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Monday, December 13, 2010

Calm Down Progressives: America Loves the Tax Deal

Hey Bernie Sanders you can sit down. And Anthony Wiener, you can shut up (please). The latest Wash Post/ABC News poll reports that almost 70% of Americans approve of the tax deal negotiated between the President and the Republican leadership.
But put all four items together, and 69 percent of all Americans support the package. Large majorities of Democrats, Republicans and independents alike favor the agreement, which has drawn stiff opposition from some Democrats in the House. In the poll, 69 percent of liberal Democrats support the agreement, which Obama has called a framework for legislation. 
Even when primary objections to the pact are mentioned - that it would add about $900 billion to the federal budget deficit and that it extends tax breaks to the wealthy - 62 percent of all those polled support the package.
Surprising (at least to the democrats) is that the least popular part of the bill is the one year 2% break on the social security tax, and the parts of the law that the progressives found least palatable (tax cuts for people over $250 thousand, and the death tax) were supported by more than half the population;
  • Extending the Bush-era tax cuts for all taxpayers, including wealthy people as well as the middle class 54% support/42% oppose)
  • Funding an additional 13 months of unemployment benefits for people who are out of work (72% support/26% oppose)
  • Cutting Social Security payroll taxes by two percentage points for all workers for the next year (39% support/57 oppose)
  • Increasing the exemption on inheritance taxes so that only estates worth more than five million dollars are taxed  (52% support/41% oppose)
Majorities of both parties and independents as well oppose the provision on cutting the payroll tax for Social Security by two percentage points for most workers. The reluctance to back this specific tax cut may stem in part from a general resistance to any changes to the popular social insurance safety net.

To be honest both party have framed this compromise the wrong way. The GOP is wrong when they say the cuts will help the economy.  The continuation of the tax rates will not help the economy. If the cuts are discontinued it will hurt the economy.  In this case maintaining the status quo is a good thing.

On the other hand the progressive argument that Americans are looking to engage in a class war is totally bogus.  Americans are looking for some sort of compromise and to see the two sides work together. Despite the public approval, the progressives will continue to fight against the will of the public as they did with health care.

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