taxes richAs Congress debates President Barack Obama's proposal to let tax cuts for the wealthy expire at the end of this year, while extending cuts for individuals who make less than $200,000 or households earning less than $250,000, Americans are also divided. Would the economy benefit or suffer if Washington removes the George W. Bush-era tax cuts for the rich?

According to a Pew Research Center poll released Monday, Americans who believe that the expiration of those tax cuts would hurt the economy outnumber those who believe it would help. Approximately 40% of those polled said that expiring top-income-bracket tax cuts would hinder economic recovery, while 26% said that doing so would help the economy, according to the Pew survey of some 1,000 people last week. About a third of those polled either said there would be no effect on the economy or that they didn't know how the economy would respond.

The results seem to contradict the conclusions from another poll that CBS released last week. That survey, which didn't restrict its respondents to considering the economic impacts of the plan, found that 53% of Americans think it's a good idea to let tax cuts for the rich expire, while 38% think it's a bad idea and 8% don't know.

But the results of both polls mirror the discord between President Barack Obama and members of Congress over how best to adjust tax policies -- for both the middle class and the wealthy -- in order to aid an economic recovery. In the Pew survey, Republicans were four times as likely to say that ending the tax breaks would hurt the economy, while Democrats were slightly more apt to say that ending the tax breaks would help the economy. Likewise, in the CBS poll, people also largely responded along party lines: 66% of Democrats said ending the tax cuts is a good idea, while 57% said it's a bad idea.

Additionally, public opinion about which political party is better for the U.S. economy has swung in favor of the Republicans, according to the Pew poll. When asked which party was better at handling the economy, 38% of those polled selected Republicans, while 37% chose Democrats, compared to 42% favoring Democrats and 32% picking Republicans in August 2009, Pew said.

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Who cares what the people think? Most don't have a clue which is better. I came here to learn using a professional opinion. I could have just looked up the polls if I thought we lived in a true democracy as opposed to a republic

July 10 2012 at 7:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

3-4 Trillion dollars of our has been mostly wasted by the Democrats, the buying power of middle class wallets has been significantly diminished and now they want to raise taxes to continue their foolish spending. Vote out the incumbents! Stop this insanity.

October 02 2010 at 4:53 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

as most billionaires will swear they already pay taxes, in reality they pay high priced accountents quite a lot of money to find loop holes to lower their tax bill. these are the same people who own homes in the hamptons or rent them for hundreds of thousands of money then go to saratoga for the month of august for the races. i worked for a guy who was pretty decent paid me well. one day as i was finishing up on his 5 acre estate in the middle of a very wealthy surburban town he came up and told me to take a decrease in hours to cut costs because he just had to pay a quaterly tax estimate of $300,000. that was the last day i worked for him. he had at least 4 homes that i knew of but what he paid me was at the top of the list to cut costs.

September 29 2010 at 3:27 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Tax breaks for the rich only help the rich.

September 22 2010 at 10:12 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Since almost half of Americans don't pay income taxes what do they care if the people who do pay taxes half to spend more?! They don't give a rats A$$ about taxes increases as long as they don't have to pay. That is a built in statistical flaw to any survey!!

September 22 2010 at 9:54 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

if letting these tax break expire is a good thing why not let them expire on everyone? i don't see how it is right to say to anyone you make more so we will tax you more or you make less so we will tax you less? are we not supposed to be equals in america? lets change this around a bit. lets say we will tax blacks higher then whites you do know they cause more crime so isn't this just? hell no it isn't you be called a racist. so why doesn't our government understand you can't single out those who are well of to be their scapegoats for their horrid spending sprees?

September 22 2010 at 9:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Dumb question....are the idiots collecting the taxes more capable that a businessman? Look at the taxes you pay and what you are getting. Damn, I thought this article would have some kind of intellect to it.

September 22 2010 at 8:39 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Giving tax breaks, Or "Incentives" to the wealthy is nothing more than corporate welfare. I've heard Republicans say that not doing tax breaks for the rich will "Kill Jobs". BUT if you give tax breaks to the rich, and then "Cut Spending", you have to wonder where the poor are going to go for their needs. Less tax revenues , as Repub. candidates espouse leave nothing but unpaid bills , or cutting programs for the people who DO NOT have money. Unoless you cook the budget books. Remember The "Tricle down theory"? What Bushes tax cuts?? Did they make us "Recession Proof"??? He told us We'll Privatise Social Security, put the money into The Stock Market, and "We'll All get Rich together. Another gimmick to convince us all that "The Emporer has a brand new suit of clothes. "It's the free lunch for the rich. STOP IT NOW ! !That'sn My personal OPINION.

September 22 2010 at 7:26 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to smithpet8's comment

Smithpet, why do yo have to wonder where the poor are going to go for their needs? If giving money to the poor is a good idea, then it's still a good idea even when the government isn't stealing the fruits of citizens labor, right? And absent the government theft, citizens will have greater resources to allocate to whatever ideas they deem to be good ones, inclusive of job-creating spending and investing (do you think poor people would prefer a job or a hand-out?), as well as donating money to the less fortunate. Nobody is talking about outlawing charity.

September 22 2010 at 8:23 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

I would say this in response to the question of where will the poor go for their needs?...... How about to work instead of hanging around on the corner and drinking wine all day ?

September 23 2010 at 3:14 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

I see liberals are still planning on cooking the goose that lays the golden egg............

September 22 2010 at 7:13 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Does anybody REALLY believe that taking more money from citizens (ANY citizens) who by definition would have spent or invested those funds anyway, and giving it to the government to spend on their behalf would somehow create economic growth? If so, I'm gonna pop some popcorn and chill a six pack in hopes of hearing the cartoonish explanations of how this could even POSSIBLY be so. Please, do tell?

September 22 2010 at 5:27 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
8 replies to warrenbent's comment