Skip to comments.62 Percent of Americans Say They Favor a Flat Tax
Posted on 04/19/2014 11:09:17 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
The latest Reason-Rupe poll asked Americans if they would support or oppose changing the federal tax system to a flat tax, where everyone pays the same percentage of his or her income, finding that 62 percent favor the flat tax and 33 percent are opposed. When asked where they would set the flat tax, the aveage response was 15 percent.
This reflects another recent Reason-Rupe poll finding that 67 percent of Americans say it is "not the responsibility of the government to reduce the differences in income between people with high incomes and those with low incomes," while 29 percent say it is.
Strong support for a flat tax extends across income groups (62 percent) among those making less than $30,000 a year and 73 percent among those making more than $110,000 a year. Similarly across education groups and age groups, 6 in 10 say they support the flat tax.
Support for a flat tax extends beyond partisanship, with 66 percent of Republicans, 68 percent of independents, and 52 percent of Democrats in support. Nevertheless, Democrats are more likely to oppose the flat tax (43 percent) compared to Republicans (29 percent) and independents (29 percent).
Americans who say the less government the better and that the free market can better solve problems than a strong government, favor a flat tax by a margin of nearly 50 points (roughly 72 to 25 percent). However, those who think government should be doing more and that we need a strong government to solve problems favor a flat tax by only 8 points (roughly 51 to 45 percent).
These results seem to contradict previous Reason-Rupe poll results finding a majority in support of raising taxes on the wealthyimplying support for a progressive rather than flat tax. In 2012, Reason-Rupe found that 57 percent favored raising taxes "on those making more than $250,000 a year," while 39 percent opposed. Again, in 2013, Reason-Rupe found that 66 percent favored the government raising taxes on wealthier households, while 31 percent opposed.
Americans Think The Middle Class Pays More Taxes Than the Rich
One explanation for why Americans say they want both a flat tax and to raise taxes on the wealthy is that 66 percent of Americans are under the distinct impression that the middle class is literally paying a larger share of their income in taxes than the wealthy. Rhetoric throughout the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns made many Americans believe they were paying more in taxes than the wealthy. Reason-Rupe recently asked Americans who favor these tax increases to explain in their own words why they wanted the wealthy to pay more. While many of the reasons were about the rich being better able to afford higher taxes, many revealed that they believe the rich actually pay less taxes than they do (full responses here):
Urban Institute data reports that in fact, the wealthy do pay a higher tax rate than the middle class. Average effective federal tax rates in 2011, as a percentage of adjusted gross income find the following (after tax credits):
Lowest Income Quintile: -5.8%
Second Quintile: 1.3%
Middle Quintile: 9.2%
Fourth Quintile: 12.9%
Top Quintile: 20.6%
The 1 Percent pay 25.3%
Reason-Rupe also found that only about 20 percent of Americans knew the actual share of federal income tax dollars paid by the top 5 percent of households, which is roughly 60 percent of all tax receipts. Without knowing these facts, 57 percent of Americans say they think the top 5 percent should contribute no more than 40 percent of all the tax revenue collected.
These data indicate that the public really doesnt know how much the rich pay, and often likely make policy judgments based off of the political rhetoric of the politicians and pundits they trust. The more Americans are led to believe that there is widespread cheating among the nations wealthy, the greater the support for raising their taxes.
Even though recent polls show that Americans say they support a flat tax and dont believe government has a responsibility to reduce the income gap, Gallup has found in recent years that a slim majority (52 percent) supports the government redistribut[ing] wealth by heavy taxes on the rich. Its unclear if different wording, the belief that the rich pay less than the middle class, or something else explains these seemingly contradictory findings. Its likely that many Americans dont know what the word redistribute even means and thus respond as if this is just a question about raising taxes on the wealthy.
Nationwide telephone poll conducted March 26-30 2014 interviewed 1003 adults on both mobile (503) and landline (500) phones, with a margin of error +/- 3.6%. Princeton Survey Research Associates International executed the nationwide Reason-Rupe survey. Columns may not add up to 100% due to rounding. Full poll results, detailed tables, and methodology found here. Sign up for notifications of new releases of the Reason-Rupe poll here.
Emily Ekins is the director of polling for Reason Foundation where she leads the Reason-Rupe public opinion research project.
I would pay more with a flat tax, and I am for the flat tax. We need a simplified code to make it easier to comply. We need a law where everybody pays something so they stop thinking government services are free.
I prefer the fair tax, but this is good news too
How about NO tax.
We should have to pay any transaction tax for the labor of our hands. That is OUR property.
RE: How about NO tax.
How do you run the government with that?
a flat tax still is invasive of our privacy. we should stick with excise taxes (like gasoline taxes) with which taxes can be paid voluntarily and anonymously.
I agree - nrst is far superior to any income-based tax.
But I would go for the flat income tax. It would help us out pretty good for a while anyway.
And then there are the manure-spreaders opposing tariffs, whose purpose is to finance government, not to help establish crony capitalists.
How did we ever exist before the 16th Amendment?
62 percent of Americans SUPPORT the flat tax - which we will NOT get.
60+ percent of Americans OPPOSE centralized health care - but we’re gonna get it rammed down our throats anyway.
Our government NO LONGER represents US. Period.
Reduce the federal government to only those functions enumerated and delegated to it by the U.S. Constitution and you reduce the federal budget by about 90%. The largest item would be national defense. All other functions to be returned to the states and the people to decide per the 10th amendment. Look it up.
The Marxists will be fine with a flat tax, they’ll just make it 75% of income.
There, aren’t we clever?
Before you know it, our new "flat tax" law is every bit as onerous as the old one.
>> “How do you run the government with that?” <<
Better question is “How does the government run YOU with that!
I am definitely in favor of a flat consumption tax to replace the progressive income tax we now have. The change would work against those of us who are now living off a lifetime of after-tax savings, effectively doubling our tax burden, but I am still in favor of it going forward.
Gargantuan controlling government is by far the largest employer in the entire country. This is wrong and immoral.
It's time government be dramatically reduced at all levels... With massive reductions in government, it will be much easier to pay for and fund and will not even be an issue.
I prefer the “Fair Tax” over the Flat Tax.(both are far more preferable over what we have currently)
I believe most people would favor the Fair Tax if they fully understood it, but unfortunately it can’t be explained in five/ten second sound bites, or thirty second ads.
The entire tax system has been hijacked by interests and politicians using it as a vehicle to control virtually every aspect of our financial lives. Everything from accountants, lawyers, companies like H&R Block, the welfare state, and politicians - they’ll never willingly surrender that kind of power. Entire institutions and livelihoods have been built around it. Just like our ‘legal industry’/criminal justice system.
And a big plus to that would be that with less for them to “control” there would be much less room for bribery and corruption. Also, our congresscritters would have a lot less work to do in DC so could go back to being part-timers. We’d also not have legions of unelected, unaccountable tyrannical bureaucrats unconstitutionally writing legislation (”legally binding” regulations).
I lived in a flat-tax "country" (Hong Kong). I paid 15%. Deductions only for immediate dependents, nothing else. It was only on income earned in the territory. Fantastically simple. Made earning, saving and building wealth, even in such an expensive city, relatively easy and desirable. On the Government side, made tax collection very easy. Nearly every citizen (except the most poor) paid something, so the tax base was very broad. The simplicity prevented special interests from lobbying the government to hide benefits in a complex code.
I will always be proponent of flat tax.
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