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Poll: Democrats and Republicans Strongly Favor Alternative Energy Incentives, Tax Overhaul

4 years ago
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One of the big questions for Congress in 2011, now that Republicans control the House while Democrats still hold the reins in the Senate, is what issues both parties might be able to jointly address.

While public opinion is not always the determining factor, given the politics of Capitol Hill, two actions on which there is a good amount of bipartisan agreement would be to pass a bill providing incentives to develop alt ernative energy and an overhaul of the tax code, according to a USA Today/Gallup poll conducted Jan. 14-16.

Gallup asked those surveyed about eight possible actions Congress could take this year (although, for some reason, the list did not include health care reform or efforts to repeal it).

The five actions that got majority support were doing something to encourage alternative energy solutions (83 percent), revamping the tax code (76 percent), speeding up the withdrawal from Afghanistan (72 percent), passing an energy bill expanding drilling and exploration for oil and gas (65 percent) and approving a free-trade agreement with South Korea (53 percent).

Passing stronger gun control laws, as some lawmakers proposed after the Arizona shooting tragedy, fell just short of a majority at 49 percent. Two possible actions regarding immigration -- taking steps to deny automatic citizenship to children born to illegal immigrant parents in the U.S. or providing a path to legal status for those here illegally -- ranked last, at 44 percent and 43 percent, respectively.

When it comes to how the results play out along partisan lines, the action where the results were the most similar was for overhauling the federal tax code, with support for that in the mid-to-high 70s for Democrats, Republicans and independents alike.

There is not as much agreement on passing an alternative energy bill, but it still gets decisive majorities across the political board. Ninety-three percent of Democrats favor action on this issue, compared to 82 percent of independents and 75 percent of Republicans.

The complication, of course, is that major energy legislation tends to be tied to other more contentious proposals, as "cap and trade" was last year. If a proposal for encouraging alternative energy was part of such a bigger bill, the other issues could sink it.

Some of the biggest Democratic-Republican divisions were on gun control laws and proposals to provide a path to legal status for unauthorized immigrants. Sixty-eight percent of Democrats favored strong gun control laws compared to 30 percent of Republicans, and 64 percent of Democrats supported giving illegals a path to legal status, compared to only 27 percent of Republicans.

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AS the large number of excellent, but disparate, ideas about reforming the tax code demonstrate the reason "overhaul of tax code" scores so high is that there are dozens of different proposals,e.g., flat tax, rase/lower personal rates, eliminate deductions. Many of these are in direct conflict with each other (raise/ lower rates)and or would start/ eliminate taxes on many different actions or products. Some would dedicate a particular tax revenue to a particular program or goal.

In short, the devil is not just in the details in this case. I surmise that very few of these proposals would be fully accepted by a majority of the people. The "loopholes" in the existing code pretty much all exist for a reason, even if that reason is the existence of a powerful and organized group or the deduction, exemption or credit benefits a large number of individuals.

February 05 2011 at 9:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John Vilvens

Green energy will come but it is not far enough a long right now. It does not create jobs as other countries have found out. There will be a time when it will advance enough that it will be part of our energy source. But until it is we need to produce more oil, gas and nuclear energy. Outside source because we have no inside source will cause great problems for america and americans

February 03 2011 at 9:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The American people are tired of the US Congress forbidding the citizens the benefit of our own natural resources, like............maybe drilling for oil.

February 02 2011 at 6:24 PM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply

Thanks joe, nice to see someone with idea's and not whinners and complainers!

February 02 2011 at 5:13 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

The alternative energy incentives are nice to talk about but the favorable results are far into the future. The peril of the green energy policy is that the proponents are also anti fossil fuels. With the Mid East ready to explode and the possibliity of the closure of the Suez Canal oil prices could double and cause gasoline prices to rise in proportion to the increse in oil prices. Shortages and rationing are also possible. Someone with some common sense had better get the U.S.oil production up in a hurry lest our economy tank again and inflation rise to the level of the Carter years.

February 02 2011 at 5:06 PM Report abuse +10 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to joe's comment

Agree, we need to produce as much as we can, and bring on more nuclear plants (though waste is a problem) Clean coal, and natural gas. There a solutions, but to many people with tunnel vision. Green energy will come along as the market place dictates.

February 02 2011 at 5:11 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

I would support 1 FLAT tax of about 16% for evryone regardless of their earnings....treating all equally, is the only thing that is really fair, all should have the same percentage of tax assessed.....remembekr those with modest incomes RECIEVE many more benefits that the proportion of money put in, while a wealty man recieves far far less in services than he puts 1 flat tax for everyune!!!

And along with that a constitional amendment that spending cannot go above tax revenues and tax rate CANNOT go above 16%.....all other deficit spending would require a reduction in spending the following year.....the same method WE all use with our personal household budgets!!

February 02 2011 at 4:39 PM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to jevans7188's comment

I'm a have some misgivings on a flat tax, using the ability to pay thought and that would only generate $2.4 trillion in revenue. I would like to see a Constitutional Amendment requiring a balanced budget, giving Congress four years to get there, reducing the deficit by 25% per year. A national sales tax of 3 or 4% which can only be implemented when the budget is balanced and the proceeds only applied to the debt princple. Reduce the corporate rate to 17% (Canada just reduced theirs to 15%) then, since foreign income is not taxed, but is in fact managed from U.S. corporate headquarters, use a apportionment accounting formula, taxing all income based on the apportionment formula of Sales, Payroll and Assets over total's worldwide. And of course term limits, extending House members to four year terms (they are constantly running for relection) and maximum of 12 years for both House and Senate members.

February 02 2011 at 5:07 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

So, gpfs, what would you do in a time of war with your constitutional amendment with your balanced budget?

February 02 2011 at 9:14 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

jfbac....there is NO special legislative tax breaks for big oil.....they merely get the exact same ones available to ANY american business....quit distorting things to try and make your liberal views work...the truth will set us ALL free....even YOU!!!

February 02 2011 at 4:32 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jevans7188's comment

I think jfbac1 makes some great points and is never ugly in his debate with others. (or at least I think he is a he) That is what sets us apart. We (on the left) want positive solutions and appreciate the good reports coming in these days and you on the right want to pretend things arent getting better cause then maybe 53% approval rating will grow even higher....

February 08 2011 at 6:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

jevans, your going to run jfab off, then we have no one to pick on.

February 02 2011 at 4:31 PM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply

Would you spport change the tax code to something like the Deficit Commission recommendations, three tax brackets (I prefer four). No schedule A, no exemptions, no credits. I would like to see a fourth bracket at $750k or so, with a 5% bump in taxes.

February 02 2011 at 4:29 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

jfab, on the Financial reform bill, have you noticed how banks have increased their fee's to cover the reform costs. Here's the message, business does not pay taxes, it is a cost of doing business and passed on to the consumer. YOU!

February 02 2011 at 4:06 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to gpfs's comment

You voted no, does that mean you haven't noticed, or you don't think business add's their taxes to the cost of goods sold?

February 02 2011 at 4:16 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

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