World Economy

29 Percent of Americans Support Trump Tax Bill

29 Percent of Americans Support Trump Tax Bill
29 Percent of Americans Support Trump Tax Bill

Less than one-third of Americans approve of the Republican tax plan, Quinnipiac figures show. The same poll put President Donald Trump’s approval rating at 35%, and Gallup’s daily tracking poll reported the same percentage.

In the Quinnipiac poll, conducted from Nov. 29 to Dec. 4—before the US Senate passed its version of the tax bill in the early hours of Saturday—almost two-thirds (64%) of people surveyed said the bill would benefit the wealthy most, while just 24% said they believe the middle class would benefit the most, CNN reported.

Twenty-nine percent of Americans approve of the Republican plan, according to the poll. Additionally, 41% believed the plan would raise their taxes. Before the House of Representatives passed its version of the tax plan, just 35% thought they would see a tax hike.

The broader context for the bill is that it’s being advocated by a party and a president who themselves aren’t that popular. In August, Americans saw the parties as about even in their ability to handle taxes. In the new Quinnipiac poll, the Democrats gained an 8-point advantage, suggesting that the unpopularity of the bill was dragging down perceptions of the GOP.

It’s so unpopular, in fact, that it’s less popular than Trump in both Quinnipiac’s and Gallup’s polls—even among Republicans. In Quinnipiac’s poll, Republicans viewed Trump 15 points more positively than they view the tax bill. In Gallup’s, Trump had an 8-point advantage among members of his own party.

So, sure, the Republican rhetoric on the tax bill is echoed by Republican voters. But it’s also the case that fewer than three-quarters of Republicans support the bill in both of the new polls. Trump is relatively popular with his party—and his tax bill less so.

This is for a bill that ostensibly cuts taxes. Yet it’s less popular than the most unpopular president in his first year in office in the modern era.

Even with unified Republican control, Trump and congress have failed repeatedly this year to pass any piece of major legislation.

For this poll, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,508 voters nationwide, with a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points.

Economists Warn

As Republicans in the house and senate hash out their tax bill differences in a conference committee behind closed doors, with the goal of producing a final bill before the holiday break, conservative economists said that the policies likely to become law will wreak havoc on the country for many years to come.

Though Republicans insisted repeatedly over the past few weeks that the $1.4 trillion in tax cuts, most of them geared toward wealthy individuals and corporations, would pay for themselves by stimulating economic growth, they presented no evidence to support their claims.

Instead, the economists and former government officials predicted, the bill will drive up the federal deficit, shrink and destabilize the health care market, exacerbate already historic income inequality, and pressure congress to make deep cuts to the social safety net and government programs.

“I don’t see how this bill makes America great again,” said Bill Hoagland, a self-described “deficit hawk” Republican who worked for decades for the Senate Budget Committee and now serves as the senior vice president of the Bipartisan Policy Center.

“With the populist direction the country has gone in this year, it just doesn’t seem right to give big corporations a permanent tax cut and not individuals. And it’s an open question with those companies—will they translate that back into actual jobs and not into stock options and buybacks?”

Deficit Flops

Republican senators, who for the last several years have railed against and campaigned on the specter of the federal deficit, voted Saturday on a bill that several independent analysts have said will cost the government at least $1 trillion over 10 years—even taking into account the economic growth it may generate.

In the face of two official government bodies scoring the bill, the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation, as well as independent studies by the Tax Policy Center, the Tax Foundation and the Wharton School of Businesses, GOP lawmakers insisted that the tax cuts would spur so much economic growth that they would pay for themselves and then some.

“I am absolutely convinced that this bill will end up reducing the deficit,” Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) told reporters. “I feel very good about the fiscal situation.” But they provided zero evidence to support this claim.

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