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Posted 05 February 2019 - 08:10 AM

Soak the rich? Americans say go for it
Surveys are showing overwhelming support for raising taxes on top earners.
By BEN WHITE 02/04/2019 05:15 AM EST
Poltico

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The prospect of 70 percent tax rates for multimillionaires and special levies on the super-rich draw howls about creeping socialism and warnings of economic disaster in much of Washington.

But polling suggests that when it comes to soaking the rich, the American public is increasingly on board.

Surveys are showing overwhelming support for raising taxes on top earners, including a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll released Monday that found 76 percent of registered voters believe the wealthiest Americans should pay more in taxes. A recent Fox News survey showed that 70 percent of Americans favor raising taxes on those earning over $10 million including 54 percent of Republicans.

The numbers suggest the political ground upon which the 2020 presidential campaign will be fought is shifting in dramatic ways, reflecting the rise in inequality in the United States and growing concerns in the electorate about the fairness of the American system.

"There is a deep wellspring in terms of perception of unfairness in the economy that's been tapped into here that either didn't exist five years ago or existed and had not had a chance to be expressed," said Michael Cembalest, chairman of market and investment strategy at JPMorgan Asset Management who has studied the latest tax proposals. "This is quite a moment in American economic history where all of a sudden in a matter of months this thing has kind of exploded like this."

Even proposals that sound radical poll well.

A plan from first-term Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) to slap a 70 percent marginal rate on income earned over $10 million clocked in at 59 percent support in a recent Hill/HarrisX poll.

The new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, conducted Feb. 1-2, found that 61 percent favor a proposal like the "wealth tax" recently laid out by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) that would levy a 2 percent tax on those with a net worth over $50 million and 3 percent on those worth over $1 billion. Just 20 percent opposed the idea. The poll surveyed 1,993 registered voters and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percent.

It showed 45 percent favored a plan like that laid out by Ocasio-Cortez while 32 percent opposed it.

Democrats are facing some backlash from conservatives, corporate America and moderates like former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz over their embrace of higher tax rates on the rich and corporations. Shultz recently called Warren's wealth tax "ridiculous." Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a potential moderate Democratic candidate in 2020, likened it to policies in socialist Venezuela.

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