Ideology-driven, intransigent, Norquist-pledge-signing, Obama-hating Congressional Republicans might not get it, but kitchen-table Americans do. Public opinion polls released in the past few days indicate overwhelming support for President Obama’s call for fair-share tax rates for the wealthiest Americans.
And we’re not just talking about a few, cherry-picked polls. Capital Gains and Games has posted a chart that compares results from all the big-name polls, dating back to November 2010. Bruce Bartlett, who compiled that chart, says that it shows that:
“… people support raising taxes as part of deficit reduction by a 2-to-1 margin over the Grover Norquist/Club for Growth/Tea Party position that the deficit must be reduced only by spending cuts without a penny of higher taxes. In light of President Obama’s new budget plan, which includes higher taxes, I am posting an updated table, including a poll on Friday showing that three-fourths of people support higher taxes and only 21 percent support the doctrinaire right-wing position.”
Bartlett is far from a raving leftist, by the way. You may remember him from his days as a senior policy analyst for President Ronald Reagan [who raised taxes!], deputy assistant secretary for economic policy at the Treasury Department for Bush 41, and his work as an adviser to conservative Republicans Ron Paul and Jack Kemp.
Also on board with President Obama’s plan is Andrew Sullivan, who says:
“The margins are staggering: the NYT poll shows a majority of 74 – 21; even Rasmussen shows a majority of 56 – 34. What the president proposed this morning is simply where the American people are at. If he keeps at it, if he turns his administration into a permanent campaign for structural fiscal reform, I don’t see how he loses the argument.
At Washington Monthly, Steve Benen calls the President’s deficit-reduction plan “ambitious [and] surprisingly progressive.”
The American Jobs Act, recently unveiled to a joint session, was refreshingly bold and quite progressive. The president’s critics on the left feared he would aim low, fail to call for major new investments, and might even propose a regulatory moratorium. Those fears proved to be largely backwards.
Going into this morning’s speech on debt reduction, we saw a very similar dynamic, with fears that the Obama plan would cut Social Security and raise the Medicare eligibility age. And again, the president exceeded expectations.
Given the larger political circumstances, it’s unlikely the president’s proposal will enjoy much support in the right-wing House, making this more of an opening salvo than a realistic legislative blueprint. But in some respects, that’s the most heartening part of the recent White House shift — Obama and his team aren’t playing by the same rules anymore. Indeed, they appear to have thrown out the old playbook altogether.
At the Washington Post, columnist Eugene Robinson calls the President’s plan “common sense, not class warfare.”
“The headline from Obama’s plan, though, is the call for wealthy Americans to pay taxes like everybody else. If Republicans believe the current system is fine, Obama said, “they should be called out. They should have to defend that unfairness. . . . They ought to have to answer for it.”
So, what’s not to like? The President is calling for everyone to pitch in to help rebuild America’s economy. Pre-schoolers who watch “Barney” sing a song that sums it up very simply: “Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere. Clean up, clean up, everybody do your share.” Even a four-year-old knows what’s fair.