Gallup: Buffett Rule Is VERY Popular

Gallup: Buffett Rule Is VERY Popular


Not that this surprising, but the numbers are bigger than I thought…

Listen, we’re not dummies. Obama is going to go after Romney’s wealth and ask why he doesn’t favor taxing the rich the same as all of us.

Gallup has more…

Given President Obama’s persistent emphasis this year on the need to increase taxes on higher-income Americans, and his adoption of a “fair share, fair shot, equal playing rules” campaign theme, it is not surprising to see that Democrats favor the Buffett Rule by almost a three-to-one ratio. More than six in 10 independents, a critically important group in an election year, favor the law. Republicans oppose the law by an 11-point margin, with 54% against and 43% in favor.

The fact that this close with Repubs is a big campaign problem for Romney. A vast majority of Americans won’t be swayed that rich folks don’t pay as much as the rest of us. That’s not to begrudge the rich, it’s just a fact.

What do you think?

  • cranky critter

    I think there’s probably a majority that’s for somewhat higher taxes on the top bracket.

    That slants agaisnt the GOP. But I bet there’s a fairly similar pattern that slants WITH the GOP when it comes to the idea of curbing federal spending NOW.

    I’ve been saying the following over and over:

    • The democrats want higher taxes now, while saying they’ll support substantial cuts eventually.

    • Republicans want substantial cuts now, and no new taxes ever.

    The people see through this. They see 2 things:

    • the middle class is eroding while an elite class of workers is enjoying bigger returns.

    • our government is spending WAY too much money.

    Each party seems able to care about only ONE of these phenomena. But the people care about both.

  • Jim S

    Make massive cuts in government spending only if you want to put us back in recession. That’s what’s happening in Europe right now where big time austerity is being tried.

  • Stooped

    1. Double taxes on the rich. Make it. 70 percent. That will not pay off the deficit.

    2. Democrats hate Republicans and Republicans hate Democrats. Until we can change the culture of politics nothing will happen.

    3. March deficit was 200 billion dollars. 1 Month. Absurd.

    4. Tax the rich all you want. I don’t care. But it is NOT going to even remotely solve the problems this country faces.

    The only solution is to cut spending or raise taxes. So…..if we do both we could raise taxes on the rich by 10%. That would net us about 20 billion more revenue.

    Then cut spending by 5% and that would cut about 35 billion from the deficit.

    Now start a national vat of 5%. This would raise about 750 billion dollars. However the left would thenscreamits unfair to the poor and give them vat rebates at tax time amounting to about 500 billion per year ultimately only once again taxing only the rich.

    So let’s raise the tax on medicare. Double it. But again the left would scream its unfair to the middle class and give them tax breaks….once again NOT raising any taxes except on the rich while continuing to spend mindlessly.

    I could go on but you know I’m right. Their is NO solution at all. The deficit is JUST TO BIG!!!

    Serious tax increases on EVERYONE and serious budget cuts on EVERYONE…anything else is pure crack smoke and mirrors.

  • cranky critter

    Well, that’s the party line of one side, isn’t it Jim? And the party line of the other side is that without substantial cuts very soon, the government’s debt burden will become extremely unmanageable.

    Bottom line? Both matter. Democrats might be right that we can find a way to get away with putting off spending cuts until it’s more convenient. But that goes directly to very long “tomorrow never comes” pattern, doesn’t it?

    And “getting away” with a longer period of really high levels of deficit spending DOES NOT mean that there’s a way to do so that is pain free and without serious unpleasant consequences. At some point, America is going to have to step up and face the consequences. Every day we decide by default that “today is not that day” bring a more painful reckoning when we finally face it.

    Eventually, there comes a time when facing the reckoning is no longer optional, it’s thrust upon you by creditors. If that day comes, we’ll all remember who was glib about these financial consequences.

  • mdgeorge

    Can anyone tell me (as a percent of GDP) how much of the current deficit is driven by “automatic” safety nets – unemployment insurance and food stamps? If that is a large component, then “eventually” and “when the recession is over” are kind of tied together. Similarly, there are two components to the decrease in tax revenue – rates and actual income. Tax revenue is down. Is it because of the bush tax cuts or the recession (or really, how much of each?)

    Cranky says:

    • The democrats want higher taxes now, while saying they’ll support substantial cuts eventually.

    • Republicans want substantial cuts now, and no new taxes ever.

    Each party seems able to care about only ONE of these phenomena. But the people care about both.

    Jim S. and Stooped then wonderfully demonstrated this point. So how to resolve this impasse? Who can bring some numbers to the table?

  • Tillyosu


    To answer your question, “safety net” programs comprise about 13% of the federal budget.

    As to tax revenues, I’ve discussed this topic at length. The short version is that marginal rates have little, if any, impact on revenues. No matter what marginal rates are, revenues hover at around 19% of GDP. So the best way to increase revenues (and to reduce debt), is to grow GDP. Thus the real question is – what’s the best way to grow GDP? Raising, or lowering taxes?

    As to this silly Buffett Rule, is it really any surprise that 60% of the population (most of whom, presumably, don’t pay income taxes at all) favor taxing a very small segment of the population to pay off the debts we’ve racked up? Nevermind the fact that it won’t even come close to paying off the debt…but the WSJ reported on Friday that it will actually ADD some $800 billion to the debt over the next ten years.

  • mdgeorge

    @Tilly: According to, the income dropped to about 15% at the same time as the start of the recession. I’m not sure why that should be. At any rate, I don’t understand why changing the rates (and not the marginal rates, but the actual total amount of money that people pay) wouldn’t change the amount collected.

    At any rate, you asked but didn’t answer the question “what’s the best way to grow GDP? Raising or lowering taxes?” There’s also the question – “what’s the best way to grow GDP? Increasing or reducing spending?” The fact-free answer to both questions is put more money into the economy – lower taxes and increase spending. But that leads to the backwards answer that by lowering taxes and increasing spending we reduce the deficit, which is obviously false.

    That $800b is a little fishy – it is the net effect of removing the AMT and implementing the Buffett rule. I don’t see any reason that the sum of those two things is a meaningful number.

    What I (and I think many) would like to see is a trivially simple income tax where what you pay is a function only of your income (not where it comes from or what you do with it). Then the things that we currently incentivize with different rates and with deductions could be moved to the proper side of the balance sheet, and we could clearly see that “we value people owning houses, so we are spending X in direct payments to those people”, or “we like donations to charity, so we are spending Y in payments to people who make those donations”, or “we think that investment spurs economic growth so we are giving Z to those who get investment income.” We could then look at each incentive to determine whether we think the revenue spent is worth the gains gotten.

    The reason that the Buffett rule is popular is not because it soaks the rich, nor because I think it will solve the deficit problems. It’s because it codifies in an obvious way a basic expectation that we have, and it circumvents all the tax games, loopholes, and special treatment of certain types of income that people rightly see as unfair.