Poll: Americans Are Big Fans of a Major Tax Overhaul

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 @guypbenson
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Posted: Sep 01, 2017 12:20 PM
Poll: Americans Are Big Fans of a Major Tax Overhaul

As Republicans gear up for a tax reform push this fall, a pro-Trump group has commissioned a poll on the issue, hoping to build momentum for the planned overhaul.  America First Policy's national survey finds that large majorities of voters favor rate reductions and simplification measures that will act as cornerstones of the GOP plan.  I'd bet there are elements of the yet-unseen package that won't be nearly as popular, but these types of numbers allow Congressional leaders to frame their reform push as responding to an urgent priority of the American people, from whom they have a mandate.  Via the Washington Examiner:

Seven in ten voters want a middle-class tax cut, according to a new poll released Thursday by an outside group supporting President Trump's agenda. The poll, commissioned by America First Policies, found that 71 percent want lower taxes for "ordinary, middle-class families," 72 percent think the existing tax code is "archaic," and 68 percent would like to see simpler code in which "millions of Americans could file their own taxes using just one sheet of paper."...America First Policies also conducted August focus groups on tax reform in Florida and Ohio, two states Trump won in November. Participants lamented the complexity of the existing system and said lower taxes on businesses would keep jobs in the United States. Overall, 61 percent of those polled remained dissatisfied with the current tax system...America First Policies also conducted August focus groups on tax reform in Florida and Ohio, two states Trump won in November. Participants lamented the complexity of the existing system and said lower taxes on businesses would keep jobs in the United States...Overall, 61 percent of those polled remained dissatisfied with the current tax system.

As indicated in the story, Democrats' messaging will focus heavily on the "unfairness" of tax cuts for the rich, as well as demagoging corporations. These arguments, which may have some cachet with voters, fail on two fundamental levels: First, in any systemic reboot of the tax system in which loopholes and deductions are closed, the "payoff" for taxpayers will be a simplification of the code and lowered rates. If rates are lowered, of course "the rich" will benefit from that. Why? Because they already pay, by far, the most in taxes; it's not close. And even though raising taxes on high income earners is often a politically-attractive talking point, other polling shows that most Americans aren't aware of what the rich actually pay. When you ask people what the maximum tax rate ought to be, a landslide majority of responses indicate that the existing top bracket is actually overcharged by Uncle Sam at present, based on voters' views of fairness. And then there's the point that lumped in with "the rich" by Democrats are small business owners (S-corporations) who file their taxes as individuals.

As for the corportate tax rate, the US currently imposes the highest levy of any industrialized nation in the world. This creates all sorts of bad incentives and distortions that are indisputably bad for the American economy. This is such a glaring shortcoming that even President Obama favored lowering corporate income tax rates (with strings attached, naturally), and numerous Democrats have signaled support for that piece of comprehensive tax reform.  And by the way, looking back at the more than seven-in-ten voters who favor lowering taxes on middle class Americans, I'm reminded of yesterday's news that Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Kamala Harris has come out in favor of single-payer healthcare.  As she should know as a Californian, that "solution" requires a staggering explosion in government spending -- which, in turn, requires staggering tax hikes on middle- and working-class Americans.  All to pay for a broken, bureaucratic "VA for all" system that rips tens of millions away from the coverage they prefer in exchange for worse health outcomes.  But hey, it's a litmus test for the leftist Democratic base, so Harris is for it.  Let's have that debate.  I'll leave you with a House Democrat explaining why he thinks his party has been losing recent elections:

I guess with Harry Reid out of the picture, someone has to do the important work of muttering about the Koch brothers. The fact is that Democrats have political machines at the state level, too -- with unions acting as turnkey foot soldiers. Republicans have one three of the last four national elections despite being heavily outspent by Democrats in 2010. Barack Obama raised and spent more than Mitt Romney in 2012, and Hillary Clinton's campaign spending dwarfed Donald Trump's last year. It's almost as if whining about "money in politics" is really just a hypocritical, tendentious excuse that the Left trots out when it suits them, for lack of a better argument.