In a previous article I wrote for The American Thinker, I argued that psychological effects were at play in the taxation debate. My thesis cited a poll from Reason, demonstrating that most people want higher taxes – just on higher levels of income than their own. For example, those making $25,000 annually wanted those making $100,000 or higher to pay more, and those making $100,000-199,000 annually wanted those making $250,000 and higher to pay more in taxes. The pattern goes on. As a more recent survey shows, I was wrong in assuming that people even understood the basics of the tax system. Most people want higher taxes especially when they do not even know what the current rates are.
The Hill released a survey today of 1,000 likely voters, some questions measuring whether or not higher earners (250k+) should be paying more in taxes, and what percentage in specific they should pay. To break down the answers on what these earners should pay according to respondents;
|Proposed Appropriate Tax Rate for Top Earners||Respondents Voting in Favor|
In other words, 13% voted that the top earners should be paying around the amount that they are paying now, and only 4% voted for an increase. All other voters voted for a tax decrease. This may seem like an apparent contradiction to other data, as one New York Times poll showed that 63% of voters would favor increasing taxes on this income category. This is no paradox – most people are simply clueless about what the current top marginal tax rate is.
As the Heritage Foundation pointed out yesterday, previous polling data from the Tax Foundation is consistent with The Hills’s findings. After sorting through polls from 2005-2009, the mean response to the question of what the maximum level of taxation should be was between 14.7 and 16%. This is much lower than what most income tax payers are shelling out, and certainly much lower than what top households pay.
Next time you hear someone pushing for higher taxes, or citing a poll in their support, make sure they specify on what percentage this increase should be to. They might even favor a tax cut.
Written by: Matt Palumbo. Matt can be reached at [email protected]