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Public Divided On What to Do About Expiring Bush Tax Cuts

4 years ago
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Congress is headed for a battle over whether to let tax cuts passed in 2001 and 2003 under former President Bush expire at the end of the year. When it comes to public opinion on the issue, 30 percent of Americans want to keep all the cuts, 27 percent want to repeal cuts for the wealthy while keeping the others, and 31 percent favor letting all the cuts expire, according to a Pew Research Center/National Journal poll conducted July 22-25. Twelve percent are undecided.

The Obama administration and Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill want to let the tax cuts for the wealthy expire while continuing lower rates for families earning under $250,000 a year and individuals earning less than $200,000. However, there are some Democratic dissenters in the Senate who want to keep the cuts for everyone, at least until the economy improves more.

Bush tax cutsRepublicans are pushing to retain all the cuts.

The biggest change in public opinion is on tax cuts for the wealthy. In 2008, 37 percent favored letting them expire compared to the 27 percent in the new poll. The number of those who favor keeping all the cuts or who want to get rid of them entirely increased, but by lesser amounts of 5 and 6 points respectively.

Fifty-two percent of Republicans want to keep all the cuts compared to 19 percent who would end them for the wealthy and 21 percent who prefer to see them all go away.

In contrast, 42 percent of Democrats want to see all the cuts expire, while 36 percent prefer just ending them for the wealthy and just 11 percent would keep them all.

Independents are more evenly divided over the three options.

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Filed Under: Taxes, Polls, Poll Watch

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71 Comments

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SAM

do any body believe this poll. I got a bridge to sell you.

July 28 2010 at 4:44 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
dclark28

Anyone making 40 - 60 thousand dollars a year will pay approx $1200 more a year, a married couple making $100,000 will pay an additional $$000 a year, and etc,,,

I have to wonder why any working American tax payer would want to allow the tax cuts to go away. Seems to me that there are a lot of non readers on this post. And, by the way, most wealthy Americans have earned their incomes legally and have paid their taxes. It's the 47% of the population who don't pay any taxes that is the burden we carry here in the USA. Let's get these parasites out into the workforce so that they can begin paying their fair share, eh?

July 28 2010 at 12:25 PM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dclark28's comment
andrc657

The democrats want to preserve the tax cuts on these middle income folks you speak about. It is only that yearly income in excess of $250,000 that needs to be taxed slightly more in order to bring down the deficit.

July 28 2010 at 3:56 PM Report abuse -9 rate up rate down Reply
wlr523

we must have these tax cuts if we want the economy EVER to recover !!! enough damage has been done , vot'em all out

July 28 2010 at 11:49 AM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply
toldlad

The problem isn't how much tax we pay, it is what is being done with the money! We need to get our priorities right!

July 28 2010 at 11:42 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
toldlad

People are finally waking up to the fact that the worn out tax cuts and trickle down economics drivel was just a cynical myth.
Crackpot policy that enables the most wealthy to get even more wealthy by not paying duly back into a system which allowed them to be successful in the first place is like legalising theft!
History proves that humans no matter how wealthy are always too greedy and self serving to ever just be allowed to be in a position where everyone else has to hope they will do the right thing. They simply will not by default.
Government has the responsibility to sensibly tax and regulate with the aim of protecting the common interest against concentrated special interest. Ordinary honest people have the responsibility to participate in the process otherwise the crooks and plutocrats dictate policy in their own favor as is happening today!
The argument that Gov,t is too big and needs to go away is just a deceptive tool used by self serving people who couldn't care less about the common good. People who purposely corrupted the Gov't with money and lobbies yet who then turn around and blame it for the problems they have created.
The results are coming in now as we see our society fragmented and deteriorating around foundations eaten out by the shameless corruption of concentrated wealth!

