More than half of U.S. voters favor extending the so-called Bush tax cuts that are scheduled to end Dec. 31, but they’re more ambivalent about whether the cuts should be continued for wealthier taxpayers.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of 1,000 likely voters found that 54 percent of U.S. voters believe the Bush administration tax cuts should be extended.
The survey, taken Aug. 1 and 2, found that 30 percent say the tax cuts should end this year, while 16 percent aren’t sure. Only 22 percent think letting the tax cuts expire will help the economy.
Just over half believe that ending the cuts will hurt the economy, while 13 percent more say it will have no impact.
Given the choice, 48 percent favor extending the Bush tax cuts for all Americans while 40 percent prefer continuing the tax cuts for everyone except wealthy Americans. It’s important to note that the question did not put a monetary value on “wealthy.”
If taxes are increased only on those who earn more than $250,000 a year, 38 percent believe that would be bad for the economy. Nearly as many, 33 percent say it would be good for the economy. That latter figure is a huge drop from February of last year.
Despite his campaign pledge to cut taxes for 95 percent of Americans, 44 percent of voters expect their taxes to increase under President Obama. Just 9 percent think their taxes will go down, and 39 percent expect them to stay the same.
The Bush tax cuts, enacted in 2001 and 2003, according to The Washington Post, “lowered tax rates across the board on income, dividends and capital gains; eventually eliminated the estate tax; further lowered burdens on married couples, parents and the working poor; and increased tax credits for education and retirement savings.”
The president is considering extending most of these cuts except for taxpayers who earn more than $200,000 per year and families that make more than $250,000.
Although 83 percent of Republicans and 58 percent of voters not affiliated with either party favor extending the Bush tax cuts, 53 percent of Democrats think they should end this year.
Just over half of the voters in the president’s party also believe raising taxes on those who earn more than $250,000 a year is good for the economy. On the other hand 56 percent of GOP voters and 48 percent of unaffiliateds say an increase on those taxpayers is bad for the economy.
More than 55 percent of mainstream voters favor extending the Bush tax cuts for all Americans, but 60 percent of those in the political class think they should be continued for everyone but the wealthy.
Mainstream voters are twice as likely as those in the political class to say allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire will hurt the economy.
Two-thirds of voters believe America is overtaxed.
More than half of the voters continue to believe that tax increases will hurt the economy, while 55 percent say tax cuts help the economy.
Two-thirds also believe cutting taxes is a better way than increased government spending to create new jobs.
Only 18 percent of Americans are willing to pay higher taxes to lower the federal budget deficit. But most voters think President Obama’s new bipartisan deficit reduction commission is more likely to recommend tax increases than spending cuts to meet the growing deficit, and 78 percent expect Congress to raise taxes if the commission recommends it.
More than 80 percent of Americans say the size of the federal budget deficit is due more to the unwillingness of politicians to cut government spending than to the reluctance of taxpayers to pay more in taxes.
The number of voters who view the issue of taxes as very important has jumped 10 points from May to its highest level ever in Rasmussen Reports tracking.
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