Tax Cuts for the Middle Class Are Good; Tax Cuts for the Rich Are Bad

The Obama administration has proposed letting the Bush tax cuts expire for those making over $250,000 but extending them for those making under that amount. Conservatives in Congress are up in arms about this since keeping the tax cuts for the rich is practically a sacred cause in their eyes.

A sacred cause it may be, but a popular cause it is not. New data from a CBS News/New York Times poll clearly show that the public views tax cuts for the rich and tax cuts for the middle class very differently and no one should be fooled by conservatives’ attempts to conflate them.

Start with letting the tax cuts expire for the rich. The poll simply asked whether such a move is a good idea or a bad idea. By 53-38, the public said this is a good idea.

In vivid contrast the public said letting the tax cuts expire for the middle class was a bad idea by an overwhelming 74-19 margin.

The public’s view is therefore clear, simple, and diametrically opposed to the conservatives. Tax cuts for the rich are bad. Tax cuts for the middle class are good. Time for our policymakers to listen up and move forward.

Ruy Teixeira is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. To learn more about his public opinion analysis go to the Media and Progressive Values page and the Progressive Studies program page of our website.