Poll: Most Americans Oppose Extending Tax Cuts For Wealthy

Given the extent to which the Obama Administration has consistently retreated in the face of Republican opposition to their efforts to limit the extension of the Bush tax cuts to the middle class, it’s definitely interesting that the public seems to agree with them even though they are losing:

Republicans have argued that the midterm elections have given them a mandate on what they are calling one of the most important issues facing America, the extension of the Bush-era tax cuts.

“The American people want us to stop all the looming tax hikes and to cut spending, and that should be the priority of the remaining days that we have in this Congress,” incoming House Speaker Rep. John Boehner said Thursday. Boehner added that a House vote Thursday to extend the cuts for all but the highest-earning Americans amounted to “chicken crap.”

According to a new CBS News poll, however, Boehner is off-base in his claim that Americans “want us to stop all the looming tax hikes.”

The poll finds that 53 percent of Americans want the Bush-era tax cuts extended only for households earning less than $250,000 per year. That roughly matches the proposal put forth by the White House, which wants to extend the cuts only for incomes less than $250,000 for families and $200,000 for individuals.

Just 26 percent of Americans say they support extending the cuts for all Americans, even those earning above the $250,000 level, which is the GOP proposal.

Another 14 percent of Americans say the cuts should expire for all Americans. The Treasury Department says the cost of making the cuts permanent for everyone is $3.7 trillion over a decade. The White House plan which would not extend the cuts on high earners would cost an estimated $3 trillion over ten years.

Frankly, the fact that they are losing this fight under these circumstances just seems to be yet more proof of the political incompetence of the Obama Administration.

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Congress, Politicians, Quick Takes, Taxes, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Aidan says:

    At the same time, a majority of Senators voted to extend tax cuts for people making under $250,000 (and $1 million). 53% of the public is in support, and 53% of the Senate just voted accordingly. They fell 7 votes shy of a filibuster-proof majority. The timing and framing of the vote strikes me and plenty of others as a large political miscalculation, but it should also be acknowledged that there were not enough votes in the Senate for this to pass, regardless of who is President. There are structural factors that need to be addressed, and that Senator Merkley is apparently planning to address next month.

  2. Aidan says:

    More concisely, if the American public were subject to the same procedural rules as the Senate, that 53% majority wouldn’t be able to pass anything at all without significant compromise or capitulation if the opposition was united and stubborn enough.

  3. Tano says:

    Yes, this is getting tiresome. Can we just have a little acronym to use here – ITFS – its the filibuster, stupid – whenever we get these tendentious posts accusing the administration of political incompetence without recognizing that the Republicans have had, since Scott Brown’s election, an effective veto over any bill working its way through Congress?

  4. john personna says:

    So there is this chorus saying “the Dems must cave.” Doug is part of it, now while faulting the Obama administration for it.

    What if they don’t cave?

  5. gay rino says:

    Looks like DADT is going to stick around for another 17 years folks!

    http://hotair.com/archives/2010/12/04/senate-tax-bills-die-on-floor/

    Great news!

  6. Terrye says:

    I am not so sure about a poll like this. I think most people want their taxes to stay the same or go down…they want the rich to pay more because that means someone else pays. I mean come on, how many people make more than $250,000 a year?…so that means the other guy pays…unless of course that other guy is their boss and they lose a job because his taxes went up and they don’t want that either.

  7. Dave says:

    We’ll see how this plays out, but I have a hunch the political incompetence here is on the part of the Republicans, whose first major action after a misinterpreted political mandate is to vote against a widely popular Obama-supported tax policy.

  8. Terrye says:

    Dave:

    My brother runs a small contracting company. He would fit into this category. He has already said that if this goes through, someone loses a job. He will just cut back on his work and put himself below that level of income. After all, for a guy like him it is the money he keeps, not the money makes that concerns him most.

  9. Hari says:

    Terrye, does your brother understand what a marginal tax rate is?

  10. Terrye says:

    Hari:

    Hell if I know. I am just repeating what he said. The truth is he has an accountant and he does whatever that guy tells him.

  11. Jack says:

    The only “political incompetence” being shown is that the Democrats in general keep assuming the Republicans are acting in good faith and are interested in good governance of the nation.

    Instead, the Republicans are acting like two year olds who scream any time they don’t get EVERYTHING they want. There is no good faith on the Republican side. “Compromise” does not mean “I get everything I want and you get a defeat”, but that is the way the Republicans have been acting.

    So, the incompetence is in assuming the Republicans care about anything other than gaining power. In other words, the Democrats in general and the Obama administration in particular need to break out the brass knuckles and start hitting back and calling the BS when the Republicans start flinging it.

  12. john personna says:

    Terrye, the thing that makes those claims suspect is that this is (a) as Hari said, just about the marginal rate after the first $250K in income, and (b) this is about net-income, it is after all business expenses are paid.

    If that worker helps your brother make more, then he still earns more.

    If that worker doesn’t help the bottom line, doesn’t improve the net income, is it the fault of the tax? Really?

  13. john personna says:

    (The way some Republicans try to make it work is in a mutli-year cycle. They accept that in a singe year that worker’s pay is a business expense, before the owner’s income tax is calculated. What they say is “yeah, but say my friend is making money this year and wants to turn around next year and higher new people?”

