62 Percent of Americans Say They Favor a Flat Tax

They also say it is not the responsibility of the government to reduce the differences in income between people.

The latest Reason-Rupe poll asked Americans if they would support or oppose changing the federal tax system to a flat tax, where everyone pays the same percentage of his or her income. The poll finds that 62 percent favor the flat tax and 33 percent are opposed. When asked where they would set the flat tax, the average response was 15 percent.

This reflects another recent Reason-Rupe poll finding that 67 percent of Americans say it is "not the responsibility of the government to reduce the differences in income between people with high incomes and those with low incomes," while 29 percent say it is.

Strong support for a flat tax extends across income groups (62 percent) among those making less than $30,000 a year and 73 percent among those making more than $110,000 a year. Similarly across education groups and age groups, six in 10 say they support the flat tax.

Support for a flat tax extends beyond partisanship, with 66 percent of Republicans, 68 percent of independents, and 52 percent of Democrats in support. Nevertheless, Democrats are more likely to oppose the flat tax (43 percent) compared to Republicans (29 percent) and independents (29 percent).

Americans who say the less government the better and that the free market can better solve problems than a strong government, favor a flat tax by a margin of nearly 50 points (roughly 72 to 25 percent). However, those who think government should be doing more and that we need a strong government to solve problems favor a flat tax by only 8 points (roughly 51 to 45 percent).

These results seem to contradict previous Reason-Rupe poll results finding a majority in support of raising taxes on the wealthy—implying support for a progressive rather than flat tax. In 2012, Reason-Rupe found that 57 percent favored raising taxes "on those making more than $250,000 a year," while 39 percent opposed.  Again, in 2013, Reason-Rupe found that 66 percent favored the government raising taxes on “wealthier households,” while 31 percent opposed.

Americans Think The Middle Class Pays More Taxes Than the Rich

One explanation for why Americans say they want both a flat tax and to raise taxes on the wealthy is that 66 percent of Americans are under the distinct impression that the middle class is literally paying a larger share of their income in taxes than the wealthyRhetoric throughout the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns made many Americans believe they were paying more in taxes than the wealthy. Reason-Rupe recently asked Americans who favor these tax increases to explain in their own words why they wanted the wealthy to pay more. While many of the reasons were about the rich being better able to afford higher taxes, many revealed that they believe the rich actually pay less taxes than they do (full responses here):

  • “I do not think that someone who makes $300,000 should pay less than me who makes $40,000”
  • “There is a loophole where they aren’t paying their fair amount, I would like a flat tax”
  • “Look at Romney paying less taxes”
  •  “I think the wealthy should pay as much as the poor percentage-wise equally”
  • “I heard too many stories of loopholes that the wealthy figure out how to get out of taxes”
  • “Fair share—same percentage”
  • “They don't pay the same tax rate, everyone should be taxed the same”
  • “They need to pay their taxes like the middle man”
  •  “Fat cats sitting back but poor people doing all the paying”
  • “Because they pay less taxes, the more money they make the less taxes they pay”
  • Most of them work for the government and get inside information that most of us old folks don’t have”
  • “I think the average person pays a bigger check”
  • “Wealthier people are paying less income tax percentage than the lower income people”

Urban Institute data reports that in fact, the wealthy do pay a higher tax rate than the middle class. Average effective federal tax rates in 2011, as a percentage of adjusted gross income find the following (after tax credits):

Lowest Income Quintile: -5.8%

Second Quintile: 1.3%

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  • Drake||

    I would love it if inaccurate Democrat talking points resulted in the flat tax.

  • BigT||

    Rhetoric throughout the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns made many Americans believe they were paying more in taxes than the wealthy.

    Exactly, Drake. The progs may be hoisted by their own petards.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The poll finds that 62 percent favor the flat tax and 33 percent are opposed.

    Who are the 33 percent? A combination of tax accountants and politicians who rely on the Tax Code to buy votes and engineer society?

    And some of the 62 percent are ignorant class warriors who think the rich pay less in taxes than the guy bringing down $40,000? Well if that misconception gets them onboard with a flat tax then I say let them wallow in ignorance.

  • JFree||

    I hugely oppose the flat tax. I think it is a diversion designed to ensure that government keeps taxing things it should not be taxing - and not taxing things it should be taxing.

    And I damn well wish that modern libertarians would re-read the last honest tax reformer - Henry George. Eliminate all taxes on things govt didn't create - and tax government-created economic rent instead.

  • KPres||

    Henry George was an idiot. The value on a parcel of land doesn't come from government, it doesn't even come from nature. It comes from discovering, accessing and developing it. That's why an acre of land on Venus is worth exactly $0.

  • John C. Randolph||

    I don't know.. If someone could offer me a legally enforceable title to an acre on venus, I might spend a buck on it.

    -jcr

  • KPres||

    Still, only because of the slight hope that one day in the distant future you might be able to access and develop it. The value still doesn't come from the land itself.

