Poll: Keep Important Programs, Tax Fairly

As People For’s Michael Keegan wrote to the New York Times last week, Americans recognize that reducing the deficit requires cutting spending and/or raising taxes. A new McClatchy-Marist poll should be of great assistance to Congress as it determines how to deal with this reality. The poll’s results are straightforward: Don’t ask average Americans to sacrifice what they need so that the wealthiest Americans and corporations can have more of what they want.

Marching Order #1: Americans want a fair tax system in which people pay what they owe.

64 percent of voters believe that taxes should be raised on people earning more than $250,000. Overwhelming majorities of Democrats and Independents support this fair tax increase, and even Republicans are not far behind with 43 percent in agreement.

Marching Order #2: Don’t pay for tax cuts for the wealthy by cutting important programs.

A huge majority of voters—80 percent overall and 73 percent of Republicans—do not want to lose access to important programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. Opposition to Medicare/Medicaid cuts among small-government Tea Partiers, where one might expect reduced support for a big entitlement program, does in fact drop—to a robust 70 percent.

The bottom line: Americans are tired of hearing that there aren’t enough resources to support the programs that they deserve, yet another round of tax breaks for someone else is somehow a good idea. With two-thirds of Americans believing that the country is on the wrong track, Congress would be wise to take note.