According a new Pew poll 67% of the American people want more than Obama’s Buffett Rule, they want taxes raised on everyone making over $250,000.
When the Pew Center for People and The Press gave respondents a list of options for dealing with the budget deficit the most popular option was raising taxes on those who make $250,000 or more. Over 2/3 of respondents (67%) supported a tax hike. Only 30% (there’s your base GOP) disapproved of raising taxes on the wealthy. Democrats (82%) and Independents (67%) supported raising taxes. The real surprise is that Republicans were split on the idea, (47%-51%).
The second most popular option was also something that Republicans are opposed to, cutting the military. By a margin of 66%-29% those polled favored cutting the budget deficit by reducing America’s military commitment overseas. Democrats (72%) and Independents (70%) almost equally supported this option, and were joined by 54% of Republicans who want to see fewer overseas commitments. The idea of closing tax loopholes for corporations was supported by the majority, 56%-40%, and drew virtually the same amount of support from Democrats (56%), Republicans (56%), and Independents (60%). Respondents were split on making changes to Social Security and Medicare, (48%-46%) with Republicans supporting it most (56%), Democrats supporting it least (46%), and Independents in the middle (49%)
The two least popular options on the list are the ones that Republicans have most strongly championed. A majority of those polled disapproved of reducing funding to lower income Americans, (40%-55%). Not surprisingly, support for this idea was highest among Republicans (52%-43%), lowest among Democrats (33%-63%), with the Independents opposing (38%-58%).
The least popular option was to reduce funding to states for roads and education. Sixty six percent of respondents disapproved of federal funding being cut to schools and roads. A majority of Republicans disapproved (57%), along with 66% of Independents, and 74% of Democrats. Given their policy preferences, it is no surprise that by a margin of 52%-35% Americans trust President Obama over congressional Republicans to handle the budget deficit.
A president’s job approval ratings are always linked to the economy, so as long as the economy stinks, Obama’s approval ratings are going to be bad. The explanation for why Obama continues to lead the Republican contenders in the polls can be found by examining polls like this one on the issues. The reason why Barack Obama stands a good chance of being reelected is that most Americans agree with his positions on the issues.
It is not a coincidence that the three most popular options for dealing with the deficit are all Obama proposals, and the two least popular paths have come from the Republican Party. In these dire economic times, it is not surprising that Americans would take the tax hikes on the upper class beyond what Obama has suggested. The millionaires’ tax isn’t enough.
The American people want more. People can feel the inequality growing in this country and they are craving for it to be addressed. This is why Obama’s jobs and deficit plans have met with such wide approval. The consensus seems to be that his plan may not be perfect, but it is a step in the right direction.
Obama is going to keep hammering the issues of jobs and deficit because this is fertile ground for him. By not even trying to appeal to the middle, Republicans have allowed Obama to define himself as the fighter for the middle class, and let’s face it, no matter how you may feel about Obama’s efforts, compared to what the Republicans are promising to do, he is fighting for the middle class.
2012 is shaping to be a very confusing election for the mainstream media pundits because Obama’s job approval ratings say that he should be toast, but he continues to lead his challengers and have a majority of voters agreeing with him on many important issues. The tea leaves are definitely sending mixed messages.
Americans want the wealthy to pay more taxes. Obama knows this, and I suspect that we have not seen the end of his efforts to raise taxes on those making $250,000 or more. Republicans can’t keep doing and advocating for unpopular positions like keeping taxes low on the wealthy while cutting funding to the poor, schools, and roads if they have any hope of winning the 2012 election.
There is a similar theme running through both the Occupy Wall Street protest and this poll. Americans are tired of inequality. You can see it on the streets of New York City as easily as you can read it in this poll. Republicans are promising to reinforce and expand economic inequality reflect their tone deaf nature towards the American people.
The message is clear. Tax the rich, create jobs, and put an end to the era of the GOP’s poverty creators. Obama has gotten the message, but he can’t do it alone. As long congressional Republican obstructionists continue to protect the wealth of the few at the expense of the many, nothing will change.
If Americans really want jobs created and the rich to pay their fair share, they are going to have to take matters into their own hands and make it happen on Election Day 2012.