Gallup comes to the same conclusion as other polls I’ve seen: people want to let the Bush tax cuts that focus on the ultra-wealthy expire.
A majority of Americans favor letting the tax cuts enacted during the Bush administration expire for the wealthy. While 37% support keeping the tax cuts for all Americans, 44% want them extended only for those making less than $250,000 and 15% think they should expire for all taxpayers [...]
The president’s views on ending the tax cuts for wealthy Americans are in line with the views of the majority of rank-and-file Democrats. Meanwhile, the majority of Republicans want the tax cuts extended for all taxpayers, regardless of their income level. Independents’ views fall between those of the two groups, but a majority (56%) would seem to endorse the idea of not extending tax cuts for higher-income Americans, whether or not they want them extended for middle- and lower-income Americans.
That’s a majority, but only a bare majority for Republicans of 54%. 43% of Republicans would allow the high-end tax cuts or all of the tax cuts to expire.
I wonder how this would change if the public knew that the “middle-class tax cuts” would actually benefit the rich at a higher level in real dollars than the middle class. I think that number wanting them to expire would shoot up. But nobody has informed the public of this, so that’s where we are. The Obama policy has the most support in the country.
And this could potentially turn Republicans in knots:
Q: Let me ask you though, I certainly hate paying higher taxes. Most people do, I’m sure corporations do as well, but how do we get out of this mess of the last couple of years — and I look at the federal deficit — how do we get out of it without doing some kind of taxation?
HATCH: Well, we may not be able to.
Now, Hatch needed to backtrack and say that taxes shouldn’t be raised on the top 2% or on oil companies. This leaves only the middle class, or vague, undefined “spending cuts.” Both are political traps for Republicans.
In this case, good policy is good politics. If Democrats had a united front, they could easily toy with Republicans over the Obama tax plan without much trouble, and expose the other party as slavishly devoted to the rich.
But that’s not the world we live in, and so instead, this whole thing could get delayed until after the elections. Kevin Drum has this right.
If your income is low — and probably a fair number of the 56% who want Bush’s tax cuts for the rich repealed are low-income voters — politicians simply don’t care. If you’re middle class they care a little more. But if you’re rich, then they really, really care. And it’s safe to say that most high earners are opposed to repealing tax cuts on high earners. That goes for all Republicans and a growing number of Democrats too. So what seems like a no-brainer isn’t as simple as it looks. Economically it makes sense to repeal Bush’s tax cuts for the rich, and a majority of American citizens are in favor of it. Unfortunately for them, they belong to the wrong majority. They’re not rich themselves, and increasingly in America, that means their votes just don’t count.