Senator McConnell's convoluted proposal for lawmakers to raise the debt ceiling while avoiding the blame (see related article) shows that GOP leaders are trying desperately to escape a trap. On one side are anti-tax ideologues like Grover Norquist and his group, so-called Americans for Tax Reform, who have organized a "no new tax pledge" signed by many lawmakers.
On the other side is the American public, which has made clear that it prefers any reduction in the budget deficit to include a mix of spending cuts and revenue increases.
Bruce Bartlett, a Republican who worked for President Reagan and the first President Bush, presents a long list of polls showing support among Americans for raising taxes to deal with the deficit. Here's just a sample of the polls he cites:
A June 9 Washington Post/ABC News poll found that 61 percent of people believe higher taxes will be necessary to reduce the deficit.
A May 13 Bloomberg poll found that only one third of people believe it is possible to substantially reduce the budget deficit without higher taxes; two thirds do not.
A May 12 Ipsos/Reuters poll found that three-fifths of people would support higher taxes to reduce the deficit.
An April 29 Gallup poll found that only 20 percent of people believe the budget deficit should be reduced only by cutting spending; 76 percent say that higher taxes must play a role.
An April 22 New York Times/CBS News poll found that 72 percent of people favor raising taxes on the rich to reduce the deficit. It also found that 66 percent of people believe tax increases will be necessary to reduce the deficit versus 19 percent who believe spending cuts alone are sufficient.
An April 20 Washington Post/ABC News poll found that by a 2-to-1 margin people favor a combination of higher taxes and spending cuts over spending cuts alone to reduce the deficit. It also found that 72 percent of people favor raising taxes on the rich to reduce the deficit and it is far and away the most popular deficit reduction measure.
A March 15 ABC News/Washington Post poll found that only 31 percent of voters support the Republican policy of only cutting spending to reduce the deficit; 64 percent believe higher taxes will also be necessary.
See the rest of the polling that Bartlett cites on his blog.
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