America: We're on the Wrong Track

Posted: Dec 18, 2012 7:56 AM

Although the majority of Americans just voted to re-elect President Obama to a second term, despite his obvious economic failures during his first, a new Hill poll shows a vast majority of Americans believe the country is on the wrong track.

A mood of economic gloom hangs over the nation as President Obama and Republican leaders scramble to strike a deficit deal that avoids automatic tax hikes and spending cuts, according to a new poll for The Hill.

The poll, conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, found nearly 6-in-10 people (59 percent) feel the country is on the wrong track. It also showed people are deeply pessimistic about their chances for future prosperity, with 54 percent saying they believe their children will be worse off as adults than their parents.

Boehner has offered to compromise on tax hikes for millionaires rather than those making $250,000 per year, but again, the White House has rejected. Republican Senator Tom Coburn has also offered to reduce the amount of deductions millionaires can take, which would increase tax revenue.

Republican Sen. Tom Coburn has released a breakdown of how much the federal government forgoes in tax revenue due to various credits and deductions that benefit everything from NASCAR owners to gamblers. It's a fairly comprehensive analysis that should get bipartisan support, but one of the categories that Sen. Coburn targets to raise taxes from may be surprising: "the rich."

Coburn highlights $100 billion in tax revenue that could be raised over the next ten years by ending some of these deductions only on millionaire households. Over the 2006-2009 time period, Coburn notes, millionaires deducted over $20 billion in gambling losses, $27 billion in home mortgage interest, and $64 billion in investment property rental. And as a part of the federal government's policy of subsidizing "green energy," millionaires claimed over $12.5 million in electric car credits in 2009 alone.

Willingness to end tax credits and deductions purely for millionaires has been building among GOP politicians in recent days, as Speaker of the House John Boehner recently seemed to accept a possible tax hike for millionaires.

Only 34 percent of people feel they will be better off at the end of Obama’s second term than they are right now. And just 16 percent believe a better economic future awaits their children when they grow up.

Yesterday after a meeting at the White House, Obama countered the millionaire offer with an offer to raise taxes on those making $400,000 per year.

President Barack Obama backed away from his long-standing call for raising tax rates on households making more than $250,000 a year, a development that inches the White House and congressional Republicans closer to a budget deal.

Mr. Obama's move, a counter to Republicans' recent proposal to raise tax rates on income over $1 million, further narrows the differences between the two sides. During a meeting with House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) Monday the president proposed allowing Bush-era tax rates to expire for households making more than $400,000 in annual income, people familiar with the meeting said.

President Obama also wants the debt limit raised for another two years, something Boehner has signaled he'll cave on.

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To keep the country from returning to fiscal showdowns, Mr. Obama wants the government’s borrowing limit to rise high enough to take the issue off the table for two years, although he said that Congress could periodically weigh in and try to override a presidential lifting of the debt ceiling, should it want to.

There are 13 days left before tax rates increase for everyone unless a deal is made.