September 8th, 2010
10:39 AM ET
8 years ago

Do Americans want to extend tax cuts for wealthy?

 Should tax cuts for the country's wealthiest income earners be extended?

Should tax cuts for the country's wealthiest income earners be extended?

Washington (CNN) - Should tax cuts for the country's wealthiest income earners be extended?

On CNN's American Morning White House senior adviser David Axelrod argued against such an extension. President Barack Obama is expected to announce later Wednesday at a speech in Cleveland, Ohio that he wants to keep such tax cuts in place for those in the middle class but roll them back for the wealthiest Americans.

Republicans oppose that move and say the tax cuts, introduced by President George W. Bush in 2001, should be kept in place for everyone.

So what do Americans think?

According to a recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national poll, three in ten said that the Bush-era tax cuts should be continued for all Americans, with just over 50 percent saying those tax cuts should be continued only for families who make less than $250,000 a year, and nearly one in five believing the tax cuts should expire for all Americans.

Not surprisingly, Republicans tend to favor tax cuts for all, while Democrats prefer Obama's proposal. Half of all Republicans surveyed want tax cuts on all income brackets to be extended while only 13 percent of Democrats feel that way. Meanwhile, two-thirds of Democrats are in favor of rolling back tax cuts for wealthier Americans while only 40 percent of Republicans feel the same way.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll included interviews with 1,009 adult Americans conducted by telephone on August 6-10. It carried a sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.

There are similar findings in other national polls.

Fifty-two percent of people questioned in a Newsweek poll conducted in late August said that tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans should expire, with 38 percent saying they should be extended.

A CBS News survey conducted in mid August indicates that 56 percent of the public says the tax cuts for families making over $250,000 should be rolled back, with 36 percent saying they should be made permanent.

But according to a Ipsos/Reuters poll also conducted last month, 49 percent say tax cuts for all should be extended, with 31 percent saying they should expire for the wealthiest Americans and 15 percent calling for an end of the tax cuts for everyone.

And an AP-GfK survey from August indicates that 45 percent want the tax cuts extended for all Americans, with 38 percent saying they should expire for the wealthiest Americans and 14 percent saying they should expire for everyone.

Filed under: CNN Polls • David Axelrod • issues • Taxes
soundoff (117 Responses)
  1. jpmichigan

    We need to cut taxes, decrease government spending, do what is necessary to increase small business . Obama should not be governing by his ideology, he should except the true, his plans so far are failing. His economic advisors do not look at the hole picture . These small time fixes do not work. Only jobs created were short term government jobs and his stimulus plans promote union jobs.

    September 8, 2010 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  2. mms55

    i think what warren buffet said about his taxes says it all.the rich have not paid their fair share for along time and if the republicans have their way they never will.the burden will always be on the backs of average's time for this trend to reverse.

    September 8, 2010 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  3. Anonymous

    No way. Just recently on TV watched several millionaires buying ridiculous elaborate furnished yachts for millions of dollars as they don't know what to do with their money. Yes, tax them – and take out the loopholes that they always seem to find. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are exceptions – fantastic people with hearts of gold when it comes to helping others. They know how to share. Most millionaires just keep accumulating and never sharing with the impoverished. TAX THEM!

    September 8, 2010 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  4. jeff in SF

    Most people understand that the super-rich have been making out like bandits over the last 30 years, and that we can't keep running big deficiits forever.

    But it depends how you frame the question. if you leave out the percentages and the numbers, and just make the question about treating everyone alike, the default answer will always be "for everyone."

    But when you break out the numbers, it's clear that the richest 3% don't need the Bush give-away and never did.

    September 8, 2010 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  5. USN

    Wealthy people HIRE people ! Sheeee obambie wants to manage buisness JUST GET OUT OF THE WAY 20122012201220122012

    September 8, 2010 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  6. Virginia

    People wanting to extend the tax cuts for the wealthy mistakenly think of Reagan's 'trickle down economics', where the money would
    eventually create jobs. No such thing! These people receiving thousands or even millions in tax cuts would only use it to buy another mansion or yacht. This would provide employment for some illegals at the house and crew members on the yacht. Better to revoke the cuts and let these millionaires pay their fair share. And whatever happened to those accounts in Switzerland? Are the rich going to start paying on the money they hid away there?

    September 8, 2010 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  7. freddy

    Where was CNN when they were ramming health care "reform" down our throats? Didn't see a lot of talk about what the people wanted then because most were against it.

    September 8, 2010 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  8. sonny chapman

    The Wealthy American: He loves this country SO much & is always leading the parade, until it's time to pay taxes or send his kids & grand kids to fight her wars. Then he's MIA. I know, that's class warfare; but why is that only the rich throw out that canned defense; kinda like "Two legs bad, Four legs good" !

    September 8, 2010 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  9. Kevin Collins

    What most everyone continues to ignore is that none of these deficit-contributing tax cuts are paid for - the money for them is borrowed from foreign countries like China. So saying you're for deficit-reduction while championing unpaid-for tax cuts is like saying you're a vegetarian with steak in your mouth - or you're a Christian while supporting torture or you're "pro-life" while supporting the death penalty.

    September 8, 2010 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  10. E.Goodman

    Of course the wealthy and very wealthy should have to pay their full
    taxes. Yes, their tax cuts should expire.
    Anyone who votes republican would have to be very rich, very greedy, very meanspirited and inhumane, or ... just plain stupid. Sadly, there are too many citizens who don't realize that voting GOP will only hurt them
    if they are middle class or below that. They want change, but the change the GOP will bring can only be disastrous for most of us.

