Many Republicans Want to Raise Taxes on Wealthy Americans

“Always click the link” — Kevin Drum

In his latest Op-ed Paul Krugman wrote ” Americans overwhelmingly believe that the wealthy pay less than their fair share of taxes, and even Republicans are closely divided on the issue.”

I would have guessed that a majority of rank and file Republicans agree with all Republican presidential candidates who propose lower takes on the wealthy (while also being confident this isn’t a key issue to rank and file Republicans). So I clicked the link to a Pew Research poll write up written by Bruce Drake and found


Republicans are much more likely than Democrats to say that they want to completely overhaul the U.S. tax system. Two-thirds (66%) of Republicans said in a February survey that the tax system should be completely changed, compared with 48% of Democrats. Among top complaints voiced by Republicans were that some corporations don’t pay their fair share (52%) and that some of the wealthy don’t, either (45%) – numbers substantially lower than among Democrats sharing those criticisms. About half of Republicans (53%) also said they are bothered “a lot” by the complexity of the tax system.

However, Republicans are more divided on whether they would support a candidate who wants to raise taxes on wealthy Americans. About three-in-ten (31%) Republicans said they would be more likely to back a candidate who wants to raise taxes on the wealthy, 34% said they would be less likely to support one, and 34% said it was not a factor, according to a September survey.

Yep they are divided. Look at that 31% of “Republican and Republican-leaning voters” say they would be more likely to back a candidate who wants to raise taxes on the wealthy. Clearly either they are totally confused or this isn’t a key issue to them; otherwise they wouldn’t be Republican or Republican-leaning.

The overwhelming power money (and I suppose their personal ideology) has on Republican politicians is demonstrated by their fanatical devotion to tax cuts for the wealthy when their own supporters are as divided on the issue as divided can be.

On the other hand, I don’t have as high an opinion of the something else in the op-ed. Krugman correctly notes that economic performance is better under Democratic presidents, but he cites the famous but late Alan Blinder and Mark Watson who have “circulated” not published a paper, when he should have cited AngryBear Mike Kimel and co-author Michael Kanell who have written and published a book on the topic.

This shows an unfortunate aspect of the economics profession (and I’d guess all professions) the standing of authors is at least as important as evidence and logic.

On the other other hand, it is admirable that Krugman admits that he has (almost) no clue as to why the economy performs better under Democrats and doesn’t promise that the pattern will continue to hold.