  • JFree||

    You don't understand the actual land value tax then. It is NOT a property tax (which taxes the improvements YOU make to the land). What it taxes is the governments grant to the landowner of a monopoly over that land. It taxes the land PATENT.

  • KPres||

    The government doesn't grant a monopoly over the land. Monopoly over the land you own is your natural right, as is your monopoly over the car you own or the dishwasher you own. What, you think a person can't build their own fence?

  • JFree||

    Land you own??? Who says you own it? Who says I don't own it? I've got a shitload more bullets than you and, hey, I don't give a crap about you and your pussy non-aggression principle

    So -- who you gonna call now to 'protect' your claim to a monopoly?

  • Brian||

    Another demonstration that, once things go max violence, worrying about who's right and who's wrong doesn't effect the outcome.

    Of course, no one points out that the government uses extreme violence and claims to be right, simultaneously.

    In other words, if you want to go violent, then, really, there's no reason not to do whatever you want. However, you do lose the right to lecture anyone about right and wrong.

  • JFree||

    I think you are missing the point. Governments historically engage in violence in order to protect the claims of haves to property that the government itself granted to the haves. Government doesn't engage in violence because it's a psychopath. Its violence is functional violence - to enforce the credibility of its previous actions (the grant of land).

    And rather than pay for that 'function' of government for which they benefit directly, that group of haves chooses instead to force others to pay (via say a general income tax imposed on some guy who relies on satisfying customers rather than on government enforcing a monopoly). THAT is the source of 'taxation is theft'. Not the raising of revenue per se - but the force that, once invoked, is used to ensure that the beneficiary of that force doesn't actually pay for the force either.

    It is no accident IMO that the list of economically 'freest' countries (and most unabashedly capitalist) is always dominated by those few that rely on land value tax rather than other types of tax.

  • REMant||

    I'm not sure there is ANY value to land. Certainly the price of real estate, which has doubled about every decade, is due entirely to inflation. Land maybe the only really productive thing, but that doesn't determine its price.

  • Jackand Ace||

    I'm always amazed at Reason using polls as an indicator as to which way we should go. By even a greater majorities, here is what a recent poll found about Americans thoughts on corporate tax:

    • 79% favor closing “tax loopholes to ensure that American corporations pay as much on foreign profits as on profits generated in the United States.”
    • 71% support the “Buffett rule, which sets a minimum income tax rate of 30% for millionaires to ensure they do not pay a lower tax rate than the middle class.”
    • 69% support ending “tax loopholes for corporate meals and entertainment.”
    • 68% favor eliminating the carried interest “loophole that allows Wall Street hedge fund managers to pay a lower tax rate than middle-class taxpayers.”

    http://www.americansfortaxfair.....dget-deal/

    But I do note that your poll did not ask such questions...maybe afraid of what answers you would get.

  • Dweebston||

    All I'm reading is that a majority of Americans don't comprehend how they as employees, retirement investors, and customers are affected by corporate tax policy. Though I dig the implicit backlash against corporatist favoritism baked into the tax code.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    I'm always amazed at Reason using polls as an indicator as to which way we should go.

    Is it worse to ignore the voices inside your head or be enthralled with them?

  • Sevo||

    Jackand Ace|4.15.14 @ 9:59AM|#
    "I'm always amazed..."

    Given your level of ignorance, I'm sure you're amazed that UFOs haven't carted you away yet.

  • sarcasmic||

    What's your point? That a majority of Americans are economically ignorant? We don't need polls to know that.

  • Jackand Ace||

    The majority of Americans are economically ignorant when they support a flat tax? Maybe they just once stumbled upon the right answer.

  • sarcasmic||

    A flat tax isn't about economics. It's about simplifying the tax code and taking away from politicians the power to give favors to special interests.

  • JFree||

    Aah so this is a law intended to take power away from - the politicians who vote for the law.

    Yeah that'll work.

  • sarcasmic||

    Aah so this is a law intended to take power away from - the politicians who vote for the law.

    Which is exactly why we'll never see a flat tax.

  • JFree||

    You are deluded. A flat tax has nothing to do with pols power to give favors.

    The entire income tax code - the income tax itself - was created and designed to extract economic rent from a broader base of 'higher income' folks - in order to perpetuate the 'favors given to special interests' (ie those who are given various sorts of monopolies by government itself). The 'flat tax' is nothing more than an attempt to broaden that theft further in order to disguise the rent-seeking even more.

  • sarcasmic||

    It's a bit more complicated than that. The income tax was in preparation for Prohibition, because up until that point the federal government derived most of its revenue from taxes on alcohol. Prohibition would eliminate that revenue stream, so they had to create a new one. A tax on income. You're right that it has morphed into a grand rent-seeking operation, but I don't think that was the original intent. A flat tax would end much of that rent seeking. Until the exemptions started piling up. Then we'd be back to where we are now.

