People Just Love Tax Hikes

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 11 2013 3:44 PM

People Just Love Tax Hikes

163290430
Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) holds his weekly press conference at the U.S. Capitol March 7, 2013 in Washington, DC.

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

John Boehner (or a handyman) tweets about a McClatchy poll. It proves, in the words of the pollster, that Americans "are not in a mood to increase taxes." Sure enough, "voters by 53-37 prefer to reduce the deficits by mostly cutting government programs and services rather than mostly by raising taxes."

But that's not all it says! McClatchy asked whether voters preferred to raise taxes or to cut various things that government pays for. Social Security? By a 60-33 margin they prefer tax hikes. Medicare? Give 'em tax hikes, 57-36. Medicaid? It's closer, as you'd expect from a program that the wavering voter understands as a giveaway to poor people, but tax hikes still win the round.

Isn't that great for the White House? Not really. The natural policy response to these poll numbers would be to raise the cap on Social Security taxes. Right now, income over $113,700 isn't hit by the tax. (FICA's probably the most regressive tax that liberals wholeheartedly support.) Huge majorities of voters want that cap to be increased. Yet that's not what Democrats talk about when they talk about raising taxes. They talk about the similar, but not directly related, dreamy taxes on millionaires. Meanwhile, the NRSC is pre-accusing Democrats of introducing a budget "while ignoring a Medicare crisis that even President Obama admits can't be solved by raising taxes."

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Trending News Channel
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 3:21 PM “The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.