Gallup: Americans Oppose Tax Cuts For The Wealthy, Favor Obama Middle Class Tax Cuts

Americans oppose tax cuts for the wealthy:

A majority of Americans favor letting the tax cuts enacted during the Bush administration expire for the wealthy. While 37% support keeping the tax cuts for all Americans, 44% want them extended only for those making less than $250,000 and 15% think they should expire for all taxpayers.

81% support the Obama tax cuts for the middle class. This is a winning issue for Dems and, incidentally, good policy. Gallup:

[T]he middle ground of extending tax cuts for low- and middle-income Americans but allowing them to expire for wealthy Americans -- the Democrats' most likely proposal -- is the specific option the public prefers most.

Speaking for me only

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    What middle class tax cuts? (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by jbindc on Fri Sep 10, 2010 at 10:02:45 AM EST
    You mean instead of restoring the rates (i.e. raising taxes) back to where they used to be?

    There are no "middle class tax cuts"  being proposed.  The issue is only a winner for Dema until people realize this fact.

    you've said this before (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Sep 10, 2010 at 10:26:34 AM EST
    I don't agree.

    agree with BTD (none / 0) (#5)
    by the capstan on Fri Sep 10, 2010 at 10:34:31 AM EST
    I understand that 'cut' is not the correct word. What I want is the increase for the wealthy. Not all the general public are boobs.  But I gotta say: if the public wants it, I am not very sure Obama and co. will cooperate.

    Then please explain (none / 0) (#6)
    by jbindc on Fri Sep 10, 2010 at 10:42:40 AM EST
    How I am getting a "tax cut" under this plan?

    I think you are  wrong- You may understand the nuances of WORM, but I can guarantee you if most people hear they are getting a tax cut, they will expect to see more money in their paychecks.

    It's pretty logical, really.  


    Because the Bush tax cut expires (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Sep 10, 2010 at 10:45:35 AM EST
    Factually that is simply the case.

    Your point is different - to wit, it won't "feel" like a tax cut. I disagree, avoiding a tax hike will certainly feel like a tax cut imo.

    But the reality is neither one of us can prove our cases.


    WORM? (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by CST on Fri Sep 10, 2010 at 10:53:37 AM EST
    every time I've heard him talk about it he's mentioned it in context of the tax cuts expiring.

    People know what the "Bush tax cuts" were, and the debate about them has not been quiet.

    It's not WORM it's WORS (said).  If you don't hear that, you're not listening.


    It's still not a "tax cut" (2.00 / 1) (#12)
    by jbindc on Fri Sep 10, 2010 at 11:20:42 AM EST
    I got a "tax cut" (and so did you) under the Bush plan.  What Obama is talking about is maintaining the status quo - that is not a "cut".

    And he doesn't always call them "extending the Bush Tax cuts"

    From his speech the other day - in parts he called it "extending the Bush tax cuts", but in other parts he said things like this:

    "So let me be clear to [House Republican Leader John] Boehner and everyone else: we should not hold middle class tax cuts hostage any longer," he said. "We are ready, this week, if they want, to give tax cuts to every American making $250,000 or less. That's 98, 97 percent of Americans."

    That's just factually wrong (none / 0) (#14)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Sep 10, 2010 at 11:28:45 AM EST
    Again, you mean "feel" as opposed to facts.

    The Bush tax cuts expire. That is a fact.

    Obama is proposing a new tax cut that extends the rates set by the Bush tax cuts for families earning $250,000 a tear or less.

    Those are the facts.

    Please stick to them.


    Here's the counterargument to everyone who (none / 0) (#16)
    by steviez314 on Fri Sep 10, 2010 at 11:34:39 AM EST
    thinks it's not a tax cut:

    If his proposal becomes effective January 2nd, 2011 instead of January 1st, would they then agree that he was giving people a tax cut?


    Sure (none / 0) (#17)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Sep 10, 2010 at 11:37:46 AM EST
    But my point is different - no reasonable person can argue, that as a matter of fact, Obama is proposing a middle class tax cut.

    A reasonable person CAN argue that it won't FEEL like a tax cut. I disagree with that argument, but at least it is a reasonable one.

    JBinDC continue to forward a factually inaccurate argument that Obama is not proposing a tax cut.


    That Obama is not proposing a tax cut (none / 0) (#18)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Sep 10, 2010 at 11:38:34 AM EST
    is a factually inaccurate argument, is what I meant to write.

    I think it's because so many people are (none / 0) (#22)
    by steviez314 on Fri Sep 10, 2010 at 11:48:28 AM EST
    conditioned to believe that Democrats never cut taxes and Republicans never raise them.

