September 8th, 2010
10:39 AM ET
4 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. Ben in Texas

    How can CNN, or anyone, even ask such a question? What possible justification could anyone have for extending tax cuts to the rich? It has been definitively shown that the original cuts are a large part of why we are in this George Bush Recession. Allowing them to continue is the same as ensuring we will never get out of this recession.

    What a goofy question! It's like asking, "Should we endanger our children's' futures so that Bill Gates can eat more caviar?" How much more caviar do the rich need, and is that more important than the future of the country?

    September 8, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  2. J

    Hell no! The wealthy don't deserve any more tax breaks. The Bush tax cuts have been nothing but a disaster for this country. Anyone who thinks otherwise has been deluding themselves. Ask yourself this: why is it that in the worst economic downturn since the great depression the only economic stories that get published defend the interests of the wealthy? This is ridiculous–this should not even be up for debate! It's not even a serious question! If you're being punched in the face, do you acquiesce for fear of infringing the rights of the person punching you in the face? The rich are waging a clandestine class war against us, and I'm sick and tired of the media's complicity in hammering away their message.

    September 8, 2010 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  3. Marcus

    Do (most of the) Americans still have a functional brain?
    If yes that means that they do some research when confronted with an issue they are not familiar with, running away from talking points that are repeated ad inifinitum even after being debunked by facts and Independent media sources and financial/economic watchdog organizations (although I admit that trust in the last ones after the subprime crisis is a bit of hard to do).
    By doing that the only conclusion that most of the Americans (die hard Reaganomicists will try to spin the results) can reach is that the 'tax cuts' did not work as promised and actually INCREASED substantially the deficit, thus...

    September 8, 2010 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  4. teena

    So, the republicans want to keep the tax cuts, because they help stimulate job growth? Well, where have the jobs gone since the tax cuts?
    Making sure the weathliest of Americans have more money DOES NOT ensure that the middle class will have jobs! Bush era policies put us in this mess, so come up with some NEW policies repubs!

    September 8, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  5. Tubby the Tuba

    Ugh, like the wealthy have been using their money to fix the unemployment problem. Take it away!

    September 8, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  6. The Incompetent Mr. Obama

    Yes, the wealthy are entitled to their wealth if they earned it legally.

    They already pay at FED and STATE levels much higher taxes. The USA's progressive tax system seems discriminatory to me already.

    The upper 10% pay 90% of the taxes already. Now, when is enough enough?

    DUMocRATS like to paint the wealthy as evil people, but they are the ones who are usually (Not all) the most generous when it comes to charity and donations. They are also the ones who typically drive the economy.

    If you don't like free market society, move to Cuba; otherwise, get off other peoples' backs for being successful.

    September 8, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  7. Mr. Tea

    I can't tell if my taxes are cut are increased; I don't make enough money for it to mean a damn bit of difference; for the average Joe it's probably an extra $9.35 a pay period. For the wealthy probably tens of thousands or more, get the picture?

    September 8, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  8. John R. Stewart

    We should not extend the tax cuts for the top one % oif the taxpayers. It is stupid. They will not notice re-imposing the tax cuts from 9 years ago. The president should selectively chose which cuts to extend or not extend. These tax cuts should never have taken place during te start of a war that has ow cost more than 3 Trillion dollars. This is another example, i.e. starting a war and cutting taxes at the same time of resident Geroge W. Bush being the worst president ever. We should all read H.L. Menken.

    Judge John R. Stewart

    September 8, 2010 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  9. Bingo

    I am not wealthy but am probably dead center in the middle class. Nevertheless, I have no objection to the Bill Gates, Warren Buffets and Sam Waltons of our country keeping every dime that they have legally earned. The continuing spin that across the board tax cuts only benefited the rich is a tiresome lie. Yes, Bill Gates gets more benefit from an accoss the board 10% tax cut than I do, but he still pays more taxes than I do. So what if he can afford it? That is not the point. We are supposed to treat all equally and not "soak the rich" just because they have succeeded. The next step of this "soak the rich" philosophy is "from each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs." That is NOT America's political or economic philosophy!

    September 8, 2010 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  10. Jeb

    The rich are just plain selfish.

    September 8, 2010 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  11. GI Joe

    They've had those tax cuts for 7 and 9 years and DID NOT create jobs for Americans. They got wealthier by out-surcing our jobs.

    They misused the TEMPORARY tax cuts Bush gave them and I think it's time to put a stop to them. If they can't help us, why should we help them outsource even more?????

    September 8, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  12. Bill

    As a small business owner who would fall into that 250k category, I can assure everyone I will just lay off another employee if my taxes go up. I have paid my 'fair share' long enough.

    September 8, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  13. Donkey Party

    Extending tax cuts for the top 2% will not help the economy, it will contribute to the deficit. This is a proven fact by conservative economists. How can the right-wing be for containing the deficit, when their "policy" involves contributing to it in unpaid tax-breaks for the wealthy??? Why is the GOP so hell-bent on screwing the middle-class? Why aren't Americans seeing through their lies and misinformation? Why are Americans so gullible and effing stupid?

