering how Obama could win in 2012, there you go. Never forget that there are plenty of stupid people in this country who are easily manipulated. Like ernesto, for example.

xblade on September 21, 2011 at 2:31 PM

Look at this way, if he gets what he wants and things still suck {and they will} then Obama will look like more of an idiot than he already does. And that is saying something.

Terrye on September 21, 2011 at 2:40 PM

Americans have lots of crazy notions, but behind the curtain, they vote for success.

Spooking capital is the very core of Obama’s economic failures.

HitNRun on September 21, 2011 at 3:10 PM

Does that mean the American people are aware SS is bound to go belly up eventually and don’t want to hearken the day?

Hearken means “listen.” You meant “hasten,” which means “cause something to happen sooner than it otherwise would.”

ddh on September 21, 2011 at 3:37 PM

Suspicions confirmed . . . the “majority” of Americans are damn fools, but that should have been vividly clear after the last presidential election.

rplat on September 21, 2011 at 3:47 PM

I think that is an over simplification. After all, Obama is calling the whole tax the rich thing the Buffet Rule and Buffet is certainly not in any need of anyone else’s money.

I think that people would rather see the rich taxed, than themselves of course…but I also think that a lot of rich people are liberal Democrats who would be more than happy to go along with all of this.

Terrye on September 21, 2011 at 2:07 PM

What are you talking about? Even Buffett isn’t going along with all of this. He already owes more than a billion bucks, and has been refusing to pay it for years now.

If you actually believe any other filthy rich leftists will go along more willingly than he is, I have some swampland I need to unload.

runawayyyy on September 21, 2011 at 4:14 PM

angryed on September 21, 2011 at 1:13 PM

Good point, angryed, and it’s good to see that someone else recognizes this factor. Some of it is indeed regional, but as the county red-blue maps show for the presidential elections of the last 40 years, it’s very much a central-urban versus suburban-rural divide as well, even within states.

If you add up the populations in the red counties — suburban and rural — the total still edges that of the blue central-urban counties. But that is never compensated for in the polling methodology.

The bottom line is that people in the blue counties are sampled as if they are representative of people in the same demographic categories in the red counties. And they’re not.

J.E. Dyer on September 21, 2011 at 5:15 PM

Comment pages: 1 2