The Republicans tell us that large majorities of Americans want to make major changes in Medicare and that they oppose raising taxes on the wealthy, preferring massive spending cuts instead. So, what is the truth? Paul Krugman in a recent article argues that the Republicans are the ones out of touch with the American people. He says, contrary to what Republicans say, large numbers of Americans favor higher taxes for the rich and no cuts to Medicare.
Politifact.com took a look at recent polls and found that Krugman is right. Here are the poll numbers, judge for yourself.
One the issue of raising taxes on Americans with incomes over $250,000 per year, this is what Americans said in three recent polls:
"In order to reduce the national debt, would you support or oppose raising taxes on Americans with incomes over 250 thousand dollars a year?" Support: 72 percent. Oppose: 27 percent. Unsure: 1 percent. (ABC News/Washington Post Poll. April 14-17, 2011)
"Do you support or oppose doing each of the following to deal with the federal budget deficit? … Increase taxes on income over $250,000." Support: 64 percent. Oppose: 33 percent. Unsure: 3 percent. (McClatchy-Marist Poll. April 10-14, 2011.)
"Now looking ahead to next year's federal budget, do you think it should or should not include higher taxes for families with household incomes of $250,000 and above?" Should: 59 percent. Should not: 37 percent. Unsure: 4 percent. (USA Today/Gallup Poll. April 11, 2011.)
On the issue of making major changes in Medicare, this is what Americans said in recent polls:
"In order to reduce the national debt, would you support or oppose cutting spending on Medicare, which is the government health insurance program for the elderly?" Oppose: 78 percent. Support: 21 percent. Unsure: 1 percent. (ABC News/Washington Post Poll. April 14-17, 2011.)
"I'm going to read you two statements about the future of the Medicare program. After I read both statements, please tell me which one comes closer to your own view. Medicare should remain as it is today, with a defined set of benefits for people over 65. OR, Medicare should be changed so that people over 65 would receive a check or voucher from the government each year for a fixed amount they can use to shop for their own private health insurance policy." Should remain as is: 65 percent. Should be changed: 34 percent. Unsure: 2 percent. (Also from the ABC News/Washington Post Poll. April 14-17, 2011.)
"Do you think the government should completely overhaul Medicare to control the cost of the program, make major changes to Medicare but not completely overhaul it, make minor changes to Medicare, or should the government not try to control the costs of Medicare?" Not try to control costs: 27 percent. Minor changes: 34 percent. Major changes: 18 percent. Completely overhaul: 13 percent. Unsure: 8 percent. (USA Today/Gallup Poll. April 11, 2011.)
"In order to reduce the federal budget deficit, would you be willing or not willing to reduce spending on Medicare, the government health insurance program for seniors?" Not willing: 76 percent. Willing: 22 percent. Don't know/No answer: 2 percent. (CBS News Poll. March 18-21, 2011.)
"Do you think it will be necessary to cut spending on Medicare, the federal government health care program for seniors, in order to significantly reduce the federal budget deficit?" No: 54 percent. No opinion: 27 percent. Yes: 18 percent. Not sure: 1 percent. (NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll. Feb. 24-26, 2011.)
"For each (government program), please tell me if you think significantly cutting the funding is totally acceptable, mostly acceptable, mostly unacceptable, totally unacceptable: Medicare." Totally unacceptable: 46 percent. Mostly unacceptable: 30 percent. Mostly acceptable: 16 percent. Totally acceptable: 7 percent. Unsure: 1 percent. (Also from NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll. Feb. 24-26, 2011.)
Enough said. Tell your Republican friends; they are the ones out of touch—way out of touch. And, they are going to find out just how out of touch they are in November 2012. Bring it on.