The so-called “Buffett Rule,” which states that all millionaires and billionaires should be required to pay at least 30 percent income tax, is currently being debated by the Senate. But a new poll shows that most Americans agree with Warren Buffett.
Nearly all groups favor rule
The study, conducted by CNN, found that 72 percent of the more than 1,000 people surveyed — 912 of them registered voters — support the Buffett rule. Ninety percent of Democrats polled favored the rule, as did 79 percent of those who make less than $50,000 annually. Urban residents also supported the idea 79 percent of the time. The only groups that did not overwhelmingly support the plan were those who identified themselves as conservatives, Republicans and Tea Party members.
Conservatives split down the middle
Even among Tea Party members, 40 percent said they supported the rule. Those who identified themselves as conservatives were split about down the middle, with 49 percent opposing the rule. Republicans, however, lean toward support, with 53 percent.
Most say taxes are fair
A related Gallup poll recently found that most Americans don’t think they are taxed unfairly. Nearly half — 47 percent — are in the Goldilocks zone, saying the are taxed “just right.” Another 46 percent responded that they were taxed too highly. However, when asked if the amount was “fair,” 59 percent agreed.
Growing discontent with lower earners
According to CNN, the results of the poll were in line with other polls since the Bush Tax Cuts went into effect in 2000. However, the Gallup poll also noticed a rising discontent among lower-earning consumers.
Lydia Saad of Gallup concluded that the focus of taxes in political forums may be driving the malcontent:
“Perhaps because of the slow economy, or because of recent discussion of the ‘Buffett rule’ and President Barack Obama’s related interest in shifting a greater proportion of the nation’s tax bill to high-income Americans, low-income Americans have grown increasingly discontent since 2009 with the amount and fairness of their own taxes.”
Paying a Fair Share Act
Meanwhile, Senators resumed their debate on the rule Monday. The White House is making a concerted push to make the rule a law, calling it the Paying a Fair Share Act of 2012.
It’s about fairness
Many tax experts agree, however, that, even should the rule become law, it will have little effect on the national deficit. The rule is, in fact, about fairness, not about lowering the national debt.
Robert Williams of the Tax Policy Center, said:
“It’s not solving the problem, and it’s not fixing the tax system. It’s just addressing an issue that might viscerally bother people.”