Public Opinion Snapshot: Earth to Conservatives: Don’t Raise Taxes on the Poor and Middle Class
Conservatives in Congress are standing firm against keeping and extending the temporary payroll tax cut passed last year. That means come January 1, taxes will go up for the middle class and poor, taking money out of workers’ paychecks and dragging down the already weak economy. Conservatives’ rather blasé attitude toward this possibility contrasts sharply with their fanatic concern that taxes for the rich must never, ever go up in any circumstances.
The public is unlikely to be pleased by conservatives’ lack of interest in their economic welfare. A just-released United Technologies/National Journal poll finds that 58 percent of the public thinks Congress should act now to extend the payroll tax cut, compared to just 32 percent who think Congress should not.
But the public does believe taxes should be raised on the rich. The lastest example of this sentiment comes from a CNN/ORC poll on the super committee’s plans for reducing the deficit. The survey found by 2-to-1 (67-32) that the public approved of increases in taxes on “businesses and higher-income Americans” to help bring down the deficit.
This is not hard to understand. Hard-pressed voters do not think their taxes should be raised but do think the affluent can afford to lend their country a helping hand.
Apparently conservatives cannot—or just don’t want to—understand the public’s crystal-clear views in this area. They’re apparently betting that voters will blame President Obama for the state of the economy and won’t notice that conservatives protect the rich while refusing to help out ordinary workers even one bit. These data suggest that may be a poor assumption.
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.
To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:
Print: Liz Bartolomeo (poverty, health care)
202.481.8151 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, energy and environment, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7141 or email@example.com
Print: Allison Preiss (economy, education)
202.478.6331 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Print: Tanya Arditi (immigration, Progress 2050, race issues, demographics, criminal justice, Legal Progress)
202.741.6258 or email@example.com
Print: Chelsea Kiene (women's issues, TalkPoverty.org, faith)
202.478.5328 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Print: Beatriz Lopez (Center for American Progress Action Fund)
202.741.6255 or email@example.com
Spanish-language and ethnic media: Rafael Medina
202.478.5313 or firstname.lastname@example.org
TV: Rachel Rosen
202.483.2675 or email@example.com
Radio: Sally Tucker
202.481.8103 or firstname.lastname@example.org