In a recent Fox News/Opinion Dynamics Poll, 63% want the Bush-era tax cuts — now set to expire at year-end — to remain in place. In the latest IBD/TIPP Poll, 48% favor making the cuts permanent vs. 30% opposed. And as for taxes on the rich, an AP-GfK Poll found that 39% support letting taxes go up only on those earning over $250,000, but 44% oppose the idea.
Hence, the Democrats' dilemma: Either way they vote, they'll anger a large chunk of the electorate — at a time when they need all the votes they can get to keep from being swept out of power.
So rather than hold an up-or-down vote on a tax bill that reflects their true beliefs, Democrats are postponing any action until after the elections. Obviously they know that what they really want to do will be wildly unpopular, and perhaps cost them seats.
But Americans know what they want, too, and they'll see through the politics Democrats are playing with the economy at a time we can least afford it.
If they've decided to hike taxes during a lame-duck session of Congress after the election, they sure shouldn't keep it secret. If people feel lied to during the election, they won't be very happy. Democrats need to let their intentions be known — or face the wrath of the voters later.
If they think they can raise taxes on everyone or slap the "rich" with higher taxes and get away with it, they might be surprised. Ultimately, this will be a politically self-defeating strategy, making their far-left voter base happy but sacrificing middle-of-the-road Democrats who want to see the economy create jobs again.
Taxing the rich sounds good on paper or as a sound-bite in the left-dominated mainstream media, but it's the rich who create businesses and do most of the hiring in this country. Tax these entrepreneurs and you tax jobs — the last thing we need after losing 8 million in three years.
As economist Curtis Dubay of the Heritage Foundation has noted, tax hikes on the rich "will slow down economic growth and job creation while the economy struggles to recover from a steep recession . .. (and) will hurt Americans at all income levels."
Running a standard econometric model, Dubay estimates that letting taxes rise just on the rich, as President Obama and Senate Democrats propose, will cost the economy 7 million jobs over the next decade — and nearly $720 billion, or $6,000 per household, in income.
That's an awful price to pay for envy. Before voting this fall, Americans should pin down their representatives on where they stand on tax cuts. Republicans have put out their Pledge to America, so you know what they stand for. What about the Democrats?