When thinking about all the services provided by federal, state and local governments, 75 percent of voters nationwide say the average American should pay no more than 20 percent of their income in taxes. However, the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that most voters (55 percent) believe the average American actually pays 30 percent or more of their income in taxes.
Sixty-six percent (66 percent) believe that America is overtaxed. Only 25 percent disagree.
Lower income voters are more likely than others to believe the nation is overtaxed.
Not surprisingly, the tax issue provokes a wide gap between the Political Class and Mainstream Americans. Eighty-one percent (81 percent) of Mainstream American voters believe the nation is overtaxed, while 74 percent of those in the Political Class disagree.
Eighty-one percent (81 percent) of Republicans believe the nation is overtaxed. So do 73 percent of voters not affiliated with either major party. Democrats are evenly divided on the question.
Among those who consider themselves part of the tea party movement, 96 percent believe the nation is overtaxed, and only one percent (1 percent) disagree.
These figures help explain why candidate Barack Obama promised to cut taxes for 95 percent of all Americans during Election 2008. Shortly after the election, Scott Rasmussen wrote a Wall Street Journal column noting how Obama won the White House by campaigning like Ronald Reagan. Currently, only eight percent (8 percent) believe their taxes will be cut during the Obama presidency, while 46 percent expect a tax hike.
According to Fiscal 2011 federal budget documents, taxes paid to federal, state and local governments totaled 25 percent of GDP in 2009. Total government spending totaled 36 percent of GDP.
Forty-three percent (43 percent) of voters believe that the average American should pay about 10 percent of their income in taxes in exchange for the services provided by the government.
In Fiscal Year 2009, 50 percent of all federal spending went to national defense, Social Security and Medicare. When the cost of veterans affairs are included, that number grows to 53 percent. Five percent (5 percent) paid interest on the federal debt, and 42 percent was used for everything else in the budget.
However, only 35 percent of voters believe that the majority of federal spending goes to just defense, Social Security and Medicare.
Forty-four percent (44 percent) say it’s not true, and 20 percent are not sure.
“These figures highlight a massive failure of leadership from both Republicans and Democrats among the nation’s political elite,” Rasmussen says. “Given the amount of political chatter about the budget in recent years, it is almost beyond comprehension that neither party has seen fit to highlight the basics, so that the American people can make reasoned choices on the fundamental issues before them.”
Fifty-two percent (52 percent) of voters trust Republicans more than Democrats on the issue of taxes. Thirty-four percent (34 percent) trust Democrats more on the issue. Republicans also are trusted more on health care and the economy.
Sixty-five percent (65 percent) believe that the middle class pays a larger share of their income in taxes than the wealthy. A national sales tax remains unpopular, and most oppose ‘sin taxes’ on junk food and soft drinks.
Just 23 percent of voters favor a more active government with more services and higher taxes.
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