Should taxes on millionaires be boosted?
September 19th, 2011
09:52 AM ET
3 years ago

Should taxes on millionaires be boosted?

Washington (CNN) – Is increasing taxes on the wealthiest Americans to lower the nation's deficit a good idea?

President Barack Obama thinks so. Monday morning he'll head to the Rose Garden at the White House to present his plan to reduce America's deficit. His proposals include raising taxes on people who make more than $1 million a year. Republicans say it's a bad idea, but billionaire Warren Buffett has said the rich don't pay their fair share of taxes.

So what do Americans think?

According to a CNN/ORC International Poll conducted last month, 63 percent of the public said they were OK with any deficit reduction bill passed by Congress that included increased taxes on higher-income Americans and businesses, with 36 percent opposed to the idea. The national survey also indicated a wide partisan divide, with eight in ten Democrats supporting an increase in taxes and six in ten Republicans opposed. Sixty-two percent of independent voters supported boosting taxes on higher-income Americans and businesses, with 37 percent opposed.

The CNN/ORC poll was conducted in early August, right after the congressional agreement to create a bipartisan "super committee" to lower the nation's massive budget deficit. While the survey is six weeks old, there have been few intervening events since then to dramatically alter opinions on the issue.

– CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.


Filed under: Polls • President Obama • Taxes
soundoff (56 Responses)
  1. Beantown Bully

    Why on earth would you give a tax break to a company to hire people. Business' bottom line is predicated on supply and demand. If the populous is patronizing a given establishment, this establishment would hire additional people to accommodate the influx of new business. So it make more sense to have a fiscal policy that puts more money in the patrons pocket, not the business. Business' are in this to make money, they take these tax breaks and add it to their bottom line. If sales haven't picked up, why on earth would they hire more people to make more product that will just sit, just like it’s doing now. Give these tax breaks to the middle class, and all else will take care of itself

    September 19, 2011 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  2. Anonymous

    Wealthy or poor the citizens are responsible for contributing to the health of the nation. Making the wealthy pay a fair percentage for the support of the society in which they rose to power and wealth is only fair. Many of the people in the wealthy class made it to the top income bracket on thew shoulders of the working class and now pay lobbyists to fight against paying a taxes representative of their incomes. Pay, I have to!

    September 19, 2011 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  3. Jonathan Urena

    it's ridiculous to say that this tax reform, Obama has planned, is an abolishment for our potentially positive outcome. The rich, evidently does not pay enough In their taxes, in comparison to the amount of money that middle class and lower class citizens spend. What bad what it do for the top 10% of American's, who basically own this country, to add a more equitable income to their taxes, for our countries benefit. We need to benefit our country together as a whole in terms of socialism.

    September 19, 2011 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  4. DrStan

    "Obama wants to raise taxes as we appear to be going back in to a recession.
    Is he insane or just incompetent?"

    Actually he's brilliant. Tax revenues are used to put income into the hands of those who must put it back into the economy. With more demand dollars the "Job Creators" can FINALLY do their thing: more jobs, more profits, more after tax income, more tax revenue. What's not to admire? (We should also give credit to JMK who figured this out last century)

    September 19, 2011 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  5. BigBill

    Of course its fair the rich pay more. They derive more benefits from the current system, which is rigged in their favor. Concerning the argument that the tax cuts for the rich create jobs. It's hogwash. The Clinton administration had higher taxes on the rich and there were 32 million new jobs created. Bush gave hugh tax breaks for the wealthy and the jobs creation dried up; only 3 million jobs were created after the Bush tax cuts and those can be attributed to the very small tax cuts he gave to middle and working classes.

    The fact is that the rich don't have to work so hard to make money with the Bush tax cuts and so they don't fee the need to create jobs. The jobs record demostates it. Heck if we could cut the taxes on the rich to zero, where it nearly is right now, there would be even fewer jobs being created.

    September 19, 2011 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  6. Obama Is The Ultimate Example Of The Mistake Of Affirmative Action

    Let me explain the "Buffet Rule".
    It is when you are so wealthy that all of your income is derived from dividends or long-term capital gains from the sale of assets; all of which are taxed at a federal income tax rate of 15 percent. Not at a federal income tax rate of 25 to 35 percent or more like the rest of us pay.
    Buffet is a typical Limousine Liberal who says do as I say and not do as I do.

    September 19, 2011 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  7. Kelli

    I have been registered as a Republican since the age of 18. Note that I am now 45. It appears to me that the Republican Party has forgotten that a majority of the people that vote for them are middle-class, hard working people. I support tax reform in its entirety. Yes the rich should pay the same percentage that the rest of us do. There should not be taxes state or federal on inheritence. But most importantly, the government, in general, should have live within its means!! Just like the rest of society, we are not allowed to just spend, spend. We have to follow our own budget limititations and so should the government. I also think that congressional pay increases should be voted on by the citizens that are paying the bill. We do not get to tell our employers that we decided to get a raise, why should the congress that we employ get to do that do us?

