In Roll Call, Colin Hanna and Alex Cortes point out an interesting paradox: At the same time that pollsters tell us that Americans support raising taxes on "the rich," there is also evidence that most Americans feel that tax rates should top out at 25% or less.
This suggests that Americans aren't really familiar with present tax rates on small businesses and individuals (35% at present, rising to 40% if Obama gets his way -- although it's been argued convincingly that, in reality, marginal rates are actually higher). Does anyone think that small businessmen should be required to hand over 40% of anything they might earn (even at the margin) to the government? Based on a five day work week, is the President really right to demand that, in some sense, no one should start working for him- (or her-)self until Wednesday morning -- that everyone's labor from Monday and Tuesday properly should belong to the government -- at least if they earn enough?
Indeed, a recent study shows that once nationwide and individual state taxes are factored in, the average rate across the country for top earners will approach fifty percent, and exceed it in California, New York and Hawaii. That's right . . . more than half of what some people earn will be taken by the government.
Conservatives and Republicans need to point out these facts -- and ask what, exactly, is the highest percentage that Americans think it's "fair" to demand that anyone to pay in taxes before we get serious about cutting some spending. Pundit Paul Krugman has already called for a top marginal rate of 91% -- why should his elected counterparts on the left be so coy?