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April, 13th 2009

Interesting tidbit on taxes

– Liz Mair

Longtime readers know I'm not a taxes girl.  I'm a spending girl.  As in, if I'm asked to pick which irks me more, on balance, high spending or high taxes, I'll say high spending a good 8 times out of 10.

Nonetheless, I consider this noteworthy:

A new Gallup Poll finds 48% of Americans saying the amount of federal income taxes they pay is "about right," with 46% saying "too high" -- one of the most positive assessments Gallup has measured since 1956. Typically, a majority of Americans say their taxes are too high, and relatively few say their taxes are too low.

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These results are based on the Gallup Economy and Personal Finance poll, conducted each April, including April 6-9 of this year.

Since 1956, there has been only one other time when a higher percentage of Americans said their taxes were about right -- in 2003, when 50% did so after two rounds of tax cuts under the Bush administration. (emphasis mine)

Amusingly, I see that left-leaning TPM DC has also noticed the results and posted on them.  I say amusingly because TPM (much as I love the site) tends to cater to people who have a rather different view on tax and spending matters than I do-- as in, they like big spending and they like big tax bills, or at least the idea of bigger ones than what Americans currently have.  Those, incidentally, are currently assessed based on the tax code as it remains in the wake of those pesky Bush tax cuts that Gallup's respondents evidently liked quite a lot (even if liberals didn't), which a lot of Americans apparently still like (even if liberals don't), and which last time I checked, the President wanted to tinker with at least a little, and not in a manner that would take tax rates downwards, as a consistent trend.

Look, I'm not particularly happy with my tax bill this year (I'm one of the 46% in this equation, and given that the number is just 2 points worse than the "about right" figure, I think there's a pretty good case to be made for further reductions).  But all this does make me wonder: If such an historically high proportion of Americans is happy with the amount they're taxed at present, doesn't that at the least make pursuing tax increases look a little more daft? [intro]

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