    September 19, 2011 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  8. Sharon M.

    Why aren't you calling this a tax increase?? The wealthiest Americans have had a tax decrease for the last ten years in order to give them the ability to provide more jobs to the millions of Americans who are jobless. Then why is unemployment in the same dire situation and very little improvement showing? It's time to remove the tax decrease and let the wealthiest pay their fair share of taxes instead of trying to bleed those Americans who barely can live on Social Security and Medicare and who have never made enough money to have huge savings to fall back on. Get real Republicans and see how the rest of us hard working Americans are forced to live in our old age.

    September 19, 2011 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  9. Sniffit

    "It's already grotesquely unfair that a small minority of the population is forced to pay 90% of all federal income taxes received by government,"

    That kind of superficial math either reveals you're a gullible know-nothing or purposefully trying to mislead. Choose.

    You want to know what's "grossly unfair," but also the reason that the extremely wealthy pay a high percentage of the total tax revenue collected (even though their functional effective tax rate is almost always lower than that paid by the average middle-class wage earner)? How about the fact that 400 families in the USA have a total net worth/wealth greater than 150,000,000 of us? How about the FACT that the richest 20% of this country has hoarded and consolidated 80% of the country's wealth and assets? Or maybe we should focus on the fact that the top 0.01% of this country is making an average of approximately $28M per yeah while 90% of th ecountry has an average annual income of approximately $31,000? Or let's look at the statistics showing that over the past 20 or so years, the people receiving the top 1% of incomes have grown their % share of the entire country's annual income from approximately 10% to over 25%...yes, 1% of the people take home 25% of the entire country's income. Or maybe let's look at Wall Street profits soaring 720% from 2007-2009 while the average family's home equity shrank by 35%? The ratio of executive pay to middle-class salaries was 42:1 in 1979...but is 411:1 now. Don't give us this superficial "boohoo, it's unfair for so few people to be paying most of the taxes" crap...it's directly and causally related to the FACT that they also hoarde the vast VAST majority of the country's income, wealth and assets and have been systematically growing their share of it for the past several decades while attenuating what is available to the middle-class and poor.

    September 19, 2011 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  10. Bill from GA

    We need to work this problem from both ends. Tax the rich MUCH more, but also end many of the Bush tax code deductions that allow almost half of the country to pay NO Federal Income Tax.

    The Earned Income Tax Credit is probably the most abused piece of tax code in history. Keep it, but fix it.

    September 19, 2011 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  11. Me

    I'm tired of paying extra to only partially make up for the upper crusts tax breaks. Most of us can say " I don't make enought to compensate for your lack of equitable contribution to the nation."

    September 19, 2011 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  12. AlaskaPalin

    The millionaires and billionaires are the republicans minorities even as blacks and hispanics are the democrats minorities.

    September 19, 2011 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  13. Lolo

    Make the rich pay their fare share. I am tired of giving them my tax dollars to get richer. The republicans do not care about America, only lining their pockets from the lobbyists to keep the tax cuts for the rich in place for the rich. Stupid is what stupid does. I just cannot beleive the dumb reason they spew out of their mouths to keep the tax cuts for the rich.

    September 19, 2011 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  14. CommonSensePlease

    Henry Miller, your logic doesn't make sense at all. Are you saying that the person who makes 20K a year and a person makes Millions of dollars a year should pay the same amount of money. Why don' you start paying everyone the same amount of wages per hour regardless of what work you do .

    September 19, 2011 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  15. Rudy NYC

    "It's already grotesquely unfair that a small minority of the population is forced to pay 90% of all federal income taxes received by government,"
    -------------
    Those figures are so grossly distorted that I am liberty to declare it a lie. You are spreading a lie than simply does not exist to garner sympathy for a group who in most cases brokers no sympathy for anyone but themselves. It is called greed.

    If 2% of the population earns nearly 50% of all income in this country, then that 2% should pay nearly 50% of all income taxes. If middle class families are paying nearly over 28-35% of their income, then it is not right for someone to pay only 15-20% of their income.

    September 19, 2011 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  16. MrManhattan

    It was Bush that started the class (and generational) warfare when he lowered taxed on the rich during a time of war and put the bill on a credit card. In previous wars, the rich supported the nation, now they just leach off it!

    September 19, 2011 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  17. T'sah from Virginia

    ▲Four and The Door WROTE:
    By putting a cap on itemized deductions, Obama isn't really screwing the wealthy. He is screwing the thousands of charities that gave the wealthy many of these deductions. Oops! ( again )
    September 19, 2011 10:26 am at 10:26 am |

    First of all, if the RICH are GIVING from the kindness of their HEARTS, then why would they “claim it” on their tax returns? I am sure Jesus did not expect anything in return from what he GAVE!!! The RIGHT preach about handouts should come from churches, neighbors and friends and NOT from the government; then WHY would they want to CLAIM what they have given to charities on their tax returns??? DON’T claim what you give……………………..PERIOD……………..and then you will keep government OUT OF YOUR PATHETIC LIFE!!

