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. Ada mount pocono, pa

    President Obama is right. Keep them in place for middle Americans. The rich guys should NOT get the tax cuts extended. These tax breaks were given to RICH by Bush and the party of 'NO'.

    It's about time that someone looked out for the middle class. Ive waited 8 LONG years for something positive.

    President Obama will repair our economy, but he can't do it as quickly as everyone wants because SOOOO much damage was done by Bush and his cronies.

    September 8, 2010 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  2. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY


    "The Wealthy" already have money. If they were going to create jobs, they would already have done it... Or am I missing something?

    September 8, 2010 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  3. phoenix86

    Americans need to realize that the Obama and the democrats are playing class warfare and envy based politics.

    Taxes should be reduced for ALL Americans, rich or poor.

    September 8, 2010 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  4. Buffalo Bill

    OK, in dollars, please define "wealthy", and then explain why someone who earns $1 less per year than that amount is NOT wealthy!

    Also, its actually "tax rate reductions" not "tax cuts" because every time tax rates are reduced, more money flows in to the treasury, especially from the wealthy! Is it possible the left wants to make a villain of the wealthy, especially now to take the heat off their miserably flawed economic plans?

    September 8, 2010 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  5. C Smith

    No. I find it humorous that Repubs are jumping all over Obama about cutting the deficit, but they are fully backing extending the tax cuts to people who don't need it, which in turn increases the deficit. Hipocracy thy name is GOP.

    September 8, 2010 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  6. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert, but...

    It doesn't matter what we think. All that matters is what our congress critters wealthy masters want. Watch what happens with this. Have a nice day!

    September 8, 2010 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  7. me

    The Republicans are thinking of their own fat wallets not the the American people. The tax cuts aren't spent on growning businesses but letting them keep their lavish style of living.

    September 8, 2010 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  8. rosaadriana

    Do americans what to extend tax breaks for the wealthy? NO!

    September 8, 2010 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  9. U.S. Common Sense

    Scrap the modern tax structure, implement a single tax rate for all, and it becomes a non-issue. "Everyone" (except for those who fall under a certain economic threshold) will pay the exact same rate.

    September 8, 2010 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  10. ABM

    This tax break SHOULD end for those who make $250K+. Face it – you had it easy for some time and now it is time for you to contribute fairly. Better yet – the rich people should be investing in this country. If you are in a position to do so – hire people. Stop spending money on lobbyists and Republicants – then you would have enough to offset the potential increase in your taxes. The world is not going to end for you if you can't spend your excess cash on a rental in the Hamptons or buying that Aston Martin or Maserati this year.

    If I was in that position – I would pay it. Get over it.

    September 8, 2010 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  11. Bill from GA

    Let's freeze the tax rates to the level of 2008..

    Let's take gov spending back to 2008.

    In 2008, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was MINUS 6.8%.
    We were loosing 750,000 jobs per month.
    OOOHH for the good ol days of 2008.

    Seriously though, lets start by taking Congressional salaries back to 2008 levels and freeze them there until unemployment is below 7.5%

    September 8, 2010 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  12. gino

    Why extend tax cuts for the wealthy? The just accumulate more wealth and they add nothing to the economy. They are drones who get all the honey under the Bush tax scheme.

    September 8, 2010 11:26 am at 11:26 am |

    We are only talking about a 3% increase on people who earn more than $250K taxable income. You would think that it's the end of the world the way the GOP talks about it. They also always imply that it's a tax increase on everyone which is of course another GOP lie or at least mis-information. Another thing to keep in mind, with the 3% increase they will still be paying quite a bit Less than they did under their hero Ronald Regan! Not to mention all the talk about being a job killer, excuse me but we've had this tax cut for ten years and lost 22,000 jobs because of it Before the big meltdown, so that argument is yet another GOP lie.

    Vote NO in NOvember to the party of NO.

    September 8, 2010 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  14. T'SAH from Virginia

    If the RepubliCAN'Ts want to keep the tax cuts for the RICH in place, then give everyone making under $250,000 a tax holiday – which means we pay NO TAXES!!

    If they want the TAX CUTS for the RICH to continue for TWO YEARS, then our tax holiday should stay in place for TWO YEARS!!!!

    I betcha by golly WOW – they will not go for that!!! Do you know why? It does not MAKE SENSE!!! My CASE my POINT!

    September 8, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  15. Bill from GA

    It should amaze me that Dems are willing to pay their fair share for America, but repugs aren't.

    September 8, 2010 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  16. a little sad

    I think ALL the tax cuts should be allowed to expire, and new taxcuts directed at the middle class be initiated.

    September 8, 2010 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  17. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    "Hey! I have an idea! Let's you and me vote to tax someone else and make him pay for all our stuff!"

    That's the idea behind "progressive" taxation, and it's as petty, vindictive, unfair, and unjust as it sounds.

    September 8, 2010 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  18. jazz92

    Hopefully Obama will stick to his guns and raise taxes back to Clinton days for the rich. Most are not small business owners. Most have inherited their money or so rich they will not notice an extra 3-4% taxes. To them it is not that much.

    September 8, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  19. Minnesotan

    It's so easy to govern America: Just ask the Republicans what they think we should do, and then do the opposite. Their record of epic failures, incompetence, fiscal bungling, war-mongering, hate, lies and intolerance are exactly the opposite of the direction Americans want to go.

    September 8, 2010 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  20. jules sand-perkins

    No matter how many Americans don't want the upper-income tax cuts extended, they need the extension to maintain the aspiration to work toward the possibility of attaining wealth.
    If "getting rich" is made impossible by taxation, nobody will do any HARD work.

    September 8, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  21. NYCitizen

    Honestly, how about a good amount of tax cuts for the middle class, like property taxes, school taxes, local taxes (here in NY, local taxes outweigh federal taxes)??? Not forever, but maybe three years or so??? Would not that help a sluggish economy? Would that not free us (middle class) up to purchase more things and ultimately inject more life into our economy, including housing? How about repealing NAFTA? That is one deal that did absolutely nothing in return for our economy. Stop out-sourcing our manufacturing and our jobs. It is that simple, but these big shot politicians are too blind to see the simplicity of this. Tax cuts to the wealthy just makes them (wealthy) hoard more.

    September 8, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  22. Steve in CT

    The only way to keep America going isn't to tax more, but to spend less and invest more wisely. Why have we been giving $billions to
    people who've pocketed it for personal gain instead of investing the $ in a new smart grid to secure our future?

    September 8, 2010 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  23. Susan

    Absolutely tax cut should be continued for all.

    September 8, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  24. Marty, FL

    Our country simply cannot afford these irresponsible tax cuts that were never paid for in the first place. The CBO reports not allowing it to expire would continue to add Trillions to national debt. Are you even paying attention, tea partiers?

    America had a surplus under Pres. Clinton, which is the same tax rate (only 3% difference) proposed here to restore some fiscal sanity.

    September 8, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  25. michael rossbach

    What i would like to know is, why do we not pass a flat tax system? Would we not be better off than going over and over and over the tax debate? Year after year after year....Just get ti done....there all over, now we all pay the same tax rete!!!! SIMPLE HUH?

    September 8, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
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