    September 8, 2010 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  11. Steve A. , New Braunfels , Texas

    No, the rich should pay more. do not extend the tax cuts!

    September 8, 2010 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  12. David Morrisette

    I believe Obama should allow the tax cuts for the wealthy and all citizens to remain in place. The wealthy, though a small minority, add greatly to the economy overall.
    If they are taxed this will further spiral our economy into the dumpster.
    David Morrisette

    September 8, 2010 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  13. Hunter of the lib hunter

    Republicans are out of touch with Americans. Vote No to the party of No in November.

    September 8, 2010 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  14. g

    the same people who ship your jobs overseas and thanks to republicans like romney got rich helping them do it plus get tax breaks,the rich love COMMUNIST CHINA

    September 8, 2010 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  15. streetsmart

    Why extend tax cuts to the demographic that bankrupted us? There has been no benefit for middle class America because of it despite Dubyas propaganda speech. If it dont work then why have it? What would happen instead of buying a brand new car you leased to buy? Despite the car breaking down and costing you to much $ you cant get out of the leasing contract so you keep losing $ on the deal until the contract expires. Once the contract is up you have the option to get rid of the car or get another one. Which would you do? If your decision is to get another one would you buy another vehicle from the sales person that ripped you off in the 1st place? Next time whack job Beck or Drugs Windbaugh try to sell you the same old lemon tell them they would be better off selling used cars. That profession would be alot more respectable than what they are doing to their suckers, er I mean their listeners

    September 8, 2010 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  16. Phil

    We should not only keep tax cuts for the rich, but everyone making below $250k should donate 25% of their income to the rich. How else will the rich stay rich?

    September 8, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  17. jeff, alabama

    It's simple economics, people.
    Rich people who own businesses cut employees
    when the going gets rough. If you raise their taxes
    they will cut their work force to compensate.
    Why can't hard headed liberals understand this ?
    If you have ever had a job and worked for someone else
    you have to understand this. Rich people are bashed
    but they supply our jobs. Raise their taxes and you cost
    someone their job. That's not Reganomics or Obamanomics,
    that's just life, people.

    September 8, 2010 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  18. beevee

    If the wealthy get the tax cuts along with everybody, they may be more generous and philanthropic, whereas tax breaks for the middle class may and the less fortunate make them spend the money and stimulate the economy. In my opinion tax cuts to both groups is fine.

    September 8, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  19. Nellie Bly

    It's been proven over and over again that tax cuts for the wealthy do not help the economy. In fact, it just adds to the wealthy's feelings of entitlement and importance. It just makes many of them even greedier.

    September 8, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  20. Bedtime for Obonzo

    Yes, they should be extended. Who creates jobs in this country? Small business owners making more than $200,000 per year, or the folks earning less than $40,000, who don't pay income taxes in the first place? Brilliant! Let's increase taxes on job creators!

    And enough about "tax cuts for the rich," "tax cuts for the wealthy," etc. The top 2% already pay 60% of the income taxes in this country, and pay the highest rates. Is it unfair if a high income tax bill declines by $5,000 to $50,000, while a moderate income bill declines by $500 to $5,000? Only to a Democrat.

    September 8, 2010 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  21. once upon a horse

    Republican's have been using the battle cry of "WHERE ARE ALL THE JOBS?" for the 2010 election, but I can ask the same of them. If tax cuts for the wealthy were supposed to create jobs using trickle down economy, then it sure didn't work. The wealthy are not spending, not creating jobs and are putting those tax cuts in their pockets. I know that NOBODY likes to hear the words tax hike, but just how in the world are we supposed to decrease this deficit? If the GOP does take over as they think they will, I hope they have some concrete answers on how to fix the economy other than tax cuts for the rich.

    September 8, 2010 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  22. vet in tx

    I think a small number of Americans (3-5%) have influenced the rest that this will benefit the country because they will use the savings in taxes and hire people with it. They took those savings and sent that money overseas. I wish those that wave the "don't tread on me" flag were really serious about spending and government debt because letting the cuts continue, would add 3.9 trillion to the debt that they are so passionate about keeping their great grandchildren from inheriting. And for the small business owner, it will only effect you with a 3.5% increase which any "smart" business owner would be able to write off! I say do away with the FICA limit (social security up to $108,600), which would help us fix the solvency of social security.

    September 8, 2010 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  23. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    That numbers are clear. We want the tax cuts to expire for the richest Americans and remain in place for families making less than 250k. This was a campaign promise made by the President and thus far he's been keeping his campign promises. So what do you think is going to happen?

    September 8, 2010 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  24. Orlando Patriot

    I hate this talk of whether to "extend" the tax cuts. The fact is this is what the tax rate CURRENTLY is!! The question is whether this administration wants to RAISE the tax rate from what it currently is. The debate becomes will the tax rate increase then increase tax revenues? This is a good debate and very well may raise tax revenues but at the expense of businesses cutting as needed to PAY the additional taxes which will directly increase unemployment further. That is NOT what we want to do right now.

    However, the additional question is why does the government need MORE TAX REVENUE?? To take more from businesses, and increase unemployment, so government can spend more does not make logical sense!! If you want the economy to grow then government should leave the taxes where they are and GET THE HELL OUT OF THE WAY!!

    If government did not create so much uncertainty over the last two years and also leave tax rates where they are (and cut their spending where possible) you would see economic growth now that would KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF!! But Obama does not like America or the idea that capitalism succeeds whereever it is used so of course he will INTENTIONALLY kill this economy!!

    September 8, 2010 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  25. Dave

    What other answer would you expect to basically the question, "Would you like to keep your tax cut while allowing those for those rich people to expire?

    September 8, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
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