  • JFree||

    Well the original income tax impulse was earlier. During the Civil War to pay for the war. More significant was the debate during the late 1880's and early 1890's - when Henry George's influence was at its height and when 'classical liberalism' was very much in synch with Populism (and opposed to merely munching the dingleberries of plutocrats). The income tax was intended as a way to undermine both the Georgist calls for a single tax (NOT on income) AND the Republican emphasis on protectionist tariffs (yet another means of rent-seeking and monopoly).

    That legislation is what was ruled unconstitutional by the Supremes - and led to the 16th amendment (by which time, George was dead and the monopoly-despising Populist movement had been replaced by the monopoly-loving Progressive movement).

  • KPres||

    "The income tax was intended as a way to undermine both the Georgist calls for a single tax AND the Republican emphasis on protectionist tariffs"

    Who are these supposedly evil people doing the undermining? The old nebulous "they"? Maybe it was the Illuminati?

    The only people who would have preferred a land tax to an income tax were farmers. Were they the evil underminers?

    No, I'm pretty sure the income tax was brought about by progressive class warriors.

  • JFree||

    The Democratic Party. They (specifically their urban political machine) were the ones being undermined by Georgists.

    The only people who supported the land value tax were farmers? So is that why Henry George finished 2nd with 31% of the vote (ahead of Teddy Roosevelt) in the 1886 election for Mayor of NYC? Because of all those farmers in Central Park?

  • Jackand Ace||

    Each of the 4 bullets I mentioned above favor changing the tax code as well, and favors taking away the special favors granted to corporations.

  • sarcasmic||

    Your bullets are based upon economically ignorant premises. No surprise, considering the source.

  • Sevo||

    Jackand Ace|4.15.14 @ 11:26AM|#
    "Each of the 4 bullets I mentioned above favor changing the tax code as well, and favors taking away the special favors granted to corporations."

    Who do you think pays "corporate taxes", idiot?

  • KPres||

    "Each of the 4 bullets I mentioned above"

    Support for each of the four bullet points you mentioned is ENTIRELY based on the lie that rich people pay less than everybody else.

    That is the fucking point, you dolt.

  • REMant||

    Indeed

  • KPres||

    They're not economically ignorant. They understand both the economics and the fairness angle. What they're ignorant about is the tax code (who can blame them?) They vote for proglodyte class warriors because they believe that's what will lead to a flat tax. So why not propose a flat tax? You'll either get a fair tax system or you'll expose the liars. It's a win-win.

  • Thea||

    I'm always amazed at commenters using polls which are clearly biased, and based on the 'political rhetoric' this article addresses, to refute the points made; but only end up proving them...

  • Brian||

    • 71% support the “Buffett rule, which sets a minimum income tax rate of 30% for millionaires to ensure they do not pay a lower tax rate than the middle class.”

    And, and if you immediately ask them, "how about a minimum income tax rate of 35%", they'll say, yeah, do that, too.

    OMG! They contradict each other! Irrationality! OMG!1!

    It shouldn't be a surprise that people will take option A, if asked, but also take option B, if asked. Especially if the asker isn't making then mutually exclusive (i.e., pick A or B).

    So, yeah, people will probably support any idea you put in front of them that they think adds more fairness.

    But I do note that your poll did not ask such questions...maybe afraid of what answers you would get.


    Did your poll ask questions about flat taxes or fair taxes?

    However, we'll be fair and assume that your poll is accurate and honest, and a reflection of people's real preferences.

    Hmmmm. Yep.

    OK, if there's a big problem with the flat tax poll results and that, I'm not seeing it.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Poll respondents will approve all sorts of things the pollsters ask about. Then the respondents go and vote for politicians who do the opposite.

    Wake me up when 62% of the voters start voting for flat-tax supporters.

  • ||

    Wake me up when 62% of congressional races include a candidate that proposes a flat tax, or agrees to vote in favor of one if elected. People tend to vote for who is running, and those running rarely offer the choice of flat tax, and then even of those that do, what other sacred cows will they slaughter that their constituents won't vote for. Don't act like taxes are in the top 5 issues most voters are concerned with. Didn't you know gays are trying to get married and there's a an almost rare speckled bird that can't relocate?!

  • OneOut||

    "People tend to vote for who is running, "

    Incredible insite.

  • space junk||

    Agreed. They are just words with no action. But when they think of their bottom line, I am sure they will vote in a way that is the most economically profitable for them. This includes everything from tax loopholes and rates to potus phones.

  • OldMexican||

    These results seem to contradict previous Reason-Rupe poll results finding a majority in support of raising taxes on the wealthy — implying support for a progressive rather than flat tax.


