Or is it?
Larry Bartels of Princeton shows that more often than not average Americans side with businesses and the wealthy in tax debates–voting for tax cuts they will never receive and against tax increases they will not pay:
“What is most remarkable is that this massive upward transfer of wealth has been broadly supported by ordinary Americans, despite a good deal of public suspicion that the benefits would go mostly to the rich. For example, a CBS News Poll in April 2001, shortly before the first big tax cut was passed, found that 51% of the public favored President Bush’s tax cut plan, while 55% said that “rich people” would “benefit most” from it.
“A Harris Poll in June 2003 found that 50% thought the 2003 tax cut was “a good thing,” while 42% said it would help “the rich” a lot and only 11% said it would help “the middle class” a lot. An even more recent survey in which respondents were reminded that “President Bush and Congress have made two major cuts in federal income tax rates” found that 54% of the public approved of those cuts, while only 37% disapproved.”
One way around this is to keep the conversation focused on what the taxes are paying for. The Vote Yes for Oregon campaign used this technique:
“You know that you want to protect Oregon's schools, health care and public safety services by voting Yes! on Measures 66 & 67.”
Their campaign was focused on tax increases for corporations and families making more than $250,000 a year. While they highlighted the fact that the measure would not increase taxes for 97.5 percent of Oregonians, they were able to keep a message of supporting services at the forefront. Check out this letter to the editor by Oregon State Representative Chris Harker:
“As a small-business owner, I'm convinced that in order for Oregon to prosper we need to have the courage and the will to create an environment that's profitable both for businesses and for the communities on which our businesses rely. Unless we properly fund our education system and protect working families and the services they need, we're going to struggle to compete in the growing global economy. The days in which low skills could generate high pay are disappearing. These tax measures are the next necessary steps to promoting the health and well-being of our state as a whole.”
Cross posted on ONE Massachusetts.