    Even though that's exactly was planned--we should stop calling them the "Bush tax cuts" and call them the "scheduled Bush tax hike."


    Bush tax cuts for the wealthy (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Sep 10, 2010 at 11:57:30 AM EST
    Obama tax cuts for the middle class.

    I'm sticking to my message. So is Obama.


    It's a good message (none / 0) (#27)
    by ruffian on Fri Sep 10, 2010 at 12:44:03 PM EST
    Worse messages have worked, so why not?

    But Boehner's 'Tax cuts for all' may work just as well.


    Not when you control the (none / 0) (#29)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Sep 10, 2010 at 01:08:46 PM EST
    legislative agenda.

    What will be put to a vote will be "Obama's Tax Cuts for The Middle Class."

    That is what the GOP will oppose.


    Yes, because people would have had a month (none / 0) (#26)
    by ruffian on Fri Sep 10, 2010 at 12:41:41 PM EST
    of higher taxes.

    Is anyone proposing that? with Congress being what it is, I bet it will play out that way anyway - nothing will get passed until next year, and it will indeed be a tax cut.  


    heh (none / 0) (#31)
    by CST on Fri Sep 10, 2010 at 01:16:27 PM EST
    I certainly never got a "tax cut" under the Bush plan.

    Before 2001 I wasn't making enough money to pay federal taxes.

    The status quo has these cuts going away in January.  What is being proposed is not "maintaining the status quo".


    This is going to be a snarky quip on my part (none / 0) (#30)
    by christinep on Fri Sep 10, 2010 at 01:14:08 PM EST
    When Republicans shorthand or soundbyte a proposal that grabs the attention of the public, lots of bloggers talk about the importance of "framing" the issue. Maybe we Democrats have "framed" the issue that people understand intuitively and feel that it is right on. And, if it drives a "wedge"...my goodness, Republicans understand that.

    I think that is the heart of the problem (none / 0) (#2)
    by ruffian on Fri Sep 10, 2010 at 10:08:15 AM EST
    they will have selling it.

    The only way to have a cut is to let the Bush tax cuts expire and then have another cut for the middle class. There will be a raise before a cut.

    I'm all for that, mind you, but it is what it is.


    Yep (none / 0) (#3)
    by jbindc on Fri Sep 10, 2010 at 10:15:11 AM EST
    As soon as they tell me my taxes will be cut, but I don't see it reflected in my paycheck, guess who will be blamed and have (even more) people distrust them?

    it's even framed correctly (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by CST on Fri Sep 10, 2010 at 10:59:48 AM EST
    in the poll.

    Couple of things... (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Anne on Fri Sep 10, 2010 at 10:59:13 AM EST
    As we've seen time and again in this administration, it really doesn't matter what 81% - or 98%, for that matter - of the American people want, as governance and policy is ultimately being driven by what the top two percent of the population wants.  I seem to recall the high percentage of people who wanted some sort of public option component to health insurance, but they didn't get one, in spite of poll after poll that showed how popular it would be.  Millions of people can clamor for something without success, but a dozen corporate CEO's can quietly make their wishes known and - presto! - it's a done deal.  I expect something similar to happen here, but as long as the middle class doesn't get a tax increase, it will be better than nothing.  Not much, really, since we're just talking status quo, and it probably won't stimulate the economy, but I think the goal is style points that translate to votes, so this is all just more kabuki.

    Second, these not only aren't "Obama's" they aren't even cuts, for heaven's sake.  Not having your taxes raised is not a cut.  That's like saying that if I don't gain weight, I've actually lost it.  Or that if I don't get a pay cut, I actually got a raise.  Admit it - this is just political kabuki.

    It will be popular, until the moment when people realize they aren't getting anything they didn't have before; it remains to be seen whether that can translate to actual "help" for people who need it.  It won't mean anything to people whose only income is an unemployment check, and if it doesn't put one more penny into the economy, then how is it going to increase demand and creates jobs?  

    Maybe Mr. Goolsbee knows; perhaps someone should ask him.

    But we continue to hear noises ... (none / 0) (#8)
    by Demi Moaned on Fri Sep 10, 2010 at 10:52:36 AM EST
    about Dems in Congress wanting to extend the Bush tax cuts for the rich. Personally, I'm glad for once that the President is not cowering behind "we don't have enough votes". But I'm still doubtful about how this will play out.

    It is an easy lift and political message for the (none / 0) (#13)
    by BTAL on Fri Sep 10, 2010 at 11:28:06 AM EST
    R's.  "Obama agrees to keep the Bush tax cuts that benefited the middle class."  

