Despite what the GOP keeps telling us, Bruce Bartlett has compiled a list of 19 different polls taken since January that demonstrate that Americans support increasing taxes in order to reduce the deficit and inequality. Americans may not love tax increases, but they understand their necessity for deficit reduction.
In the June 9 ABC News poll 61% of Americans believe higher taxes will be necessary to reduce the deficit, and 57% of those polled said that deficit reduction should include both tax increases and spending cuts.
A Pew poll found that more people blame the nation’s involvement in wars than tax cuts or spending for the deficit. The poll also found wide support for increasing taxes, as 67% said the more high earners income should be subject to being taxed for Social Security, and 66% support raising taxes on incomes over $250,000, and 62% support closing corporate tax loopholes.
A Bloomberg poll taken in May found that only 33% of those surveyed thought that it would be possible to lower the deficit without raising taxes, 64% expressed the belief that it isn’t possible to lower the deficit without raising taxes.
An April CBS News/NY Times poll showed that 72% of people favored raising taxes on the wealthy in order to reduce the deficit. A March NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that 81% of those surveyed would support a tax on millionaires that would be used for deficit reduction, and 68% supported eliminating the Bush tax cuts on those who make over $250,000.
Check out Bruce Bartlett’s blog to see all the polls.
There are a few qualifiers that come in to play on this issue. Americans will always support tax increases as long as they are on someone else. Since the vast majority of Americans aren’t millionaires, it isn’t a big surprise that so many citizens favor additional taxes on them. Secondly, the American people are realistic. They tend to support a mixture of spending cuts and tax increases. This is a matter of common sense to most people. If you are in debt, you aren’t going to get out of debt by only spending less. At some point, you have to earn more money in order to pay your bills.
Those who advocate for program cuts have a valid point when they suggest that the nation can never get out of debt if it keeps on spending, but they negate their own point with the ridiculous belief that tax cuts pay for themselves and don’t hurt our national bottom line. It is a matter of common sense. If a person is in debt and their income gets cut in half, they will never have the resources to pay off what they owe.
Where Republicans find themselves on the wrong side of the fence is when they attack popular social programs like Medicare and Social Security. Hard line conservative ideology teaches a hatred of the social safety net, but to an overwhelming majority of Americans these programs are a deeply valued component of our modern social contract.
When Republicans propose a cuts (tax and programs) only agenda, they are not being realistic. Every time John Boehner or any other Republican claims that the American people don’t support any increase in taxes, he and they are not telling the complete truth. The American people may not love the idea of a tax increase, but they understand that it has to be part of the deficit reduction solution.
The Republican Party may be playing to their base with their hard line cuts ideology, but most Americans disagree. For all the talk among the pundit class, and the hope among Republicans that Obama will be blamed if there is no deal on the debt ceiling, the polling tells a different story.
If the president offers a mix of tax increases and spending cuts and Republicans walk away from it, they will be blamed for trying to impose their radical and unrealistic agenda on the American people.
Once again, the collective Republican ideological blind spot on taxation is pushing them out of the American mainstream.