Most Americans Want Higher Taxes for Rich

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Legislators in Washington may be torn about whether to raise taxes on the wealthiest households to boost government revenues and lower the deficit, but the American public seems largely decided on the issue.

Nearly three quarters of those surveyed in a new poll by The New York Times and CBS News said they would approve of increasing taxes on households earning $250,000 or more a year to bring down the deficit, while just 24% said they disapprove of this step.

Likewise, some 72% of those surveyed by The Washington Post and ABC in a poll also released this month said they supported taxing the wealthiest households, while 27% were said to be against it.

Indeed, these results have been echoed in countless polls from recent months. One survey from Vanity Fair and 60 Minutes found that 61% of Americans would increase taxes on the wealthy to fix the deficit, but just 4% would be willing to cut Medicare and 3% would be willing to cut Social Security.

Just before Congress voted to extend the Bush-era tax cuts on all taxpayers, including the wealthiest households, a CNN research poll found that only a third of Americans actually supported tax breaks for those earning $250,000 or more. Another poll from Gallup and USA Today, released two months before CNN’s, came to virtually the same conclusion.

But as much as Americans seem willing to tax the wealthy to bring the country’s finances in line, most are against having their own taxes go up.

Just 44% of those surveyed in the recent New York Times/CBS News poll said they were willing to pay more in taxes to reduce the budget deficit, and only a fifth of those surveyed said Congress should consider a tax increase for all Americans as part of its strategy to improve the country’s long-term fiscal outlook.