BOSTON (CBS) — The king of hot-button issues in American politics—taxes—is in the news once again, thanks to the disclosure that Donald Trump apparently took major advantage of a legal, commonly-exercised part of tax law that allows businesses to reduce or even eliminate their income-tax burden after they suffer losses.
To hear Trump’s allies tell it, this simultaneously illustrates his “genius” as a businessman and reflects poorly on the tax code, an awkward juxtaposition to say the least.
Hillary Clinton’s take is that this proves what a lousy businessman Trump is, with a sub-text of how paying taxes is your patriotic duty.
All this left me wondering what the voters think of the taxes they and other pay—or don’t pay, as the case may be. So I looked it up.
According to the Gallup poll, 57 percent of us think the federal income tax we pay is too high, with 37 percent saying it’s about right. For context, the highest negative rating ever recorded by Gallup was 69 percent in 1969.
But when Gallup asked people of they thought their income taxes were fair, a majority said yes, and it’s been that way since 1999.
And perhaps the most relevant statistic here is when they ask if the rich and corporations pay their fair share. Barely two in ten believe they do.
So to recap—we think our taxes are too high, but don’t think that’s unfair; what we really don’t like are the breaks that the wealthy enjoy.
Clinton is trying to pounce on all this, an effort that may be complicated by her own ties to big money. But it’s going to be hard for Trump to put a shine on a sneaker that 80 percent of Americans are repelled by.
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