    This is how the rich play games and find LOOPHOLES when they file their taxes. When they feel like “redecorating” because they are bored with the way one of their many homes looks like (even though they redecorated last year) – they “donate” their old stuff and then CLAIM IT on taxes. Jeez, give me a break!

    September 19, 2011 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  18. John

    It's not the rates, it's the special deductions & credits (loopholes). Fix those and problem solved. Higher rates suffering from same loopholed code will acomplish little and send even more of our economy underground & offshore where it is not taxable at all. Ideally, after an exemption to get to poverty level, everyone should pay the same rate on every bit of income earned or recd. regardless of type or source without deductions or credits for anything.

    September 19, 2011 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  19. Sniffit

    "If you do not know what an "S-Corporation" is, then you need to do some research on it and find out. The owners of these types of companies are the "job creators" that Republicans constantly talk about. They are the *small businesses* that Republicans constantly talk about."

    Sometimes that's true, but not always. Corporations like PriceWaterhouseCoopers are also S-corps...and PWC has over 175,000 employees worldwide in 757 cities across 154 countries. Its annual revenues are in the range of $26.5-$30 BILLION. It is, however, an S-corp, so its income and expenses are reported on a very few individuals' personal tax returns. It's the 7th largest in the US. Other good examples of the GOP lumping giant corporations in with "small businesses" include Bechtel and Tribune Corp.

    The FACT is that only about 2% of people who file atx returns reporting small business income are in the top TWO brackets. Taxing millionaires in a manner that assures they pay at least the percentage that middle-class taxpayers are paying (i.e., a couple brackets lower than they should be paying in the first place anyway), therefore, is exrtemely unlikley to have the immense effect on small businesses that the GOP is demagoguing.

    Whether a business is an "S-corporation" is a wholly inadequate and misleading litmus test. It would be far more accurate to use a few simple criteria such as gross annual revenue and number of employees.

    September 19, 2011 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  20. Sniffit

    Sorry, I feel I shoudl clarify:

    "How about the fact that 400 families in the USA have a total net worth/wealth greater than 150,000,000 of us?"

    That's 150M people...half the country...IN THE AGGREGATE. In other words, add up everything those 150M people own and compare it to the 400 richest families in the country and it still doesn't beat it.

    September 19, 2011 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  21. What?!!?

    $1 million? You can change that to 500,000 and I'd support it. If you are not in that "club" and you don't support increasing rates on the upper wage earners...............you are being duped.

    September 19, 2011 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  22. Sharon M.

    Why are you calling this a tax increase?? The wealthiest Americans have had a tax DECREASE for the last ten years in order to give them the ability to provide more jobs to the millions of Americans who are jobless. So then why is unemployment in the same dire situation and showing very little improvement? It's time to remove the tax decrease and let the wealthiest pay their fair share of taxes instead of trying to bleed those Americans who barely can live on Social Security and Medicare and who have never made enough money to have huge savings to fall back on. Get real Republicans and see how the rest of us hard working Americans are forced to live in our old age.

    September 19, 2011 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  23. Rick McDaniel

    My concern, is those taxes will simply be squandered in new spending, which is not acceptable.

    Another of my concerns, is that Obama has a plan to bankrupt this country, from within, by spending all of our tax dollars in wasteful ways that accomplish nothing, and the millionaire tax, is just going to be another step in destroying the wealth of this country.

    This President is the worst since Jimmy Carter, and probably will surpass Carter, to become the worst President in US history.

    September 19, 2011 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  24. Jaywing

    It's simple - If you love your country, pay taxes. If you care for your fellow human beings, pay taxes. if you want America to remain strong and influencial in the big wide world, and indeed be the envy of the world, pay taxes. If you're wealthy, you should pay taxes in proportion to your wealth - no loopholes, no 'get-arounds', no shelters. Pay your taxes. And if your tax rate goes up to coeminto line with everybody elses, don't whine - pay your taxes.

    September 19, 2011 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  25. thomas

    Last night I was talking to a friend who works construction and maintenance at our local water department. He hasn't had a pay rase in two years. The last general manager turned a five million dollar surplus into default. The GMs yearly contract was for 180 thousand a year.He now has moved on to another district to fleece . Our water rates have tripled in cost thanks to him .

    My question is , why isn't there any accountability , way didn't our leaders who were so eager to jump into two ten year wars , costing 3 trillion dollars, tell the people the expected cost and how they would be paid for ?

    We need to return to a clinton era Tax structure ,

    My point is that why did the GM at our water district make more in bonuses for being incompetent , why is my friend paying more for a gallon of milk then he pays for Gas ?

    If we don't have a fare share tax from those making over 1 million a year , those making less the a million a year will pay in higher cost of goods and services .

    Yes I agree with Warren Buffett !

    September 19, 2011 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
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