Tax poll: Is the middle class paying too much?
April 15th, 2014
01:12 PM ET
3 months ago

Tax poll: Is the middle class paying too much?

(CNN) – Just under half of all Americans (49%) believe the middle class pays too much in taxes, according to a new Gallup survey released Tuesday, the deadline for income earners to file their tax returns.

That level is up from 42% last year and marks the highest number since 1999, when 59% felt the middle class was dishing out more cash to the government than needed.

The uptick over the past year comes after Congress and President Barack Obama let the so-called Bush tax cuts expire last year, meaning the tax rate for 2013 income increased to 39.6% from 35%. The tax hike affected individuals making more than $400,000 and households making at least $450,000.

Capital gains taxes and payroll taxes have also increased.

The Gallup survey indicates there's been little change in the number of those who believe the wealthiest people give up too much of their paycheck. Thirteen percent feel that way this year, compared to 11% last year, according to the poll.

Rather, a strong majority (61%) feel that the nation's highest income earners pay too little, while 24% believe they pay their fair share.

As for those whose income falls in low tax brackets, 41% of Americans say lower-income earners pay too much in taxes, while 33% say they pay their fair share and 23% believe they don't pay enough.

Not surprisingly, there's a partisan split in attitudes about taxes, according to the survey. Forty percent of Republicans say lower-income people pay too little in taxes, compared to 11% of Democrats.

When it comes to top income earners, 21% of Republicans–who traditionally lobby for low taxes in general–say the nation's wealthiest are paying too much in taxes. Interestingly, a plurality of Republicans (45%) say upper-income people pay too little in taxes.

Five percent of Democrats say the wealthy pay too much, while 76% believe they pay too little.

And in a trend that's changed little over the past decade, two-thirds of Americans believe corporations don't pay enough in taxes. Twenty percent think they pay the right amount, while 8% think they pay too little.

Gallup interviewed 1,026 adults by telephone from April 3-6. The overall sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points.

CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this report.


Filed under: Polls • Taxes
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. rs

    Better question (if Middle class rates are appropriate): Are the wealthy paying too little?

    April 15, 2014 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  2. Tampa Tim

    My rate is higher than what Mittens pays.

    April 15, 2014 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  3. just saying

    it doesn't matter how much the government confiscates in taxes, they will always spend considerably more. they know your future paycheck, and your kids future earnings, are at their disposal for whatever they deem more worthy than your families' needs.

    until the 16th amendment is repealed or changed to limit what government can take in taxes, the fact is that it is all theirs. you are nothing but a government tax slave.

    April 15, 2014 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  4. rs

    Tampa Tim

    My rate is higher than what Mittens pays.
    _________________
    Ditto- but Mittens did make all those jobs in China.

    April 15, 2014 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  5. Silence DoGood

    45% of Repubs and 76% of Dems think the rich pay too little? That's a lot of people.
    But let's let the minority CEO's and Koch's tell us what to do.
    Or maybe we could go back to a system representing most Americans.

    April 15, 2014 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  6. John

    Tampa Tim
    My rate is higher than what Mittens pays.
    -–

    Rates are meaningless. How much are you actually paying in taxes and what do you make?

    And don't forget people, the income tax is but one of the 20-30 taxes you pay during the course of a year.

    Not paying enough? Leave the Democrats in office and you'll be taking home 30% of your check. Enjoy trying to live on that.

    April 15, 2014 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  7. rs

    just saying

    it doesn't matter how much the government confiscates in taxes, they will always spend considerably more. they know your future paycheck, and your kids future earnings, are at their disposal for whatever they deem more worthy than your families' needs.

    until the 16th amendment is repealed or changed to limit what government can take in taxes, the fact is that it is all theirs. you are nothing but a government tax slave.
    ______________________
    As soon as you figure out how to run a government without money, let us know.

    April 15, 2014 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  8. Eathan

    Fix this paragraph:

    "And in a trend that's changed little over the past decade, two-thirds of Americans believe corporations don't pay enough in taxes. Twenty percent think they pay the right amount, while 8% think they pay too little. "

    You can't have BOTH two thirds and 8% believing they pay too little unless you really mean 74%...

    April 15, 2014 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  9. Tom l

    The top 1% pay 30% of all federal taxes. Isn't that enough?

    April 15, 2014 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  10. Name jk. Sfl. THE KOCH BROTHERS GOP STOOGES PARTY NEEDS to be VOTED OUT IN NOVEMBER !!!!