    Well, take it as further evidence that people's views on taxation become muddled and difficult to pin-point precisely because of the immoral nature of taxation itself. You can't make a coherent case for taxation as one would make for freedom precisely because people, deep down, know that taxation is theft and thus immoral. "Truth is truth" - Jeriba Shigan

  • Rhino||

    I was listening to the radio yesterday and the guy was saying he really wanted to side with Cliven Bundy, but the fact of the matter was, he didn't pay his taxes. I think you're right. Even the radio host believed deep down that taxation is immoral, he was just tripped up over this idea of respect for the law as a virtue or sacred principle.

    From what i've seen, this is the thing that ruins most conservatives. Take their obsession with deporting illegal immigrants just because they broke the law to get into the united states. It never occurs to them that the law might be what needs to be thrown out.

  • KPres||

    I think it IS immoral to not pay your taxes. You drive on the roads don't you? You can support privatization, but as long as as some services are provided by the state, using those services while not paying for them is stealing from everybody else.

  • ||

    To be fair, the gas taxes are supposed to pay for the roads so the only people driving on them and not paying for that service are asshole electric and hybrid car owners.

  • Black&Yellow||

    "I think it IS immoral to not pay your taxes. You drive on the roads don't you?"

    As if we have a choice. TAXATION IS THEFT. It makes no difference between one person stealing your wealth vs a whole collective.

  • OneOut||

    The BLM says that Bundy owes $1,000,00 in back fees and taxes and refuses to pay is what led to the raid on his ranch.

    Al " the rat" Sharpton's "foundation" owes over $800,000 in back taxes.

    Can we expect that the Feds are soon to drag him out of a state dinner when he is sitting next to the Prez ?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    33 percent are opposed.

    I assume many of these people want punitive tax rates on the rich.

  • sarcasmic||

    Of course they do. You see, there is a static amount of wealth out there. So every dollar that a rich person hoards is a dollar that could feed a starving child. That means the rich are literally causing children to starve. Not only should there be punitive tax rates on the rich, but every single one of them should go to prison for child abuse!

  • Rhino||

    I think most really just want to figure out how to get as much money to the government as possible. This is where the idea that if you are rich, you can afford to pay higher taxes comes in for most people. From arguments i've had, i don't think most people recognize that this is Marxism. It just makes sense to them from the view of the most effective policy is the one that gets the government the most money without causing riots.

  • KPres||

    "I think most really just want to figure out how to get as much money to the government as possible."

    I think this is cynical and false. People know what fairness means, they're just misguided about the actual state of the world. Don't you find it interesting the the entirety of the Marxist cannon is an exercise in convincing people that "surplus value" is somehow stolen from them? Why don't they just sell the egalitarianism for it's own sake? The answer is because most people aren't egalitarians. They know and believe that stealing is wrong, regardless of who you're stealing from.

  • sarcasmic||

    While many of the reasons were about the rich being better able to afford higher taxes, many revealed that they believe the rich actually pay less taxes than they do

    "How can the rich have paid their fair share and still be rich?"

  • OneOut||

    Any money a business has in the form of profits means our tax policy is broken.

  • AlmightyJB||

    I don't think they'll be a flat tax anytime soon. I think the best you might get would be a national sales tax. Unfortunately though I don't think they'll let go of the income tax. So eventually they'll jack that back up to current levels and we would be stuck with both.

  • Black&Yellow||

    TAXATION IS THEFT

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I'm always amazed at Reason using polls as an indicator as to which way we should go.

    That's so cute. When I look at a poll (ANY poll), I think, "What a load of horse shit." You look at a poll and think, "That poll needs to be fine tuned, because it doesn't provide support for my argument."

  • Invisible Finger||

    Thank you. I was trying to come up with an appropriate response to such jackassery, but yours is excellent.

  • Jackand Ace||

    Clearly Emily did not look at a poll and come to your conclusion, and therein lies the blame for which you accuse me.

    They started off the discussion on polls...what, I should not respond? If there is selective use of polls, its always at Reason.

    What the heck, I'll be cuter for you...over 80% of Americans support expanded use of background checks on guns. Now that's a poll you won't see at Reason on a gun article.

  • sarcasmic||

    You really should send in an official compliant. I mean, what's the point of doing polls if they aren't the polls you would personally prefer? Heck, you should step in and run the entire show. Then Reason would be the way you want it, instead of the way it is.

  • ||

    Polls, even those that have "outcomes" that I like, are utter horseshit. You can't ask 1,000 people a couple of questions and extrapolate that to mean their responses apply to all 330Million Americans.

  • sarcasmic||

    You can't ask 1,000 people a couple of questions and extrapolate that to mean their responses apply to all 330Million Americans.

    I can see you've never taken a class on statistics.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Yeah, I was about to say that too. Like 'em or not, as long as the statistical methods are sound, the extrapolations are pretty accurate.

  • Sevo||

    "Yeah, I was about to say that too. Like 'em or not, as long as the statistical methods are sound, the extrapolations are pretty accurate."

