As we enter into yet another round of budget discussions, the Democratic Party is confronted with an opportunity – and a challenge. There’s an opportunity to shift the budget debate to an area where they hold the high ground. But it will be a challenge for some Democrats to take the initiative on a subject they seem reluctant to discuss.
The subject is taxes.
Tax increases are a subject people seem reluctant to mention in the nation’s capital. Republicans have convinced everyone inside the Beltway that new tax revenues are politically impossible. The talk on the Hill is that the White House is urging Senate and House Dems to accept a cuts-only budget deal for the next go-round. It seems that the conventional wisdom says tax increases are best left unmentioned.
But the conventional wisdom is wrong.
New polling by Hart Research Associates, conducted for Americans for Tax Fairness, confirms and amplifies findings from earlier studies showing that Americans strongly support higher taxes for the wealthy and corporations. And when we say “strongly,” we mean very strongly.
As that covert recording of Mitt Romney showed last year, some of the “1 percent” think other Americans aren’t pulling their own weight in this economy. As this new polling confirms, the feeling’s mutual. By a seventeen point margin (56 percent to 39 percent), the American people want the next budget agreement to include new tax revenues from corporations and the wealthy.
And despite the conventional wisdom which suggests that “moderates” reject tax hikes, the Hart polling shows that moderates actually want these tax hikes –by an overwhelming forty-two point margin. Registered independents, often thought of as the Holy Grail of electioneering, back them by a nineteen point margin.
The conclusion is inescapable: if Democrats make this budget battle a fight over who has the smartest spending cuts, they’re fighting on the Republicans’ turf. That will weaken them as they enter the 2014 campaigns. But if they make this a fight over taxes and jobs, that’s a fight they can win. (snip)