Political Animal


October 11, 2011 12:35 PM Class warfare sure is popular, cont’d

By Steve Benen

A new Washington Post/Bloomberg poll asked Americans whether they would support or oppose a variety of ideas to reduce the budget deficit. As it turns out, Republicans don’t exactly have their finger on the pulse of the American mainstream.

Several ideas were wildly unpopular, including raising taxes on the middle class, reducing Social Security benefits, and reducing Medicare benefits. But a couple of ideas enjoyed broader support — most of the public approves of reducing military spending and a large majority (68%) wants to see tax increases on those who make $250,000 or more per year.

To help drive the point home, here are the results in the latest homemade chart:

Those popular ideas on the right-hand side of the chart? Those are the proposals Republicans won’t consider. GOP officials are, however, in favoring ending Medicare and raising taxes on the middle class, which doesn’t seem to enjoy similar levels of support.

Perhaps even more interesting, the same poll asked self-identified Republicans the same question, and found that a 54% majority of GOP voters support raising taxes on the wealthy.

And this poll only asked about those at $250,000 and up. The latest Dem proposal would affect millionaires and billionaires — and no one else. It’s likely the Post/Bloomberg poll would have been tilted even more in a progressive direction had it asked about the current Dem plan.

Remember, among congressional Republicans, even talking about raising taxes on the wealthy represents some kind of dangerous “class warfare” that threatens to hurt the economy and pit Americans against one another. The fact that President Obama has actually proposed such a change in tax policy puts him, in the GOP’s eyes, slightly to the left of Karl Marx.

And yet, it appears “class warfare” is pretty popular, both with the American mainstream and with Republican voters.

Also remember, this isn’t new, and it’s not as if this poll is some sort of outlier. Every national poll conducted this year has shown broad support for new tax increases.

GOP officials in Washington like to pretend the public agrees with them on tax policy. Reality shows otherwise.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.


Post a comment
  • T2 on October 11, 2011 12:40 PM:

    "Reality shows otherwise" yeah, like it does for virtually every GOP proposal and idea.
    But they are in an alternate reality in which they don't really care what's real or not. They want it their way and don't care how it gets there.

  • DAY on October 11, 2011 12:42 PM:

    If you spend your days in a saloon, you will not encounter many old ladies with hatchets. . .

  • j on October 11, 2011 12:50 PM:

    All I am hearing today is that the republicans plan on killing the jobs bill, it is time they were called what they are - traitors to this country, they have been bought and paid for and only work for the wealthy, they want to hurt the american people & Obama, this should be shouted from the rooftops.

  • benjoya on October 11, 2011 1:00 PM:

    And this poll only asked about those at $250,000 and up. The latest Dem proposal would affect millionaires and billionaires

    most people with an annual income of $250k are millionaires. just to be clear.

  • kevo on October 11, 2011 1:04 PM:

    Yes, it is about time those rich bastards over there begin paying their fair share instead of continually taking their own greed too seriously!

    Pay up millionaires, and you won't have to worry about the exorbitant costs of maintaining your own militias! Your own local law enforcement will have enough money, if you pay your fair share, (say 39.6% as opposed to your current 35%), to effectively keep your penchant for hoarding safe.

    Oh, and quit crying about the rest of us trying to get you to pay your fair share! A mere difference of four point six percent you rich bastards, four point six percent!

    Hey Limbaugh, who the fool, fool? -Kevo

  • Kid Curve on October 11, 2011 1:14 PM:

    Does anyone know if a poll exists that asks those making more than $250K or $1m how they feel about paying more in taxes?

    We know Buffett would agree. I believe there could be a sizable amount of other wealthy folks who wouldn't mind paying a bit more as well. I could be wrong though.

    Looking at the results of the poll Steve is discussing, we see that 78% or so of the respondents are against having their own taxes raised (my assumption is that most of the respondents would characterize themselves as middle-class). I wonder if this resistance would be at the same level (or drastically higher or lower) for the wealthy.

    If, as I would hope, such a wealthy-focused poll showed support for higher taxes (a la Buffett), it could help bolster the administration's case.

  • Anonymous on October 11, 2011 1:16 PM:

    Some clarifying definitions when you live in Reality:

    American vs American - Incompletely en-surfed rabble and ingrates complaining about pillaging by the plutocracy, their boot-lickers, sycophants and lackeys [For latter groups see Biblical discussions of "whoring after"].

    $250,000 a year - Rethugican: lower middle class. Reality - Winning the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes [$260,000 per yr].

    Millionaire's tax - Democratic - Taxing income of $1,000,000+ per yr. i.e Income tax. Rethugican/MSM - $1,000,000 in total assets. A wealth tax, which does not exist at the Federal level and never has. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wealth_tax

  • jjm on October 11, 2011 2:03 PM:

  • DenverRight on October 11, 2011 6:49 PM:

    [ok, you're done here. we have been exceptionally accommodating but your remarks have devolved into an endless troll - mod.]