    The problem remains that they are accurate extrapolations of 'stated preference'.
    Once Mr. and Ms. Joe Doaks finds their mortgage tax deduction gone, they'll sing another tune very quickly.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Correct.

  • ||

    You got me there.

    I'm sure you can extrapolate the findings and apply them to larger groups. My point is, people say all kinds of crap in polls, but their actions speak differently.

  • sarcasmic||

    My point is, people say all kinds of crap in polls, but their actions speak differently.

    States preferences vs revealed preferences. Agreed.

  • Sevo||

    Oops.
    Two late on my part...

  • ||

    Stated preferences vs revealed preferences

    You know, if I would just remember stuff like that, I wouldn't sound like an ignoramus.

  • OneOut||

    While polls using sound statistical methods could produce accurate results, they are simply too easy to manipulate for a desired result. A thousand 'likely voters" in suburban detroit will answer a leading question much differently than a 1000 mid west farmers.

    Poll outcomes are seemingly always dependent upon who is funding the poll.

    Just like "studies".

  • JFree||

    The reality is that polls work because all 330 million Americans are human animals. The notion that we are different or unique is nothing but ego.

    "THE conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. Whatever attitude one chooses to take toward this condition, it remains a fact that in almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons—a trifling fraction of our hundred and twenty million—who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind, who harness old social forces and contrive new ways to bind and guide the world." - Edward Bernays

    And ever since Bernays translated his uncle's (Sigmund Freud) works into English, it has been quite easy for those who manipulate to figure out HOW to manipulate.

  • sarcasmic||

    I always thought Freud was full of shit.

  • JFree||

    It doesn't matter what you 'think'. What matters is that you can be manipulated.

  • JFree||

    Just to give one example of how we can all be manipulated. This simple poll result has already created/defined the bounds of the 'acceptable agenda' re a 'libertarian' 'solution' for 'tax reform'.

  • sarcasmic||

    lol, your profound ignorance of libertarian thought and economics is showing.

  • JFree||

    Oh really? If 'libertarian thought' has nothing to do with actual human nature, then isn't it as pointless/irrelevant as 'Marxist thought'?

    The FACT is that this poll result is precisely intended to manipulate people on THIS board into both a)accepting 'flat tax' as an economic idea and b)encouraging activism towards its implementation as an achievable political goal.

    And from the comments - it has worked to do that.

  • sarcasmic||

    hee hee you're doing it again.

  • sarcasmic||

    I'm sorry but I can't continue this conversation. Before I could begin to refute your points I'd have to refute the premises they are based upon, and I just don't want to put forth the wasted effort. There's just too much derp there. I'm afraid my head would explode.

  • JFree||

    hahaha. Yes - must refute the premise. The premise being what - that 'libertarian' ideas work in a rationalist test tube that pretends no one has an amygdala part of their brain?

    Yeah - I suppose that is the Randian version of it - complete with all sorts of übermensch and überwomensch.

  • sarcasmic||

    Um, no. Like I said, too much derp. Stupid people must think you're really smart.

  • ||

    I think he's saying that your premise that the poll results are meant to get us to accept a flat tax and then advocate for its implementation are faulty.

  • JFree||

    If that's the case, then what is the purpose of publishing a press release about a poll result? Bernays INVENTED the 'press release' as a means of propaganda. He INVENTED the 'press release of an opinion poll' (spec a poll of doctors/hospitals/nurses opinions about Ivory Soap).

    He wasn't just some irrelevant 'quote' guy I came up with. He created what has now become the standard operating procedure for the way in which the media frames political discussion, implants ideas, excludes other ideas, creates emotional/subconscious 'connections' to those ideas, etc.

    This may well be why some commenters here are uncomfortable with 'poll result' stories. Not because 'libertarians are unique'. But because people understand that manipulation is the PURPOSE of such a story - here or anywhere else.

  • sarcasmic||

    Like I said before, Freud is full of shit.

  • sarcasmic||

    Maybe a libertarian magazine is posting articles that they believe their libertarian audience might enjoy reading.

    Ever think of that?

    No. Probably not. Everything is sinister. Muahahahaha! derp

  • sarcasmic||

    Sometimes a poll is just a poll.

  • KPres||

    "What the heck, I'll be cuter for you...over 80% of Americans support expanded use of background checks on guns."

    But the fact that people support background checks isn't surprising, and therefore, not newsworthy. Everybody already knows that.

    The fact that people support a flat tax IS surprising, because the dominant MSM agenda is that people hate rich people. Turn out that's not true, so it's important to set people straight.

  • politicsbyothermeans||

    Not to mention that people are as bafflingly stupid about what "background checks" are as they are about economics. After asking if people want background checks, the very next question needs to be something along the lines of, "In your own words, please describe the function and purpose of NICS."

    I'm no more interested in what the hoi polloi think about complex economic issues than I am in what maggots want for supper.

