(EDITOR’S NOTE, 3/28/19, 4:24 PM ET: A previous version of this story had the headline “Majority in Fox News Poll Say They’re Angriest About Rich Not Being Taxed Enough.” The headline has since been corrected to more adequately state that a plurality of those polled supported taxing the rich.)
Americans on all sides of the political spectrum support taxing the rich, and want the rich to be taxed more. Even those polled by Fox News.
A recent Fox News poll about taxes, conducted between March 17 and March 20, asked respondents “what bothers you most when paying taxes?” The choices were fivefold: Rich Are Not Paying Enough, Way Govt Spends Our Taxes, Too Many Don’t Have To Pay, Amount You Pay, and Complexity of System & Forms.
The far-and-away biggest bother for those Fox News polled was the fact that the rich aren’t paying enough in taxes, with 34 percent choosing that option. Even when accounting for the three percent margin of error, taxing the rich remained the most popular option, ranking six points higher than the next most popular choice (Way Govt Spends Our Taxes).
Media Matters’ Lis Power remarked on how Fox News host Bill Hemmer was perplexed by the results, and brought on a commentator to “make sense” of the poll results.
“Tax the rich is popular,” Fox Business host Charles Payne begrudgingly admitted, before commenting that he was more in favor of trickle-down policies that concentrated more money at the top.
“I’d rather see that money remain in the hands of private citizens,” Payne said.
Poor Bill Hemmer is just utterly confused by this
Hemmer: 'New Fox polling showing voters are bothered by the rich not paying enough more than they care about their own tax rate. Did you get that? Let's bring in someone who can make sense of this' pic.twitter.com/3RUd9jkerE
— Lis Power (@LisPower1) March 28, 2019
The top tax rate for America’s wealthiest citizens has steadily decreased over the last several decades. While Republican presidents Eisenhower and Nixon governed with top marginal tax rates of at least 70 percent, it was eventually reduced to just 28 percent under Ronald Reagan. Democrat Bill Clinton raised the top rate to 39.6 percent, but his successor George W. Bush cut that top marginal tax rate to 35 percent for rich Americans. And even though that top rate went back to 39.6 percent under former President Barack Obama, President Trump again slashed it to 37 percent.
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) has proposed raising the top marginal tax rate back to 70 percent. A January poll conducted by The Hill and HarrisX found that 59 percent of Americans (including 45 percent of Republicans) supported the proposal. However, there hasn’t yet been an official vote in favor of raising the top marginal tax rate as of this writing.
Carl Gibson is a politics contributor for Grit Post. His work has previously been published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Houston Chronicle, Al-Jazeera America, and NPR, among others. Follow him on Twitter @crgibs or send him an email at carl at gritpost dot com.