How to Fix the Deficit? Most Americans Say Tax the Rich

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According to one recent survey, when given four choices, more than 60 percent of respondents said they'd fix our ballooning budget deficit by choosing to tax the wealthiest Americans. Which method would you choose?

If a new survey from the CBS show “60 Minutes” and Vanity Fair magazine is to be believed, more than 60 percent of Americans believe that we should tax the rich to reduce the deficit.

Respondents were given four options to balance the federal budget:

  • Tax the rich
  • Cut defense
  • Cut Medicare
  • Cut Social Security

Not surprisingly, 61 percent chose taxing the rich.  Twenty percent chose reducing defense spending, four percent favored cutting Medicare and only three percent chose reducing Social Security.

Also no surprise: fewer people with bigger incomes favored taxing the rich, although 46 percent of people who said they made over $100,000 still went with this option.

What we want and what we get, of course, are often different.  In a CBS News poll in early December, 53 percent of respondents favored letting the Bush tax cuts expire for Americans making more than $250,000/yr.  versus only 26 percent who wanted them to continue for everyone.  As we all now know, however, that’s exactly what happened: even the wealthiest Americans got an extension of lower rates, as well as other tax breaks.

Stacy Johnson

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