    Heh (none / 0) (#15)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Sep 10, 2010 at 11:29:21 AM EST
    That reminds me of when Rove was giving out advice during the 2008 election.

    Your argument won't play in Peoria (none / 0) (#19)
    by BTAL on Fri Sep 10, 2010 at 11:43:14 AM EST
    Whether it is "technically" correct or not will not matter.  Anytime one's message has to delve into technicalities, the electorate tune out.

    That's an opinion (none / 0) (#21)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Sep 10, 2010 at 11:44:00 AM EST
    take it from a Republican (none / 0) (#33)
    by jondee on Fri Sep 10, 2010 at 03:39:31 PM EST
    to their credit, they figured that one out and how to make it work for them a long time ago.

    Just found an interesting article (none / 0) (#20)
    by Anne on Fri Sep 10, 2010 at 11:43:30 AM EST
    that I'm just shaking my head over...maybe you will, too.

    Here's some examples from the article of why (bold is mine):

    A fact generally overlooked in the debate over whether Congress should extend the high-income Bush tax cuts -- i.e. those targeted exclusively at couples making over $250,000 and single individuals making over $200,000 -- is that these households will still receive substantial tax cuts if Congress extends the so-called "middle-class" Bush tax cuts while letting the high-income tax cuts expire as scheduled.

    This is because the 2001 tax law's reductions in the lower tax brackets benefit not only people whose incomes fall within the lower brackets but also those whose incomes exceed those brackets. In fact, high-income people actually receive much larger benefits in dollar terms from the so-called "middle-class tax cuts" than middle-class people do.[1]


    The middle-class tax-cut package the Joint Tax Committee analyzed does not extend the reduction in the tax rate on dividends for couples with incomes over $250,000 (and singles over $200,000). President Obama has proposed, however, that the dividend top rate for high-income people be permanently set at 20 percent, rather than being allowed to return to its pre-2001 level of 39.6 percent. If Congress follows that approach and incorporates this proposal into a middle-class tax-cut package, the average tax cut that high-income households will receive from enactment of such a package will be considerably larger than the figures just cited, and the dollar amount by which the average tax cut going to high-income households exceeds the average tax cut for middle-income households will be significantly larger, as well.

    And this, I had to quote in full:

    It is perhaps best explained through a metaphor: the income tax operates as a staircase, not an elevator. This means that people who make $1 million a year do not go directly to the top "floor" (i.e., to the top tax rate, currently 35 percent) but instead take the "stairs," paying tax on the first increment of taxable income at 10 percent, paying tax on the next increment at 15 percent, and so on until reaching the top rate.

    Because of this, the 10 percent bracket -- which the 2001 tax law carved out from within the old 15 percent bracket -- reduces taxes not only for people whose incomes fall within that bracket, but for every taxpayer whose income exceeds the 10 percent bracket, as well. In fact, taxpayers in higher brackets receive the maximum possible benefit from the 10 percent bracket.

    The 2001 tax law also created a new 25 percent bracket to replace part of the 28 percent bracket. For married couples, taxable income between $69,700 and $140,600 will be taxed at this 25 percent rate in 2011, assuming the middle-class tax cuts are extended. Let's consider how this bracket affects three illustrative households, all married couples with two children. (See the appendix for a discussion of the methodology used in computing tax cuts for the illustrative households.)

    The Smith household has a joint income of $75,000. After taking all of its deductions and exemptions, it is left with a taxable income of $48,300. Because the household's taxable income is below the $69,700 threshold for the 25 percent bracket, it makes no difference to the family whether the 25 percent rate returns to 28 percent.

    The Jones household has a joint income of $125,000. Its taxable income after deductions and exemptions is $97,500, putting it in the middle of the 25 percent tax bracket. Specifically, the household has $27,800 of its income ($97,500 minus $69,700) taxed at the 25 percent rate. Because the rate is 25 percent instead of 28 percent, the household pays $834 less in taxes on this portion of its income (3 percent times $27,800 equals $834).

    The Todd household has a joint income of $600,000 and taxable income of $550,000, far above the $140,600 ceiling for the 25 percent bracket. It currently pays the 25 percent rate on $70,900 of its income (the full amount of income that falls into the 25 percent tax bracket, since the bracket starts at $69,700 of income and ends at $140,600 of income). Because the rate is 25 percent instead of 28 percent, the household pays $2,127 less in taxes on this portion of its income.

