Posted by: Schuyler R. Thorpe | July 29, 2011

Poll: Most Americans Want Limited Tax Hikes

(This poll should serve as a WARNING to the Republican Party: Drop your hard line stance, start negotiating in good faith, and WORK for the people–instead of against us.


Poll on Deficit: Most Americans Agreeable to Limited Tax Hikes

The debt ceiling talks have taken center stage in Washington politics. As tempers flare at the negotiating table and people are taking more interest in the ongoing battle over budgetary expenditures and national debt, it would appear that Americans are wont to see their government try a more balanced approach to solving the deficit problems — as opposed to the Republican position of simply slashing spending from current and future budgets. According to a recent Gallup poll, most Americans are agreeable to increasing taxes, albeit in a limited way (for the most part), but overwhelmingly support spending cuts.

Republicans engaged in the debt ceiling talks might want to take heed, considering that another poll has indicated that if the negotiations fail and a government shutdown is not avoided, Republicans are going to bear the brunt of the public’s blame.

The poll indicates that 69 percent of Americans are agreeable to at least limited tax increases. Only 4 percent of those surveyed think that the deficit should be curtailed by taxes alone. On the opposite side, however, 20 percent believe that the deficit problems should be solved by spending cuts alone.

A full 32 percent believe that the budget deficit should be solved by employing both. Another 7 percent said that mostly tax increases should be used, while 30 percent said that mostly spending cuts should be used. There is a general consensus that spending cuts are the preferred method of dealing with the budget deficit.

Republicans thus far have used a demand strategy in the debt ceiling negotiations, something House Democratic Caucus chairman John Larson (D-CT) called “arrogant” and “insulting” that they label as compromise the willingness only to negotiate. Republicans have shown an absolute unwillingness to discuss anything other than spending cuts — without any talk of revenue increases, whether those increases include future elimination of tax breaks or the closing of tax loopholes. The Democrats have laid out up to $4 trillion in current and future budgetary spending cuts, including offering concessions in entitlement programs, whereas Republicans have only demanded more cuts, walking out of negotiations twice when revenue increases were mentioned by Democrats.

But the Gallup poll, not to mention polls that show that Americans are not averse to increasing taxes as long as they are increased on the nation’s wealthiest, reveals that a more balanced approach to moving toward a more balanced budget is preferable. And given that most Americans are against the idea of altering entitlement programs to balance the budget, Republicans might want to consider moving toward offering something in the form of increased revenue.

At present, the Republican position of considering budget cuts only has limited support. Their stance appears intransigent and irresponsible when facing the possibility of a government shutdown, default on the nation’s debt, and possible national and world cascading economic repercussions. Americans seem to agree that government spending needs to be curtailed, but they also seem to note that increased revenues will also offset the need to make drastic spending cuts, especially to popular social programs like Social Security and Medicare, especially during an economic slowdown where many can ill afford cuts to social programs.

Republicans might want to take note of that as well.

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