    Well, surely the accountant can help him figure a way to do that hiring with pre-tax money. Or better yet, OPM.

    Money that is out of the business, and already taxed as personal income should be protected.)

  14. An Interested Party says:

    It’s nice to know that some “small business” owners want to act like petulant children as they practice a form of blackmail against their employees if the top tax rate goes up a few percentage points…

  15. Terrye says:

    john:

    The point is my brother does not see any reason to carry a big crew, pay taxes on them and pay more taxes if he earns more as well. It is getting more and more expensive to hire people and if you had more taxes on that a lot of people will just cut back. I know a lot of people do not want to admit that, and they think that this is all crap, but we are looking at an unemployment rate of 9.8% so it follows that a lot of people are going to start to wonder if the Democrats have a clue as to what they are doing…and btw, they have been in control of Congress for 4 years. Why the urgency now? They could have dealt with this months ago at the very least.

  16. Terrye says:

    Interested Party, they are not acting like small children, they are worried about the economy and the future. They are nervous about changes and what it means to them.

    My company changed us over to HSAs this year and now I find out that next year we will not be able to use the HSAs the way we are now..Obamacare is changing all that. So yeah, first they say the bill will not change anyone’s policies and then my insurance is replaced by a HSA because of the rise in costs due to Obamacare, and then that changes too because Obamacare is changing how that works. We had a meeting with a representative from corporate and she told us that if we did not like the changes we could blame our government.

    That is the problem. You can say my brother is petulant or full of it or I am lying about what he said, you can even say that I am making up what my corporate rep said or that she is a big bad business person lying to the minions to evade responsibility…whatever, but people are nervous about all these changes and that effects their behavior and that in turn effects the economy.

  17. john personna says:

    So Terrye, your 07:12 post doesn’t tie that lack of hiring to the mathematics of the tax cut at all. You realize that, right? You made a purely emotional argument.

  18. reid says:

    I’m not a small businessman, but I don’t understand the logic behind someone wilfully doing less work/business to avoid paying about 4% more on the portion of their personal income over $250K. Isn’t that the gist of it? It seems like either ideologically-driven pettiness or Fox-driven ignorance. I’m not quite to that level of income, but I sure wouldn’t shoot myself in the foot by turning down a raise that suddenly put me over $250K.

  19. anjin-san says:

    > but I sure wouldn’t shoot myself in the foot by turning down a raise that suddenly put me over $250K.

    Agreed. My wife and I are within shouting distance of 250k and both busting our butts to get the raises that will get us there. If my taxes go up, that it a problem I am willing to live with.

    One thing that I simply do not understand is that how people who make the most money, who benefit the most from the status quo don’t see the logic in paying a bit more to MAINTAIN the status quo.

    Do we really want a society where the disenfranchised are so without hope and so angry that they are simply going to start saying “lets go fvck up some rich folks”?

  20. Terrye says:

    john:

    So what if I mad an emotional response…the whole point to this thread is what do or do not like or prefer it has nothing to do with mathematics.

    The larger issue is that the Democrats have been in control of the Congress for years now, they have known that these tax cuts were going to be coming to an end, they have also been in control of the purse strings. Well, just look at the deficit and look at the unemployment rates and tell me why I should believe that the people running Congress have any idea about what will or will not create jobs?

  21. Terrye says:

    reid:

    It is not about doing less work. My brother has to hire people to do that work, he has payroll, he has other taxes to pay. It is not as if the money just arrives in a paycheck every other week. He has the responsibility of running the business and he told me is not willing to take on the responsibility of additional people and work if he does not know what his taxes will be or what it will cost him to hire people.

    Too many taxes and too many regulations can slow down economic growth. It has nothing to do with being selfish or greedy or lazy or any of that.

    Honestly, people how can you look at this economy right now and think it is all just as simple as people either being selfish or not selfish? Demagoguery about the poor is the only thing the left knows when it comes to tax policy and business…that is it…and yet I can look at cities that have been run by Democrats for decades and all I see is corruption and poverty. So spare me the lectures on morality.

    I am not a rich woman myself and I resent liberals constantly using the working poor to justify their half baked ideas on the economy.

  22. john personna says:

    So what if I mad an emotional response…the whole point to this thread is what do or do not like or prefer it has nothing to do with mathematics.

    lolz

  23. An Interested Party says:

    “Demagoguery about the poor is the only thing the left knows when it comes to tax policy and business…that is it…and yet I can look at cities that have been run by Democrats for decades and all I see is corruption and poverty. So spare me the lectures on morality.”

    Demagoguery about “class warfare” is the only thing the right knows when it comes to tax policy and business…that is it…and yet I can look at the national government when run by Republicans and I all I see are deficits and rising spending and a lack of job creation and incomes of the wealthy increasing while everyone else’s income stagnates. So spare me the lectures on Democrats and their supposed “anti business” attitude and their “tax and spend” policies…

  24. reid says:

    “He has the responsibility of running the business and he told me is not willing to take on the responsibility of additional people and work if he does not know what his taxes will be or what it will cost him to hire people.”

    Are we talking about the possibility of personal income taxes going up 4% over $250K (or $1M)? Isn’t that simple and the “worst” case for him? I can’t see how this relatively small potential change would cause him to freeze his plans. You’ve admitted this is based more on emotion, though, so that does explain it.