    September 8, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  14. Tony

    I'm sure the wealthy can handle a 4% increase in their tax rate. If you remember, there was once a time when the tax rate for the wealthy was at 90%. The country is suffering and the deficit is huge. Put aside buying that new yacht or 5th home and put that money into helping the country come out of this complete devastation.

    September 8, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  15. KatR

    The Bush tax cuts did not result in the creation of jobs that would increase tax revenue. Those cuts were a key element in our economy sliding into the ditch. From it's inception in 1914 the income tax has been a tiered system. The more income you have the more you are taxed. But over the years the number of deductions that only the wealthy can take advantage of has flipped the system to one in which the guy at the bottom pays more in taxes than the guy at the top. You cannot build anything from the top down. Trickle down economics does NOT work as we have painfully witnessed. It's the middle class worker at the bottom that builds the economy and makes America prosperous. As such, keeping the tax cuts for the middle class and letting those for the top income earners to expire make perfect sense.

    September 8, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  16. Bob

    I would like for someone to tell me how many people are employed by poor people and why the rich should pay more taxes than anyone else. This is America and it is supposed to be where you can work hard and do well , unless you do extremely well and then the liberals think you must share your earnings with those that are to lazy to get up off their asses and go to work. If the "Idiot Liberals" want to give all their money away then go for it but do not expect everyone else to do so. I haven't heard of any checks being sent in from the left to help with the deficit . If we don't get these Idiot liberals out of office soon there will be nothing left to save.

    September 8, 2010 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  17. Jill-IN

    These cuts are exactly that – a reduction from what the IRS Code says they should pay and they have enjoyed it for 10 years, much to the detriment of our country. Worse yet, they are "unfunded" tax cuts which means they have contributed a great deal to the U.S. budget deficit. We cannot continue to provide welfare like this to the very rich. It's insane.

    September 8, 2010 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  18. Sniffit

    The word "compromise" doesn't exist in the GOP's limited vocabulary.

    The real reason the GOP and their wealthy friends and corporate backers don't see the need to contribute what they can to save the sinking ship...and accept that in times like these, those that can contribute more without suffering an appreciable hardship whatsoever should step up to the plate...is because if the federal government completely collapses, reducing us to a loose conglomeration of states with no means of enforcing the Constitution, then the real abuse of the middle-class can be accelerated in earnest and they won't have to hide it anymore.

    September 8, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  19. AndyBlue

    Absolutely NOT. Let the money hoarders fend for themselves without screwing over future generations and leaving them a huge debt.

    They laugh while the middle class lose their jobs homes and dignity.

    The rich have proven themselves to be the true filth of society while making a fortune through sacrificing YOUR children in wars for profit.

    Its disgusting.

    Of course the tabaggers are told by Fox news to protest ending the Bush tax cuts. What a sad bunch of ignorant republicans. To actually allow the rich to steal from their grandchildren and great grandchildren and leave them a bill.

    iTS BEYOND PATHETIC !!!

    September 8, 2010 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  20. Fair is Fair

    "Why not use Article 1, Section 8, of the Constitution to create the money needed to get the economy rolling? Skip the banks and let the Treasury Department put money where its needed. There is no place in the Constitution that says the banking system has the right to skim the cream off of all money milk."

    The answer to this question is quite simple, really. You see, in 1913, the congress, under Woodrow Wilson, abdicated the specific power to coin and maintain currency and handed it over to a group of private – yes, private – banks known as the federal reserve... which is about as much "federal" as federal express. It's policies of fractional reserves led to a depression in less than 20 years, but made the owners of these private banks fabulously wealthy beyond imagination. This act was perhaps the WORST moment in the history of the USA.

    September 8, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  21. Andy

    The bush tax cuts did not serve their stated purpose of giving more to the "job creators" so they would create jobs and grow the economy.

    Here's what we got instead...trillions added directly to the deficit, and the lowest job growth numbers in recorded history. Another republican success story.

    September 8, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  22. Comrade Bush

    It's whatever the media says we want! Evil media empires...

    September 8, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  23. Really?

    Another name for the wealthy is EMPLOYERS!!!

    Do u like getting a paycheck or welfare check? Most of u parasitic liberals obviously prefer the latter. Why else would u keep beating the class warfare drum? These 'wealthy' got their money thru hard work.

    The top 2% pay more than the bottom 98% in IRS revenues. To say they are not paying their fair share just shows how stupid the American people are to buy that crap to vote in this moron Obama!!!

    Maybe if u liberals put down the bong, take off the hemp dress & throw out your berkenstocks, u might actual learn what it means to work for what you have instead of relying on a bankrupt Govt that cannot balance checkbook!

    September 8, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  24. Darth Vadik, CA

    I got one sentence for the wealthy Americans:

    REMEMBER THE FRENCH REVOLUTION

    September 8, 2010 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  25. TM in CO

    Absolutely not. Why do the wealthy get tax cuts while the lower and middle class struggle to make ends meet? The fly on planes, take cruises and buy lavashly while the rest of use can barely keep a roof over our heads and food on the table. Give me a tax break Uncle Sam and let the wealthy struggle for awhile

    September 8, 2010 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
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