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Forum Post: GALLUP: Americans Favor "Buffett Rule" by 60% to 37%

Posted 2 years ago on April 25, 2012, 12:30 p.m. EST by XenuLives (1645) from Charlotte, NC
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Americans Favor "Buffett Rule" by 60% to 37% Majorities of Democrats, independents in favor; Republicans opposed by Frank Newport


PRINCETON, NJ -- Six in 10 Americans favor Congress' passing the so-called "Buffett Rule," which would mandate a minimum 30% tax rate for Americans with a household income of $1 million or more per year. Majorities of both Democrats and independents favor the policy, while a majority of Republicans oppose it.

President Barack Obama has pushed this tax policy in recent appearances, and the U.S. Senate may vote on it next week. Few observers believe it has a chance of passing the Republican-controlled House to become law before the end of the year.

The proposed legislation was informally dubbed the "Buffett Rule" after billionaire investor Warren Buffett asserted that he should not be allowed to pay a lower tax rate than his secretary. Gallup's question about the proposal, included in its April 9-12 Economy and Personal Finance survey, asked if "households earning $1 million a year or more" should pay a minimum of 30% of their income in taxes. The actual law the Senate will vote on would include more complex "phase in" clauses for those making between $1 and $2 million per year.

Given President Obama's persistent emphasis this year on the need to increase taxes on higher-income Americans, and his adoption of a "fair share, fair shot, equal playing rules" campaign theme, it is not surprising to see that Democrats favor the Buffett Rule by almost a three-to-one ratio. More than six in 10 independents, a critically important group in an election year, favor the law. Republicans oppose the law by an 11-point margin, with 54% against and 43% in favor.

Americans in general say that the distribution of money and wealth in this country is not fair, and that money and wealth should be more evenly distributed. Plus, 59% of Americans last year agreed that households making $250,000 or more per year should pay higher taxes. The current results reinforce these findings and underscore the now well-documented conclusion that Americans in general support various proposals for increasing taxes on higher-income Americans.

Gallup's surveys do not allow the isolation of the very few respondents who might actually themselves make $1 million per year or more, but the more limited income categories that are defined show little variation in response to the Buffett Rule by income. A majority (55%) of those making $100,000 or more in annual household income favor the Buffett Rule, similar to the level of support from lower-income Americans.


Republican politicians oppose the Buffett Rule, and there is little possibility that it will become law this year. President Obama's intense focus on the policy and his emphasis on bringing it to a vote in Congress is thus mostly a symbolic gesture -- underscoring his general presidential campaign themes this year. An emphasis on millionaires paying higher taxes also helps position the Obama presidential campaign against his very rich GOP opponent, Mitt Romney.

Perhaps more importantly than the fate of this one policy proposal, the expiration of the Bush tax cuts at the end of this year means that unless something is done, taxes will go up for many American taxpayers. Obama is on record as saying he would let the tax cuts expire for those households making $250,000 a year and up, but would keep them in place for all others.

Although the public agrees with the idea of increasing taxes on the rich, this does not appear to be Americans' highest priority. Gallup's April measure of the most important problem facing the country shows that Americans cite the economy, jobs, dissatisfaction with government, and the deficit as the top problems, while very few (1%) mention the gap between the rich and the poor as the top problem. Previous Gallup research has also shown that Americans rate reducing the income and wealth gap between the rich and the poor as a lower priority than growing the economy more generally and increasing economic opportunity. Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted April 9-12, 2012, with a random sample of 1,016 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each sample includes a minimum quota of 400 cell phone respondents and 600 landline respondents per 1,000 national adults, with additional minimum quotas among landline respondents by region. Landline telephone numbers are chosen at random among listed telephone numbers. Cell phone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.

Samples are weighted by gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, adults in the household, and phone status (cell phone only/landline only/both, cell phone mostly, and having an unlisted landline number). Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2011 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older non-institutionalized population living in U.S. telephone households. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting and sample design.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.



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[-] 1 points by ClearTarget (216) 2 years ago

Surprise, surprise. It was only a matter of time before the majority become fed up with being exploited by the 1%.

[-] 0 points by XenuLives (1645) from Charlotte, NC 2 years ago

Yes... and we haven't even reached the tipping point yet!

[-] 1 points by penguento (362) 2 years ago

Well of course, 75% of the people favor raising taxes on the other 25%. Everybody always favors tax increases where somebody else is picking up the tab for things.You could pick any two groups and get the same result: country folks would favor raising taxes on city dwellers, people in one state favor taxes increases on other states (remember the cornhusker kickback?), people in brown houses would favor more taxes on people in white houses, etc., etc., etc. Once you've gotten into the habit of promising people things for free, it's inevitable and predicable -- they continue to want things without paying for them, and want someone else to do the paying.

Won't work, though -- the Buffet rule won't raise enough money to put even a small dent in the government's fiscal hole. Most rich people aren't passive investors like Buffet, and so don't get the favorable tax treatment for capital gains and dividends. They're paid regular wages, and already pay federal income taxes in excess of 28% (the alternative minimum tax rule limits the ability of the wealthy to deduct state and local taxes on their federal return and imposes an effective 28% minimum federal income tax) and as high as 35%, not including state and local income taxes, which can run as high as 10%-15% if you live in a high tax state. And, if you're rich because you're an athlete or the like, you have to pay income taxes in every state you play in.

