|New Survey: 73% Favor Lower Corporate Taxes|
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, March 01 2012
Barack Obama seems to assume that “The 99%” stand with him when he hypocritically campaigns for higher taxes on employers and individuals. (“Hypocritically” because he doesn’t practice what he preaches by filing his own taxes at the same rate he claims is “fair” for millionaires such as himself.)
A new public opinion survey, however, suggests something quite different. Namely, American voters are receptive to dramatic reductions in both corporate and individual rates.
According to polling this week by The Hill and Pulse Opinion Research, “73 percent of likely voters believe corporations should pay a lower rate than the current 35%,” a rate that stands second highest among developed economies. In fact, 56% believe that the top tax rate on corporations should be 25% or lower, and almost one-third advocate a corporate rate of 20% or lower.
A similar 75% supermajority also favors lower, not higher, individual income tax rates. Three-quarters of respondents agreed that “the tax rate on families earning $250,000 should be 30% or less,” substantially lower than the current top income tax rate of 35%. Fully 61% of those polled said that the highest rate should be 25% or lower, and 38% advocate a rate of 20% or lower. That’s hardly the sort of class warfare that Obama has made the centerpiece of his campaign.
Those results, moreover, are remarkably bipartisan. According to the survey, 26% of Republicans favor a top rate of less than 20%, while 25% of Democrats support a top rate of 25% or lower.
Obama, however, proceeds full speed ahead with plans to increase taxes. As noted by The Hill, “Only 4 percent thought it was appropriate to take 40 percent, which is approximately the level that President Obama is seeking from January 2013 onward.”
In addition to raising taxes on families earning $250,000 and individuals earning over $200,000 (which pay a greater share of the nation’s income taxes than the remaining 97% of taxpayers combined), his latest budget plan terminates certain investment incentives, creates a new investment tax of 3%, doubles capital gains taxes from 15% to 30% (despite the fact that doing so reduces incoming revenues), doubles dividend taxes from 15% to 30%, hikes the death tax from 35% to 45% and even ends the payroll tax reduction that he exploits to gain street cred with working class audiences.
How Obama believes that a higher-tax agenda will attack America’s unemployment rate, which has remained above 8% for a record number of consecutive months during his tenure, is anybody’s guess. Employers that pay individual income tax rates account for a majority of all private sector workers and create most new jobs in America, so raising taxes on “the rich” would mean even fewer dollars available for hiring and investment.
As for corporate taxes, Obama deceptively proposes a reduction in rates from 35% to 28%, but simultaneously increases overall taxes by doubling taxation of dividends and capital gains, eliminating accelerated depreciation, ending last-in-first-out (LIFO) accounting and introducing a 3.8% ObamaCare investment surcharge. The Wall Street Journal noted that Obama’s proposal would hurt all shareholders, but especially retirees and near-retirees:
“IRS data show that retirees and near-retirees who depend on dividend income would be hit especially hard. Almost three of four dividend payments go to those over the age of 55, and more than half go to those older than 65, according to IRS data. But all Americans would lose. Higher dividend and capital gains taxes make stocks less valuable. A share of stock is worth the discounted present value of the future earnings stream after taxes. Stock prices would fall over time to adjust to the new after-tax rate of return.”
Ominously, chief economic adviser Gene Sperling also announced that the Obama Administration seeks a new “global minimum tax” so that, “nobody is escaping doing their fair share as part of a race to the bottom or having our tax code actually subsidize and facilitate people moving their funds to tax havens.”
The Obama Administration apparently places confidence from opinion surveys showing support for tax increases on upper-income businesses and individuals as a general proposition. But this new poll suggests that “a dramatically different picture emerges when voters are asked to specify the ‘most appropriate’ rates.”
In other words, Obama may be in for a rude awakening when the reality sets in that Americans actually favor lower, not higher, corporate and individual income tax rates.
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