    In other words, this "middle-class" tax cut -- the reduction of the tax rate in this bracket from 28 percent to 25 percent -- provides no benefit at all to the household with gross income of $75,000, a household whose income places it in the heart of the middle class, while giving the household with income in excess of $500,000 a tax reduction of $2,127.

    Gives a whole new perspective on just who benefits the most from extension of the so-called middle-class tax cuts, doesn't it?

    Not really (none / 0) (#24)
    by Socraticsilence on Fri Sep 10, 2010 at 12:39:07 PM EST
    I mean that's pretty much how a progressive income tax works- and it has to work that way, otherwise the incredibly disgenous Republican arguments about Tax Rates stifling the "producers" would be correct- think about it its simple math, here's a hypothetical:

    If Incomes of 250,000 and more get taxed at 40% and incomes of 200,000-249,999.99 get taxed at 35% a person would actually be better off in terms of net income making 249,999 than making more than that for more than $20,000 in income (Basically until you make 270,833.33- you should give away, quit working, whatever otherwise you make less after taxes).


    Oh, I completely get that - (none / 0) (#28)
    by Anne on Fri Sep 10, 2010 at 01:08:07 PM EST
    but a message that confines itself to "middle class tax relief" or "cuts" is avoiding the truth that those who are in the top 2% WILL benefit from an extension of the current rate structure - even if, at income above $200K or $250K, the rate goes back to pre-2000 levels.

    And it's avoiding the truth that if someone isn't actually paying less tax than they were before, he or she isn't getting a cut...


    Negative spin on 'Benefits the most' is misleading (none / 0) (#25)
    by vicndabx on Fri Sep 10, 2010 at 12:39:09 PM EST
    without knowing the number of people/families in the different brackets.


    and the dollar amount by which the average tax cut going to high-income households exceeds the average tax cut for middle-income households will be significantly larger, as well

    30% of $100 = $30 is less than 30% of $1000 = $300.  Of course this is true.

    and this part:

    it makes no difference to the family whether the 25 percent rate returns to 28 percent

    Well wouldn't that family be paying at a rate lower than 25%?  Thus they'd be paying less taxes anyway?  So yes, this is true, 28% wouldn't matter.


    It appears the WH considers it an extension (none / 0) (#32)
    by BTAL on Fri Sep 10, 2010 at 02:21:39 PM EST
    vs the "Obama tax cuts".  Albeit, she is arguing for cutting the top rates, the message is of extending the existing Bush rates vs a new program.

    Extending High-Income Tax Cuts is the Wrong Answer for the Recovery

    Posted by Christina Romer on July 28, 2010 at 03:20 PM EDT

    President Obama has made it clear that he favors extending the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for middle-income families, but letting those for high-income earners expire as called for in current law.  Recently, some have argued that extending the high-income cuts is necessary for the economy.  This is simply wrong.


    52% favor (none / 0) (#34)
    by cpinva on Fri Sep 10, 2010 at 04:01:01 PM EST
    extending the cuts for wealthy, or letting them expire for all. only 44% specifically favor extending them only for the middle class.

    god, i do love statistics!

    Economy Teeters on the Edg, Politicians Play (none / 0) (#35)
    by btchakir on Thu Sep 16, 2010 at 01:24:43 PM EST
    The Economy Teeters on the Edge as Politicians Play... So what do the majority of Americans want?

    A new poll shows that 53% of Americans support the  ending of tax cuts  for the Wealthy 1% while maintaining them for the  Middle Class.  John Boehner , however, comes out today saying it is not time to increase taxes on anyone (so I assume he's in that 1%... or is dominated by it.) At the same time, the US  poverty  rating has now increased by 43%... more of us are impoverished by this economy and the lack of jobs is seen as the major cause.

    S0 let's look at that Wealthy 1%. As the major business investors (in terms of money, if not in the creation of new businesses), these folks have NOT created new jobs... at least not in the US. While China and the far east have gotten more employees (for pennies!) and Mexico has received new factories that used to be in Indiana and Illinois and Ohio, the Wealthy 1% have held onto their dough and have not used it to, as the trickle-downers maintain they would, "save America."

    By ending the "temporary" (as originally limited to 10 years... the decade that destroyed our economy) tax cut for the rich, enough money could come back into the American investment sphere through employment subsidies, highway development and bridge repair (much more necessary than anyone is admitting... just wait until our major routes fall apart and truckers are out of business), among other things, to bring us back on a positive track. It may NOT be what does happen. Congress has not shown itself to be on the side of Working America as much as it has been on the side of Money America .
    We should at least realize what COULD happen and use all the influence we can expend on our Representatives and Future Representatives. If we don't, then we deserve what we get.