July 28 2010 at 11:34 AM Report abuse -8 rate up rate down Reply
kjsiii

I have a problem with the government's definition of "wealthy." Does anyone who lives in New York, NJ, Mass., Calif., etc. really believe that a household income of $250,000/yr. is wealthy? Maybe if you are living in Alabama or Mississippi, or in a state where the cost of living is low, then $250,000/yr. is pretty good. On most of the east coast and west coast, you are not wealthy, but you can pay your bills, mortgage, buy food and clothes, as long as you keep expenses within reason. It appears the government wants to destroy all individual incentive to work hard and do well, in favor of giving handouts to many people who have never worked, refuse to work, or look to the government for handouts. Such people are in favor of higher taxes because they don't pay taxes themselves--they live on others who have to pay taxes. You want to close the budget deficit? Stop allowing U.S. corporations to set up factories overseas, stop giving corporations favorable tax advantages on their profits, have the IRS audit corporate financial statements and tax returns like they go after individuals, stop giving money away to foreign countries and foreign governments until you can trace where every dollar that is given is actually spent. That would be a good start.

July 28 2010 at 11:33 AM Report abuse +10 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to kjsiii's comment
andrc657

Only income that EXCEEDS $250,000 will be taxed at the higher rate. The average salary in NY, NJ, MASS, CAL. is about $60,000. So Yes, people who live in those states would consider people earning OVER $250,000 a year wealthy.

July 28 2010 at 4:02 PM Report abuse -9 rate up rate down Reply
Carroll Casey

Continuing Bush's tax cuts will not boost the economy....but can certainly wreck it more than we are seeing now.....the answer seems obvious until the U.S. economy has rebounded more....if not fully rebounded. The solution to slow business is providing more customers....that cannot be achieved by taking more of buyer's present levels of disposable income.....

July 28 2010 at 11:13 AM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Carroll Casey's comment
wlr523

obama has done enough damage !!!

July 28 2010 at 11:50 AM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply
scorpions5

We need to keep the tax cuts until the economy rebounds. Raising taxes on anyone is sure to keep the economy at a standstill and possibly make it worse. If the taxes are reinstated, companies will NOT hire, people will continue to not spend, and our economy will never rebound. It is simple economics. The tax cuts for the rich are important because this will let them hire more people, which will reduce the unemployment. Small businesses need these tax cuts to keep from going bankrupt and will help them to hire people also. The government wants them to expire so they can have more money to spend on entitlement programs. What will happen if there are more people out there on entitlements than have jobs? How does the governement plan on tackling that problem? If more people are working, then you don't have to raise taxes because there will be more money that the government collects which will help in the long run .

July 28 2010 at 9:36 AM Report abuse +10 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to scorpions5's comment
wlr523

vote for real change , vote GOP

July 28 2010 at 11:51 AM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
The Real Howard S

Raising income taxes for the wealthy would raise revenues with minimal disruption to the overall economy, but there are two possible tax law changes that would bring a positive benefit to the economy. The first is a reduction the of payroll taxes that discourage business, especially small business, from hiring new employees and put an enormous burden on the self-employed. The second is changing the capital gains provisions so that only commodities options and direct investments in productive activities get the most favorable rates. The further the transactions are removed from the day-to-day economy, the higher the tax rate. Profits from the riskiest investments (e.g., credit default swaps) are gambling income and should be taxed as such: Net profits are taxed at the higher rates of ordinary income, and net losses are not deductible from other income.

I just realized that my above comment assumes that capital gains will continue to be taxed at lower rates than other income. There is no reason not to debate the wisdom of this.

July 28 2010 at 9:22 AM Report abuse -6 rate up rate down Reply
JOHN

Most of the problem in today's society is the mind's of the average person has been "poisoned" against successful people, and American free enterprise in general. Free Enterprise is the foundation of our national survival, and by undermining successful people, and attacking free enterprise, Americans are eventually going to face a total government control over their lives by those in power. At that point, only the elite among the ruling powers will have money, and the rest of us will suffer under government domination. Don't attack people for succeeding in life, it is the essence of the "Great American Dream."

July 28 2010 at 9:10 AM Report abuse +15 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to JOHN's comment
kingnus

John , I do not think the average person is posoned aganist successful people. I believe what ticks a lot of people off is when a ceo walks away with a $200 million dollar payout after 7 years of working for company and the value of the company is less than when he took over.

July 28 2010 at 9:43 AM Report abuse -5 rate up rate down Reply

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