And, one thing you can be sure about is that Warren Buffet (or anybody like him) isn't going to be paying 30%. He's got an army of lawyers and tax accountants, and you can be sure that if this becomes the law, they'll be working overtime on that one (for example, anyone can avoid capital gains taxes simply by delaying the sale of the asset. In that case, the government gets 30% of nothing).

The only ones that will end up paying more taxes are small fry like lottery winners and small businessmen just rich enough to hit the limit, but too small to employ the resources and tactics the Buffet can. The whole thing is political theater and nothing more.

[-] 0 points by XenuLives (1645) from Charlotte, NC 2 years ago

I want to raise taxes on myself, and I would be happy to pay more as long as everyone agreed to pay a fair share. Right now there are 76,000 pages of federal tax code that are filled with lots of juicy loopholes for accountants to sink their teeth into.

I would like to see that entire code scrapped and replaced with something that has NO loopholes, NO exceptions, and NO special interest tax breaks. That's how we'll raise some real revenue. The Buffet Rule is a start, not the end-all solution to our financial problem. Still, a baby step is better than no steps at all, or a step backwards...

[-] 1 points by penguento (362) 2 years ago

I agree entirely. The tax code in its current state is beyond worthless. The fact of the matter is that if the country is ever going to become fiscally solvent and still pay out the social benefits that are there, everybody is going to be paying more taxes. But that'll never happen in an equitable manner with the current tax code, and the tax code will never be seriously reformed by either of the major political parties. They're both way too deep in bed with their special interest groups, and the current tax code is one of the vehicles for enriching those interests.

[-] 1 points by FriendlyObserverB (1871) 2 years ago

I don't like the idea of Warren Buffet's name being attached to any rules. It's certainly not his decision on how much tax he should pay.. nor does congress need his advice or permission.

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

The Buffet rule is a good start (but allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire is also pretty important). Quite frankly, we can't even afford the middle class portion of those tax cuts, although we could reenact the middle class tax cuts if we had something to replace it with (like a value added tax).

[-] 0 points by XenuLives (1645) from Charlotte, NC 2 years ago

Yes, this is a good start on the road to fair taxation for everyone.

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

Right, basically, the Bush tax cuts will expire in less than a year, and we should probably just let them expire (in fact, if we just went around and reversed/eliminated most things Bush did, we would probably be surprised to see how much that alone would accomplish) :)

[-] -1 points by chatman (-478) 2 years ago

of course they favor it - they wont be paying it lol! are you kidding? the most meaningless poll ever !

[-] 0 points by XenuLives (1645) from Charlotte, NC 2 years ago

Read the article again:

"Gallup's surveys do not allow the isolation of the very few respondents who might actually themselves make $1 million per year or more, but the more limited income categories that are defined show little variation in response to the Buffett Rule by income. A majority (55%) of those making $100,000 or more in annual household income favor the Buffett Rule, similar to the level of support from lower-income Americans."

[-] -1 points by chatman (-478) 2 years ago

if 51% pay zero fed tax it's going to skew the poll. If the ones making over 100K want to pay the tax - no one is stopping them. Even Buffet himself is a total hypocrite. He's fighting tooth & nail in court to avoid paying taxes so first - practice what you preach.

[-] 2 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 2 years ago
[-] 0 points by XenuLives (1645) from Charlotte, NC 2 years ago

So people who don't pay as many taxes can't have opinions?

And they are still taxpayers BTW. Gas, sales tax, property taxes, vehicle tax, etc. No one can live in America without paying at least sales tax.

[-] -2 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

Of course they do. Half the country is too stupid to realize it wont do anything to help the budget problems, and the other half is too stupid to realize that is wont do anything to slow down corporations.

A nation of mental midgets cannot save themselves.

[-] -2 points by Zombiefighter (-16) from Ione, CA 2 years ago

Have any of you people ever considered maybe the government should simply not spend more money than it takes in? Buffet Rule? Go ahead. It won't change anything. Bush Tax Cuts? Let them expire. Hell, go ahead and raise taxes across the board. It'll solve nothing. You utopia isn't going to be found with ginormous government controlling every facet of our lives.

[-] 1 points by XenuLives (1645) from Charlotte, NC 2 years ago

Thanks for bumping my thread!

Trolls CAN be useful sometimes ^_^

[-] -2 points by Zombiefighter (-16) from Ione, CA 2 years ago

I note you don't reply to what I posted. Big surprise. You red filth are all the same. And you will be cleansed from this country.

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (27542) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

What is it with you and calling people republican filth.

[-] -1 points by Zombiefighter (-16) from Ione, CA 2 years ago

Fuck off coon rapids intellectual.

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (27542) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

Zzzzzzzzzzzzz! You still up an kicken? My aren't you the hardy little pointy headed fellow. Now run along - go play in traffic - thats a good boy - try to catch that semi thats bearing down on you......OOoo thats gotta smart.....Good Boy quick quick there goes another hurry it's gonna get away.