    The KOCH CLOWNS and john birch society members need to PAY ALOT MORE if they can afford to DUMP hundreds of millions of dollars down the tiolet on loser GOP canadates. The middle class has to pay MORE because of THESE tax CHEATS

    April 15, 2014 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  11. Tom l

    In 1980 the top 20% of all taxpayers paid 60% tax. Today, the top 20% pay 90% of all taxes.

    April 15, 2014 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  12. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    So if I get the neighbor kid to cut my grass, am I a job creator, too? Maybe I could then get a lower rate...

    April 15, 2014 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  13. Malory Archer

    John

    Tampa Tim
    My rate is higher than what Mittens pays.
    -–

    Rates are meaningless. How much are you actually paying in taxes and what do you make?

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Actually, rates mean eveything. Someone with a $150k income will pay approximately a 22% of $150k of income in federal taxes – and that doesn't include 7.65% FICA/medicare tax for the first $110k.

    "And don't forget people, the income tax is but one of the 20-30 taxes you pay during the course of a year."

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Yeah, and the more income you have, the lower the percentage of your overall income will go toward that 20-30 taxes as the less $$$ you have, the more goes out just for living expenses.

    "Not paying enough? Leave the Democrats in office and you'll be taking home 30% of your check. Enjoy trying to live on that."

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Yeahk, except Dems have been in office for several years and taxes are lower than they've been in decades. Additionally, the rethugs LOVE to impose new "fees", which is just another word for "taxes".

    April 15, 2014 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  14. Till_I_Bleed

    Enough social welfare through taxes, flat rate for everyone or 10%, 15%, 25% flat rates. Both parties deserve the blame on not addressing this this issues

    April 15, 2014 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  15. Tom l

    RS,
    It's no wonder why we are so divided now because of people like you. And for that matter people like just saying. However, your gross misrepresentation and mischaracterization of his comment is ridiculous. Where in his comment did he say that nobody should pay taxes? He didn't. You are just being intellectually dishonest to try and score a political point.

    April 15, 2014 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  16. Fair is Fair

    Tampa Tim

    My rate is higher than what Mittens pays.
    --------
    Did you pay millions like "Mittens" did? If not, you have no arguement.

    April 15, 2014 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  17. Tampa Tim

    John – If what you think were true, there would be no attempt by Lyin' Ryan to lower the income tax rates for the wealthy in his social security and Medicare killing budget.

    April 15, 2014 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  18. Tampa Tim

    John – Demorcrats will have you taking home 30% of your pay? Kind of a stretch for even a wingnut.

    April 15, 2014 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  19. Chris-E...al

    Death and taxes ugg ! And for all of you that dont have overhead cost and up keep and you want to pay more taxes have at it ! Stop trying to tell PPL how to live the life they live ! Theres a world out there pull you pants up and get out there in it and make a life 4 your self and stop worryng about how much someone else has its none of your biz ness . Do you know who really cares about you ? Nobody but you . Not me . find something to do . Does not apply to the old sick or vets .

    April 15, 2014 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  20. tom l

    @Tampa,
    Not that I subscribe to Ryan's budget but I'm just curious why you decided to omit that he lowered the tax rates for everyone, not just the hated wealthy? It's so odd that you would be intellectually dishonest and not tell the whole story.

    April 15, 2014 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  21. Wes

    Tampa Tim

    My rate is higher than what Mittens pays.
    ----------------------–
    And I bet it is also higher than John Kerry (13%)

    April 15, 2014 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  22. salty dog

    Tom l
    The top 1% gained 95% of the wealth since 08, not enough for you, economic experts have long said they pay far to little, what would they know.. that's 95%, to the top 1%, now what about the other top earners, how much do you think is left when you get half way down? Not very much, we've got to stop buying into this, its unfair to the rich BS, they don't even believe it.

    April 15, 2014 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  23. Chris-E...al

    My mom and dad worked for living . Your mom and dad worked for a living . You know theres a large group of ppl. white and black that thinks the you and the world owes them something they drop out of school spit out babies get free house foodstamps phones cable tv air conditioning all by the choices they make and we have to pay 4 it.

    April 15, 2014 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  24. Miami Mike

    If you were stupid enough to vote for the "O", your paying for what you deserve. Too bad the rest of us have to suffer.

    But we do have to pay for the highest food stamps participation on history.
    We do have to pay for the millions that Obama spent on the FDA to educate Mexican Nationalists on how to get food stamps after they illegally cross the boarder.
    Didn't Owebama pledge the continent of Africa several billion dollars?

    April 15, 2014 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  25. Tampa Tim

    I can hardly wait until Tony D weighs in on this to get the right wingnut view point.

    April 15, 2014 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
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