  • steedamike||

    KPres,

    The points I'm about to make were sort of addressed already a few of the posts above. But - Just like people opposed to Obamacare (because it doesn't do enough), there are some who are FOR a flat-tax because they DO want to punish the rich/corporations because they believe that they aren't paying as much as the vulnerable, and they are advocating for more tax from the 'haves'.

    If the above is true and was omitted, then you could categorize it as manipulation by Reason or anyone who reports on polls.

  • steedamike||

    "over 80% of Americans support expanded use of background checks on guns"

    Just a friendly reminder that the opinion of the majority should not trump the rights of the minority.

  • Malkavian||

    It’s likely that many Americans don’t know what the word “redistribute” even means

    Should I be relieved, or afraid?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    If there is selective use of polls, its always at Reason.

    You betcha.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    over 80% of Americans support expanded use of background checks on guns.

    Over 99% of Americans think it should be illegal to shoot school children.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Over 83% of Americans think somebody else's taxes are too low.

  • Loki||

    It’s likely that many Americans don’t know what the word “redistribute” even means and thus respond as if this is just a question about raising taxes on the wealthy are fucking retards.

    FTFY.

  • prolefeed||

    I am disappoint. 30-odd posts and no one made this point:

    I am all for a flat tax, so long as the rate is set at 0%.

    Some states, such as the one I live in, have this for income taxes. I'm all for having the federal government do this too.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    71% support the “Buffett rule, which sets a minimum income tax rate of 30% for millionaires to ensure they do not pay a lower tax rate than the middle class.”

    How many of those people have ever considered the inevitable dynamic responses to such a law?

    There is a vast misallocation of resources in the economy which can be directly attributed to the tax code. By all means, let's make it worse.

  • Loki||

    There is a vast misallocation of resources in the economy which can be directly attributed to the tax code. By all means, let's make it worse.

    But, what about TEH FAIRNESS?!

  • Sevo||

    "How many of those people have ever considered the inevitable dynamic responses to such a law?"

    I'd say 71% of the people think I take a swim in my gold-coin pool every evening after thrashing the orphans for the poor job they do polishing the monocles.

  • Dr Fallout||

    That's precisely why I replaced my orphans with the ACME M-2000 monocle polisher.

  • OneOut||

    "thrashing the orphans for the poor job they do polishing the monocles."

    using underage monocle polishers is illegal and immoral'

    Polish your own damn monocle or hire an adult to do it for you.

    Hint: if you use your less dominant hand and turn it backwards it feels like someone else is doing it and saves loads of money.

    Hee hee...loads

  • Thomas O.||

    I support a flat tax... but it has to be one rate, no deductions, no exemptions, no special rules for any particular group, even if it would benefit the lower class. If we throw out our million-page tax code and replace it with a one-page flat tax code - BUT we allow even one exemption/deduction for one group - pretty soon this other group is gonna beg for their little exemption, and that other group will want their deduction, and eventually we'll be right back where we started with a million pages.

    No way no how. One rate, that's it. It amazes me that we haven't taken the IRS to court over the Equal Protection Clause yet.

    There should be a constitutional amendment repealing the 16th amendment and either designating a national sales tax as the only means of revenue, or outlining a simple one-rate-only income tax that requires a two-thirds majority of Congress to change in any way.

  • OneOut||

    "pretty soon this other group is gonna beg for their little exemption"

    We have no fear of the beggars screwing up the new tax code.

    It's the damn "buyers" that would be of concern.

  • BigT||

    It would be wise to have a personal deduction for each person, about $10k, and then have the flat tax kick in at 15% or so. That way people could see that the really destitute are not getting hurt. I know that is not as fair, but it would have a much better chance of being implemented since it would salve many consciences.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I can't believe none of our FairTax idiots have showed up.

  • Black&Yellow||

    Plently of faux libertarians who support theft posting.

  • american socialist||

    in an illegitimate plutocracy, where wealth is overwhelmingly concentrated in the hands of the 0.01% elite and elections are bought and paid for, why is it surprising that the rich pay most of the taxes? is it some day going to get boring to post these bullshit statistics that rich people pay for their corrupt system of government? i mean, duh, they have plenty of bamboozled apologists, who literally have had their houses sold out from under them to pad the pockets of these banker CEO leeches.

    people say they want a flat tax because they correctly assertain that the rate of taxation on income that rich people receive are taxed at a lower rate than on income where people are actually, you know, working. fix that first.

  • ||

    There is so much fucking retard in this post I doubt even sarcasmic would know where to begin.

  • Brian||

    american socialist:

    people say they want a flat tax because they correctly assertain that the rate of taxation on income that rich people receive are taxed at a lower rate than on income where people are actually, you know, working. fix that first.

    Wouldn't a flat tax fix that...first?

  • american socialist||

    so, you are saying you want to raise taxes on investment income? comrade, welcome to the clube.

