The Corner

Taxes, Taxes, Taxes

AEI’s incomparable Karlyn Bowman has produced a fascinating study that tracks public opinion on taxes.  It represents “the most comprehensive collection of polls ever compiled on the subject of taxes”  and includes encouraging news for people on both sides of the taxes and spending divide.  Americans don’t think anyone should pay more than 25 percent of their total income in taxes (as if) and favor lower taxes and smaller government. BUT when asked whether they would be willing to pay more in taxes to keep up current spending in specified areas, the answer is a resounding “yes.”  People are apparently willing to pay more in taxes to maintain current spending on everything from education (big yes!) and social security to roads, bridges and hurricane relief.  The single item that gets a thumbs down is “Iraq Reconstruction” (only 19%).  It’s tough to reconcile this enthusiasm for government programs with the polls that show  large majorities thinking the federal government wastes a huge amount of tax dollars.  All in all, people think the amount of federal taxes they will pay this year is fair and are bothered more by local property taxes than the federal take.  Polls last year and early this year find Democrats are viewed as better than Republicans on the tax issue – by a wide margin.

Kate O'Beirne — Kate O’Beirne was president of the National Review Institute, the nonprofit, public policy organization founded by William F. Buckley, Jr. in 1991 to advance the conservative principles he championed through ...

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