Polls: Pointless?

Posted by on Sep 17, 2010

The big debate on the Bush tax cuts rages. On the one hand, you have a recent poll saying that 45% of Americans oppose tax hikes on the rich. On the other, you have a poll just in declaring that 53% of Americans agree with Obama to end tax cuts for the wealthy.

You work hard enough, you’ll find a poll saying that the British are happy the Pope is visiting. Well, maybe not. But I’m not entirely convinced that polls being bandied about help here.

Let’s just look at the facts. The US 2009 poverty rate was confirmed yesterday – 14.3%, 1 in 7 Americans. I think we can all agree that is too high and a tragedy of modern times. Meanwhile, the number of millionaires increased in the US by 8%.

Of course I’m not saying “oh no, people are doing better, punish them”. What I am saying is: the poor are getting poorer, the rich are getting richer and that is a deeply sorry – and shocking – state of affairs to be in.

The US deficit is running at 10% of GDP. And calculations are now showing that if the GOP locked the tax cuts in as they would like, it would add $4 Trillion to the deficit over the next 10 years. Their current proposed spending freeze would save only $300 Billion.

We all have limited resources. The maths isn’t adding up. But if these tax cuts, a form of stimulus, are to remain, then surely the lower middle class need them more than the wealthy, who seem to be doing just fine.