  • Brian||

    Actually, I was going to take my inspiration from capital gains. After all, as you said earlier, the rich are paying for like 80% of the taxes or something, right? And, they only pay a meager 15% effective rate, right?

    So, let's set a flat tax rate of 15% on all income, including capital gains.

    Sure, we might have to cut the budget a little, but, do we really need a military industrial complex? And I'm sure that would help a lot of normal people out. It would definitely help more normal people out than the mere satisfaction of knowing that Warren Buffet is paying a little bit more money to be amazingly rich, while their lives don't actually change.

  • american socialist||

    Because it's a huge tax increase on the middle class if it's revenue neutral, because it doesn't take into account other, more regressive forms of taxation like sales taxes and user fees, because it doesn't consider more regressive state tax systems.

    If we taxed income at 15%, which wouldn't raise the same income as we do now, and include s.s. And Medicare taxes at 15.3%, that would be a 30.3% rate of taxation, just for federal taxes. You don't think that would be a tax increase for the middle class? I do.

  • Brian||

    american socialist:

    Because it's a huge tax increase on the middle class if it's revenue neutral, because it doesn't take into account other, more regressive forms of taxation like sales taxes and user fees, because it doesn't consider more regressive state tax systems.

    What does a regressive tax system at a state and local level have to do with revenue neutrality at the federal level for anything? I really don't get it. You can set everyone's taxes to 0% and it won't fix regressive state and local taxes.

    If we taxed income at 15%, which wouldn't raise the same income as we do now, and include s.s. And Medicare taxes at 15.3%, that would be a 30.3% rate of taxation, just for federal taxes. You don't think that would be a tax increase for the middle class? I do.

    What do you think the current tax brackets are right now?

    There's a 15% tax bracket already for people making between approximately $8K and $36K, at which point, it jumps to 25%. Median income is about $50K. And those tax brackets don't include SS and Medicare. So, for most americans somewhat under, at, or over the median income, a 15% tax on income would be a reduction in taxes.

    Sorry, but 15% < 25% and higher, no matter what state and local taxes are, and no matter what SS and Medicare taxes are.

  • Brian||

    You do see the contradiction in your thinking, don't you, American Socialist?

    The rich are playing a capital gains rate at 15% and, thus, are paying so much less in taxes than the average american.

    But, if we tax everyone and everything at 15%, suddenly, we're raising everyone's taxes?

    I thought we we're setting everyone's taxes to the low rate that rich people pay.

    I really wish you socialists could make up your mind how math works.

  • Sevo||

    ..."elections are bought and paid for,"...

    Of the top 10 contributors, 2 are companies, the remainder are unions, so if they're bought and paid for, the unions are doing the buying:
    http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/list.php

  • american socialist||

    Should we talk now about whether unions or corporations spend more on elections now or somewhere else? I think it's you who are posting sleazy stats.

    With regard to unions, when did libertarians start criticizing self-organizing groups outside the scope of government? Like most right-wingers you can't get the corporatism dog off your libertarian lawn.

  • steedamike||

    Speaking only for myself, I'd say that my issue with unions is that it promotes a lack of accountability on the part of the worker, and is thus bad for the consumer.

    I don't have a problem at all with a self-organized groups if there is no form of coercion levied in order to keep it solvent.

  • Brian||

    American Socialist:

    With regard to unions, when did libertarians start criticizing self-organizing groups outside the scope of government?

    Have you never heard of Labor Laws?

  • politicsbyothermeans||

    What shall we do AS? Fill some ditches with freshly executed rich folk? That would magically free the downtrodden, yes?

  • american socialist||

    i like these cool stats, emily. how much does a person pay in taxes if he/she sells a thousand shares of GOOG and how much does a CEO pay in Social Security if they make a million dollars a year? are those included in your analysis and did you tell the people you polled about those numbers?

  • Brian||

    So, are you worried that when people support a flat tax, they're not sufficiently aware of the full extent of the different rates that different people pay on different taxes and different incomes?

    I assume, then, that you think the support for a flat tax isn't accurately reflected high enough in this data.

  • politicsbyothermeans||

    It's more worried that Uncle Sugar won't be able to afford enough bullets to put down the inevitable reactionary elements.

  • american socialist||

    i'm worried that middle class voters will vote themselves a huge tax increase while maintaining preferential tax treatments for investment income and lower tax rates on social security for these lovely job creators-- to begin with.

  • Brian||

    The Social Security tax rate stops at $117,000/year. Do you suspect that everyone making above that is a job creator, or a millionaire?

    The entire preferential tax treatment in Social Security is actually considered a feature by the people who came up with the whole idea of Social Security. It feeds the illusion that people are paying for and earning their own Social Security benefits. Since the benefits get capped, they capped the income that would be taxed for it. That was a selling point to the general population, not a tax loophole that billionaires came up with for themselves.

