Society

Poll: Majority Want The Wealthy To Pay More Taxes

| by Robert Fowler

New polling indicates that a majority of Americans believe that upper-income individuals and corporations are not paying enough in taxes, while the middle class and lower-income individuals need relief. The data arrive after Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin signaled that tax reform may not arrive until the end of 2017.

On April 18, a new Gallup survey found that 63 percent of national adults believe that upper-income people pay too little in taxes, while 24 percent said that they contribute their fair share. 67 percent of respondents said that corporations were also not paying enough, while 19 percent believed that they were contributing a fair amount.

Meanwhile, 51 percent of respondents said that middle-income individuals were paying too much, while 48 percent said the same of lower-income individuals. Respondents were more like to say that those below the poverty line were not paying enough compared to the middle class by eight percentage points.

The survey indicates that Americans are feeling a growing sense of urgency for the middle class to receive tax relief, with the amount of respondents saying that middle-income people are being taxed too much increasing by 15 percentage points since April 2012.

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The data suggest that a majority of Americans want taxes lowered for middle-income and low-income people while being simultaneously raised for the highest earners and corporations.

On April 13, another Gallup poll found that 61 percent of national adults believed that their taxes were fair, while 51 percent said that they were too high.

Breaking down the data, that survey indicates that both Republicans and Independents' perceptions of their taxes has shifted significantly in the past year.

While Democrats' view of the fairness of the taxes has remained stable over the last decade, Republicans' satisfaction with their taxes jumped from 39 percent in April 2016 to 56 percent this year, while independents' satisfaction increased from 47 percent to 60 percent in the same time span, even though taxation remained the same.

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That spike in satisfaction among Republicans and independents could be due to those respondents anticipating a tax cut within the year. Originally, the Trump administration set the deadline for tax reform for August. On April 17, however, Mnuchin tampered down expectations for legislation to be addressed that soon.

The Treasury Secretary told The Financial Times that the August deadline was "highly aggressive to not realistic at this point... It is fair to say it is probably delayed a bit because of health care."

Following congressional Republicans' inability to replace the Obama administration's Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as "Obamacare," with their alternative health care law, the GOP leadership had announced that they would focus on tax reform. On April 18, Trump asserted during a speech in Wisconsin that health care would have to be addressed first before tax legislation, CNBC reports.

"So we're in very good shape on tax reform... But health care, we have to get the health care taken care of, and as soon as health care takes care of we are going to march very quickly," Trump said. "You're going to watch. We're going to surprise you."

Critics of the Trump administration have called for the president to release his own tax returns before signing any tax reform into law. Ezra Levin, a member of the executive committee that had organized the Tax March on Washington D.C., asserts that the disclosure is the only way to ensure that Trump would not have conflicts of interest in new tax policies.

"When they talk about tax reform, are they talking about cutting Donald Trump's taxes by millions of dollars a year?" Levin asked The New York Times. "We don't know."

Sources: CNBCGallup (2), The New York Times / Photo Credit: 401(K) 2012/Flickr

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