◼ Most don’t know that successful individuals and small businesses already pay a progressive rate - Colin Hanna and Alex Cortes/Roll Call
Myths are perpetuated in Washington, with conventional wisdom created by one person and bouncing off hundreds more in a self-reassuring circle of groupthink. But in real America, you can find the truth if you look hard enough.
When the Democratic Party and the fourth branch of government, the mainstream media, unite on an issue, the result is a powerful megaphone of misrepresentation. During the present fiscal cliff negotiations, the most egregious myth perpetrated by the Democratic media complex is that the public supports raising taxes on the successful.
You might believe that the Democrats and mainstream media are right, according to public opinion polling. Just one example, a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll, found that 60 percent of respondents support increasing taxes on incomes more than $250,000 a year, including a meaningful 39 percent of Republicans. It is seemingly hard to argue with that.
However, when you ask the public what the top tax rate should be, you get a completely different picture of reality.
In a survey conducted by The Hill in February, 61 percent of likely voters said the top tax rate should be 25 percent or less, a rate that is substantially lower than the present top rate, demonstrating majority support for lowering taxes below what they are today. Fully 88 percent said the top rate should be at the current 35 percent, or less. Only 4 percent supported a top tax rate of 40 percent, which is closest to the proposal of President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats to increase the top rate to 39.6 percent.
This is worth repeating: Only 4 percent of the public supports the tax rate Democrats are trying to force successful small businesses and individuals to pay. This finding destroys the myth that Obama’s election was primarily a mandate for higher taxes.
So why is a majority of the public calling for higher taxes, while at the same time believing the top rate should be lower than it is today?
The answer is that today a majority of the public simply does not know that successful individuals and small businesses are already paying a very progressive tax rate of 35 percent — higher than what the public supports. As conservatives, we have only ourselves to blame for failing to inform them of this reality.