    If you want to push the cap up tremendously to save Social Security, then, by all means, go for it. That would destroy the last pretense that it's not a welfare program that people qualify for simply by reaching the magical age of old, regardless of their income or wealth.

    Increasing the SS wage limit, without increasing benefits, puts the effected people in the position of obviously funding a welfare program. And, at that point that you have people making $117,000 a year making direct transfer payments to the old (who are typically richer than the rest of the population), I'm not sure you can get away with pretending that we're taxing the rich to take care of the poor.

  • REMant||

    Nobody was thinking illusion. It was a pay-go system in order to cover those already retired. It did fit nicely into the Keynesian scheme tho.

  • Sevo||

    ..."while maintaining preferential tax treatments for investment income and lower tax rates on social security for these lovely job creators-- to begin with."

    Fuck you.
    That's been taxed as income once, you sleazy asshole.

  • american socialist||

    Riiiight... The billionaire selling his 100,000 shares of VZ is being double taxed. But, wait a sec, VZ didn't pay any federal taxes-- along with Boeing and GE? How could this be in Obama's confiscatory socialist hellhole?

    I smell a list of things I'm learning from libertarians coming on.

  • politicsbyothermeans||

    Are these things that make you want to shoot us all in the back of the head?

    I'll bet they are. Just sayin'.

  • craiginmass||

    This is about as accurate as Ed Shultz taking a poll on his TV program each night.

    Sure, the poor and middle class favor paying MORE than they are now.....this must be why Steve Forbes got so far with that idea.

    My goodness - talk about out of touch. This one is over the edge.

    Do people also support flat taxes on property? I could benefit greatly from that. We all pay the same - per house! How about I run for Prez on that one?

  • Brian||

    craiginmass:

    Sure, the poor and middle class favor paying MORE than they are now.....this must be why Steve Forbes got so far with that idea.

    Actually, if you look at the tax brackets for 2013, practically everyone who makes more than $8K/year is in the 15% or higher tax bracket, and the 25% bracket kicks in at approx. $36K.

    The median income is around $50K.

    So, a 15% flat tax, as this poll suggests, would correspond to a tax cut for most of the middle class.

    And I would hope anyone making less than $36K/year would have plans to fix that real soon, instead of counting on tax breaks to make life OK. Low tax brackets don't actually generate income.

  • concerned cynic||

    Tax all value added by business, all factor payments by governments & nonprofits, all pensions, and all government monetary benefits at a single flat rate. Businesses deduct capital expenditures, nonprofits deduct donations received, and everybody deducts sales & excise taxes. There are no other deductions. FICA and Medicare payroll taxes paid on behalf of employees are credited in full against flat tax liabilities. Pay every legal resident of the USA a periodic lump sum called a "demogrant". Business tax losses would carry forward indefinitely, and would accrue interest at the T bill rate.

    A flat rate of 26% and demogrant of $4500/year would be revenue neutral. Raising the flat rate to 30% would result in a deficit of less than $200B. The USA poverty line is $7600/household/year, and $4100/person/year. Hence at most $7000/year of food stamps and section 8 housing money would suffice to lift every American household over the poverty line.

  • REMant||

    Tom Paine's idea, after Harrington

  • concerned cynic||

    What I have described is a flat MARGINAL tax. The effective average tax rate is quite progressive, thanks to the demogrant. Progressivity is also assured by the integration of the flat tax with the payroll taxes.
    A major advantage of the tax I've described is that it would be collected from income payers, not recipients. The exceptions are landlords who would pay tax on rent, not the tenants, and financial institutions, who would pay tax owed on credit interest, not borrowers.

  • Sevo||

    concerned cynic|4.15.14 @ 11:10PM|#
    "Tax all value added by business,"...

    The accountant's retirement act!
    "Value added" should be good for several years of argument in congress and favors traded back and forth.
    Did you say you preferred a simpler tax?

  • concerned cynic||

    The IRS's detailed tables on the circumstances of the 400 largest AGI returns:
    http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-soi/09intop400.pdf

  • REMant||

    A flat income tax is still progressive. It is not a poll tax.

  • REMant||

    Also the middle class do pay the most tax, in total, if not individually.

  • Sevo||

    "Also the middle class do pay the most tax, in total, if not individually."

    Bullshit:
    "Top 10 Percent of Earners Paid 71 Percent of Federal Income Taxes"
    http://www.heritage.org/federa.....me-earners

  • concerned cynic||

    The reason why the very rich look like they are getting off lightly is because a majority of their AGIs take the forms of realised capital gains, taxed before 2013 at 15%. Keep in mind that common stock is a claim on after tax cash flows, and that the effective tax rate on cash corporate flows has been about 8.3%. Hence the effective tax rate on corporate income received as dividends or as realised capital gains is 8.3% + 0.15x(1-0.083) = 22%.

  • Black&Yellow||

    Libertarians posting home much money should be stolen?

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