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Jul. 14 2010 - 1:35 pm | 189 views | 0 recommendations | 4 comments

Vast majority of Americans disagree with Kyl and Republicans on Bush tax cuts

WASHINGTON - JANUARY 27:  Senate Minority Lead...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

At Talking Points Memo, Brian Beutler highlights the continued defense of the Bush administration tax cuts by ranking Republican senators like Jon Kyl, Mitch McConnell, Judd Greg, and John Cornyn. Speaking to the tax cuts, set to expire in 2011, Cornyn had this to say,

The problem is, you know, when you raise taxes, which is what that will be if no action is taken, taxes will go up on dividends and on capital gains on a whole lot of people who aren’t rich. And the problem with that in a recession is it further contracts capital formation and investment which means it has a negative impact on jobs. I really can’t think — if you really set out to try to come up with ways to discourage people from investing and creating new jobs and growing their business, I can’t think of a more comprehensive agenda for doing that than what we’ve seen over the last year and a half.

However, the public is much less sanguine about the cuts than Cornyn, at least when it comes to deficit reduction. According to a poll conducted for Bloomberg Businessweek, “[t]he only deficit-reduction measure that gets strong support in the poll is higher taxes on upper-income Americans.”

J. Ann Selzer from the public opinion research firm Selzer and Company, who conducted the poll for Bloomberg, was able to shed some additional light on the claim. According to documents provided by Selzer, when respondents were asked,

I’m going to mention some general approaches that could be considered to help decrease the deficit—some of which may mean a sacrifice for you and your household. For each, please tell me if you think this approach should be strongly considered, just considered, or taken off the table.

Allow the income tax rate for the highest income earners to go back up to where it was 10 years ago.

41% of respondents said they would “strongly consider” the option and 31% said they would “consider” letting tax rates on highest earner to go back up to pre-Bush levels. Also scoring highly was, “[o]n Social Security, remove the cap so that wages over $107,000 a year are subject to the tax” (39% strongly considered, 40% considered).

Average Americans have had to tighten their belts in order to weather the country’s worst economic storm in recent history, but haven’t seen the same from their wealthier counterparts. Unlike ranking Republicans, apparently they strongly believe that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.


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  1. collapse expand

    Title should be, “Vast majority of Americans have no understanding of business and economics.”

    Since “highest income” earners represent about, say 10%, we can assume that more than 95% of the respondents that stated “strongly consider” are not in the “highest income” earner bucket. Of course people are going to say raise THEIR taxes without realizing the repercussions of that decision. Loaded questions.

    “… but haven’t seen the same from their wealthier counterparts”. Hardly, 12 trillion dollars of net worth disappeared in the recession. Everyone was hit. Since one would agree that the wealthier would have a greater percentage of all net worth, they were actually hit harder.

    A better worded question should have been:
    “…Allow the income tax rate for the highest income earners to go back up to where it was 10 years ago if it meant a higher risk of losing your job?”
    I bet responses would be a bit different.

    The expiring tax cut package represents about 600 billion in potential taxes. Ending the tax cut may cut 600 billion from deficit next year, but it will also move away 600 billion from bank saving accounts and retail consumption. Which means lower retail sales and less money for banks to loan to customer and businesses. Both of which cost jobs.

    Another problem, every year afterwords, the extra tax gained will shrink as it reaches the 19.5% tax limits(see Hauser’s law) and people find other methods around the taxes, aka overseas. Unfortunately that is reality.

    • collapse expand

      There’s a difference, I think, in what paying taxes to the government does and what the 12 trillions of dollars of net worth disappearing does. The wealthy lost money, yes, but that money didn’t end up going to support social programs, public schools, the costs of paving roads, or paying for police officers. Taxes, if levied on the rich, would.

      Have you seen any evidence that lower taxes on the rich actually means more jobs for everybody else? I’ve got a bunch of friends working as engineers who work for a large corporation that hasn’t hired anybody new for their group in four years. From a profit perspective, it makes more sense for this company to have all of those engineers work overtime and earn overtime pay than it does to hire any new engineers. My interaction with people who earn even more has been similar – if they can earn more themselves, especially in during a recessionary period, they want that money themselves and have no motivation to share funds by hiring other people. In the last two years, law firms fired thousands of associate attorneys and profits per partner increased at most of the major firms.

      All that said, I’m willing to consider that you might be right regarding the idea that the rich will stop spending a lot of money at retail, hurting those stores. But banks haven’t been loaning money to customers or small businesses in the last two years, so I’m not sure that argument is particularly persuasive.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  2. collapse expand

    Kyl…Cornyn…McSame….Hutchinson…. all slaves of the ‘cut taxes so ONLY the poor people suffer’..gang which should actually have 95% of their income ripped away just for principle…

    ALL the clowns that are blocking or fighting so diligently for renewal will PERSONALLY make money off this effort if they get their way… They are NOT working for their constituents – only themselves and their multimillionaire pals…

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    I'm a Canadian blogger who spends far too much time reading and writing about US politics. I've been involved in various forms of political organizing for the past decade, some of which has earned me recognition and other of which has earned me the title of "no good punk".

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