A new Washington Post/Bloomberg poll asked Americans whether they would support or oppose a variety of ideas to reduce the budget deficit. As it turns out, Republicans don’t exactly have their finger on the pulse of the American mainstream.
Several ideas were wildly unpopular, including raising taxes on the middle class, reducing Social Security benefits, and reducing Medicare benefits. But a couple of ideas enjoyed broader support — most of the public approves of reducing military spending and a large majority (68%) wants to see tax increases on those who make $250,000 or more per year.
To help drive the point home, here are the results in the latest homemade chart:
Those popular ideas on the right-hand side of the chart? Those are the proposals Republicans won’t consider. GOP officials are, however, in favoring ending Medicare and raising taxes on the middle class, which doesn’t seem to enjoy similar levels of support.
Perhaps even more interesting, the same poll asked self-identified Republicans the same question, and found that a 54% majority of GOP voters support raising taxes on the wealthy.
And this poll only asked about those at $250,000 and up. The latest Dem proposal would affect millionaires and billionaires — and no one else. It’s likely the Post/Bloomberg poll would have been tilted even more in a progressive direction had it asked about the current Dem plan.
Remember, among congressional Republicans, even talking about raising taxes on the wealthy represents some kind of dangerous “class warfare” that threatens to hurt the economy and pit Americans against one another. The fact that President Obama has actually proposed such a change in tax policy puts him, in the GOP’s eyes, slightly to the left of Karl Marx.
And yet, it appears “class warfare” is pretty popular, both with the American mainstream and with Republican voters.
Also remember, this isn’t new, and it’s not as if this poll is some sort of outlier. Every national poll conducted this year has shown broad support for new tax increases.
GOP officials in Washington like to pretend the public agrees with them on tax policy. Reality shows otherwise.