Presented with minimal comment. From Rasmussen Reports.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 47% believe it's most important for tax policy to support economic growth. Nearly as many--44%--believe it's more important to establish a policy in which everyone pays their fair share (ed. best definition of "fair" left in comments wins lunch on me). Most Democrats favor an emphasis on fairness while most Republicans prefer a focus on economic growth. Unaffiliated voters are evenly divided.
The survey also found results reminiscent of Garrison Keillor's world where everyone is above average--most voters believe they already pay more than their fair share of the tax burden. Fifty-three percent (53%) hold that view while 30% say they're not paying more than they should. Voters who earn more than $60,000 annually are more likely than other voters to believe they're paying too much.
Just 45% of voters under 30 or over 65 think they're paying more than their fair share of the tax burden. A solid majority of those aged 40-64 think they're paying too much.
Fifty-nine percent (59%) of voters believe that tax cuts help the economy while just 15% believe they hurt. Looked at from the other perspective, 50% believe that increasing taxes will harm the economy while just 19% disagree.(ed. define cognitive dissonance)
Despite this, 48% would vote for a candidate who promised to raise taxes only on the rich while 41% would vote for a candidate who opposed all tax increases. This clearly reflects the importance of tax fairness rather than a simple focus on economic growth. Voters believe taxes are far more likely to go up with a President Obama rather than a President McCain . However, Obama continuously repeats his claim that he would not raise taxes on anybody making less than $250,000 annually. As a result, neither candidate has a significant advantage when it comes to voter trust on the tax issue.
I do love this idea of "tax fairness", especially since everyone thinks they know how everyone else should be taxed: my legitimate deductions are your tax shields. You received tax breaks because you're politically well connected and gaming the system; I need the tax breaks to live.
There will never be a rational tax policy now that <50% of Americans pay income taxes.