Reuters reports on a new Quinnipiac poll finding that strong majorities support increasing taxes on those earning over $250,000 per year.
The Quinnipiac University poll found that 60 percent of Americans among both major political parties think raising income taxes on households making more than $250,000 should be a main tenet of the government’s efforts to tame the deficit. More than 70 percent, including a majority of Republicans, say those making more than $1 million should pay more.
The public also strongly believes that people earning less than that should not have their taxes raised or have their “entitlement” benefits cut.
But 80 percent say raising taxes on those making less than that should not be part of the government’s approach. Moreover, most oppose touching Medicare and Social Security – two long-term drivers of the budget deficit over the coming decades.
Taxing the very wealthy and not cutting benefits are supported, it turns out, by a majority of Republicans.
Not surprisingly, many more Democrats than Republicans back hiking taxes on those making more, though 56 percent of Republicans did support raising taxes on those making more than $1 million, the poll found.
There was only a slim partisan divide, with only slightly fewer Republicans opposed to cutting the growth of the government health plan for the elderly, Medicare or Social Security, to help the deficit.
In discussing this issue Reuters, however, continues the lie that cutting entitlements is the only option in dealing with ballooning deficits:
“Given those numbers, it’s clear that those who want serious deficit reduction have their work cut out for them in convincing the public, which seems adamantly opposed to cutting the programs with the largest budgets,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the polling institute.
In tackling the deficit, most economists agree taxing the rich only won’t raise the revenue necessary to make a dent. With much of federal spending fixed in entitlement programs and interest of the debt, cutting spending alone is not likely to solve the nation’s fiscal problems.
First, taxing the rich won’t maker a dent, because they can’t actually imagine taxing them very much. But return to a 50%-70% marginal tax rate and the figures change. Why is that not under discussion?All that is contemplated, however, is a pitiful reversal of the Bush tax boondoggle for the wealthy when what is needed, as a first step, is to reverse the entire realignment of our tax system since Reagan.
Second, Medicare costs can be reduced by adopting real healthcare reform in the form of Medicare for all, rather than the just adopted plan that shovels hundreds of billions of dollars into the insurance and pharmaceutical companies, thereby guaranteeing their profits at the expense of the rest of us. Studies show serious cost saving from single-payer Medicare for all.
Additionally, the distinguished commentators ignore the largest waste of money, the so-called “defense” budget, a large portion of which goes only to assure US military dominance of a world no longer accepting military dominance. A 50%-70% in the military budget, broadly defined, would go a long way toward reducing the deficit. [I say "broadly defined" as much of the war budget is in other departments, such as the Department of Energy, where much nuclear weapons costs are hid in pain site.]
Both strongly taxing the wealthy and severely cutting the war budget would have the advantages of improving the quality of life for most of the population while addressing the budget deficit. For increased equality is a major factor, perhaps the major factor in increasing quality of life in an industrialized country. “Because more equal societies work better for everyone,” as the Equality Trust argues with voluminous evidence. It’s time to start making this country a better place for all of us, rather than a worse place for most, by cutting our already meager benefits.
And reducing the war budget, in addition to getting rid of the massive waste involved in a system largely designed to siphon money to “defense” contractors, would make us and the world safer as it reduces the imbalances in world power that have led to so much destruction in the last fifty years. US bases all around the world only help send the message that the US is dedicated to controlling world events and invite challenges.
2 comments April 2nd, 2010