More Americans Think Wealthy, Not Middle Class, Will Benefit from Tax Reform: Reuters/Ipsos

Despite an insistence by Republicans that their goal is to help the middle class, only 8 percent of Americans think that demographic will benefit the most.

(L-R) Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Sen. Orrin Hatch, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Director of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn / REUTERS

(Reuters) — Americans are more likely to believe the wealthy will benefit most from the tax reform currently being pushed in the U.S. Congress by Republicans who insist their goal is to help the middle class, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Thursday.

The poll found 32 percent of Americans think the wealthy will benefit most, compared to 14 percent who think all Americans will benefit and 14 percent who think large U.S. corporations will benefit most.

Congress is working to try to enact the most sweeping overhaul of the tax code since the 1980s that would lower taxes for millions of individual tax payers and slash the rate paid by corporations. The proposal would also eliminate most individual tax deductions, a move that could result in some taxpayers seeing an increase in their total bill to the government while others see a decrease.

Despite an insistence by Republicans that their goal is to help the middle class, only 8 percent of Americans think that demographic will benefit the most, the poll, which was conducted Nov. 3-8, found.

Republicans and Democrats are divided on who they think tax reform would help the most. Among Republicans, 26 percent think all Americans will benefit, followed by 16 percent who think the wealthy will benefit most, the poll found.

But among Democrats, 46 percent think that wealthy will benefit most, with only 7 percent thinking all Americans will benefit and 17 percent who think corporations will benefit.

And while those polled did not think that the middle class will benefit most, an overwhelming majority thought that they should.

The poll found 79 percent think it’s more important to cut taxes for the middle class than for corporations, and 76 percent think it’s more important to cut taxes for the poor than for corporations.

However, 76 percent said it was more important to cut taxes for corporations than it was to cut taxes for the wealthy.

When it comes to specific changes, the poll found that 46 percent of Americans oppose limiting the mortgage interest deduction, compared to 35 percent who support the change.

The strongest opposition came to the Republican proposal to eliminate deductions for medical expenses, with 54 percent saying they are against the change and 32 percent saying they support it.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted in early November online in English throughout the United States. It gathered responses from 1,608 adults and has a credibility interval, a measure of accuracy, of 3 percentage points.

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  • What a joke. Republicans say their goal is to help the middle class??? BS. If they’re slashing the tax rate for corporations….and eliminating deductions individuals currently itemize – who’s benefiting?? Unless they slash our tax rate after they eliminate all of our deductions, we (the middle class) will pay more. Once again, they are saying one thing and doing another.

    Reply
  • The poll was conducted before the Senate released their tax reform plan, which makes the poll irrelevant. If you know anything about the current political environment and legislative process, the only thing that matters is what happens in the Senate. Remember the FY18 budget resolution? The House had to change their budget to conform to the Senate budget (the two budgets were initially wildly different). The same thing will happen with tax reform. The House members are beholden to whatever bill can be crafted to achieve 50 Republican votes in the Senate.

    “76 percent think it’s more important to cut taxes for the poor than for corporations.” Those 76% must not realize the poor don’t pay federal income taxes. 47% of Americans don’t pay federal income taxes (this comment probably gives ole’ Mitt nightmares). Also, corporations don’t really incur federal income taxes, they pass the tax bill on to three groups: 1. Consumers via higher prices; 2. Employees via lower wages; 3. Investors via lower dividends/returns. Lots of academic research suggests that more and more of the corporate income tax is borne by the employee via lower wages. The CBO and Treasury agree.

    “When it comes to specific changes, the poll found that 46 percent of Americans oppose limiting the mortgage interest deduction, compared to 35 percent who support the change.” The Senate Bill does not change the mortgage interest deduction. The House Bill made interest in mortgages above $500k nondeductible. How many middle income taxpayers earning $75k or so have a $500k mortgage? This provision in the House Bill targets the rich. A dumb move by the House W&M Committee in my opinion.

    “When it comes to specific changes, the poll found that 46 percent of Americans oppose limiting the mortgage interest deduction, compared to 35 percent who support the change.” The Senate Bill retains this deduction. The House W&M Committee was foolish, again, for trying to take this itemized deduction away. But, again, the Senate Bill is really the one that matters here.

    Penultimate comment, since the whole article is focused on a poll, haven’t we learned they are unreliable by now? Ask Hillary what she thinks of the accuracy of polls. Who focuses an entire article on a poll? How about using Joint Committee on Taxation facts? The revenue scores are available for all to see! Lazy journalism.

    As an aside, I can’t wait to hear crusty elf from VT debate this tax reform bill on the Senate floor (damn shame the budget reconciliation process limits the debate time). That should be a prime time TV event!

    Reply
    • Depends on where you live and work. In high productivity/high percentage college educated blue states, it is solidly middle clas to own a $500,000 house. The mortgage payment on such a house would be roughly $2,000/month. Slightly over the recommended 28% of household income that is the rule of thumb financial planners use.

      The average income for an HR manager in NJ is $71k. Most young couples are dual income. The average house in NJ costs almost $300k. Much higher in areas that are a reasonable commute to where the jobs are.

      In other words, the mortgage deduction and state tax deduction are essential for the average taxpayer in our nation’s high GDP per capita areas.

      Hillary won by 3 million votes, she lost the electoral college by less than 80,000 votes. A Russian fueled, Comey assisted, Hillary bungled fluke.

      Reply
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