The president on Thursday cited a recent Gallup poll that purportedly shows, in his words, "80% want higher taxes" as part of a deal to slash the deficit. "The American people are sold," he said. "The problem is members of Congress are dug in ideologically."
In fact, a quick look at the polling data referenced by the president shows this isn't true. Not even close.
Gallup itself breaks it out: Those who say they want the deficit reduced "only/mostly with spending cuts" total 50% of those polled. Those who say they'd like it done "only/mostly with tax increases" total 11%. That's not 80%.
Americans aren't fools. Democrats just think they are. Whether its a $4 trillion "grand bargain" or a smaller $2.4 trillion cut in the expected $10 trillion in deficits over the next decade, if tax hikes are part of the deal it will sink the economy. Tax hikes are a nonstarter.
Americans see the explosion of $1 trillion-plus deficits stretching for decades to come, $107 trillion in unpaid bills for entitlements and a failed two-year Keynesian experiment that has pushed up federal spending by 25%. They know taxes didn't do this — spending did.
That's why Republicans should ignore Obama's demand for tax hikes. In our own IBD/TIPP Poll, 60% of Americans said they'd be "less likely" to vote for someone who supports increasing the debt ceiling without "major spending cuts." Heck, 58% said they either "somewhat" or "strongly" oppose raising the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling at all.
In our June poll, 74% of Americans opposed tax hikes as a way of getting out of our economic mess, while 80% also opposed more government spending.
Clearly, Americans want spending cuts, not tax hikes. Other polls confirm this. A new Rasmussen poll shows 55% oppose higher taxes, even as part of a deal with Democrats to raise the debt ceiling.
With tepid 1.9% GDP growth, 9.2% unemployment, rising core inflation, a slumping dollar, a weakening manufacturing base, declining consumer confidence and a frightened small-business sector, no responsible politician would seek tax hikes topping $1 trillion. But that's just what Obama and the Democrats did.
Obama says the GOP plan to cut the deficit with spending cuts — not tax hikes — "doesn't seem serious to me." Well, he'll see how serious it is this week, after the GOP puts forward what it calls "cut, cap and balance."
That is, "cut" $100 billion from the budget now, "cap" spending at 18.5% of GDP (vs. the current 25%) and pass a balanced-budget amendment. This would require serious cuts and put us back on a sound fiscal footing.
Obama & Co. had total control for two years during which they could have passed their own budget, with tax hikes. They didn't. Now they want the GOP to do their dirty work. Republicans should just say no.