Do You Support Tax Hikes?
The Washington Post has a provocative headline this morning: “Poll: Majority of Republicans OK with revenue increases.”
After asking a series of questions about the debt, the Peter G. Peterson Foundation poll conducted by Global Strategy Group asked respondents: “If both parties were to agree on a long-term solution on the national debt, I would support it, even if it includes revenue increases that I don’t agree with.” 54-percent of self-identified Republicans agreed.
Word choice matters here, and the decision to use “revenue increases” as opposed to “tax increases” was intentional (every word in a poll is carefully chosen). Peterson’s spin on the poll was that everyone wants “a majority of voters in both parties are willing to give ground on key issues in order to achieve a much desired, long-term fiscal solution.” To arrive at those polling results, the questions whitewashed the policy prescriptions being discussed, i.e., tax increases.
Pollsters understand “tax increases” are unlikely to poll as well as “revenue increases.” This is not controversial.
— Scarin’ Blake (@AaronBlakeWP) October 30, 2013
In fact, you’ll be hard pressed to find an Obama surrogate talk about “tax increases.” A couple weeks ago, Vice President Joe Biden’s former chief economist Jared Berstein argued on CNBC that the Obama administration is “not interested in raising tax rates. We’re interested in closing loopholes.” Proponents of big government understand the word “tax” is met with reflexive opposition, so they try to sell their increased confiscation of private property in more glowing terms.
Witness the debate over the internet sales tax. The legislation is dubbed the Marketplace Fairness Act. Big-box retailers are pushing it through the Marketplace Fairness Coalition. Yet, when Gallup asked about “a law that would allow each state to collect sales taxes on purchases its residents make online over the Internet,” only 39-percent are in favor. That includes just 34-percent of Republicans and just 27-percent of adults under 30 years old.
Make no mistake, this poll is part of an effort inside Washington to put tax hikes – what the ruling class dubs revenue increases – back on the table.