More Americans Like Higher Taxes on Wealthy over Punishing the Unemployed to Pay for Payroll Tax

February 18, 2012, 3:35 PM GMT+0

More Americans Like Higher Taxes on Wealthy over Punishing the Unemployed to Pay for Payroll Tax, Unemployment Benefit and Medicare Doctors’-Reimbursement Compromise

Congress succeeded in reaching a compromise on extending the payroll tax cut through the end of 2012 before the February 29 deadline for the payroll tax cut’s demise, and also extended unemployment benefits and higher reimbursements for doctors treating Medicare patients, according to the latest Economist/YouGov Poll (Week of 2/11/2012). Good thing: 60% of Americans are satisfied or enthusiastic about the current 4.2% payroll tax rate, and 54% would have been dissatisfied or angry to see the rate increase to the old 6.2% rate on March 1.

Congress reached a compromise by putting off for another day the harder work of finding a way to pay for the $93.2 billion the extension of the payroll tax break costs, out of a total cost for the whole package of $145 billion for the payroll ax. How would Americans pay for it? Three out of seven options offered in the poll win majority support: 61% support raising taxes on those making over a million dollars a year, 50% support raising Medicare premiums paid by wealthy individuals, and 50% support a proposal to let states require drug testing as a condition for receiving unemployment benefits.

When it comes to higher taxes for million-a-year earners, 77% of Democrats but only 35% of Republicans support that. Independents (68%) are on Democrats’ side on that.

When it comes to allowing states to drug-test unemployment check recipients, 70% of Republicans but only 36% of Democrats are on board. Independents (53%) agree with Republicans on that.

One thing few support: When it comes to requiring unemployment check recipients to have a high school diploma or be enrolled in a diploma-equivalent program, 42% of Republicans, 37% of Independents and 27% of Democrats support that.

Economist/YouGov poll archives can be found here

Photo source: Press Association

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