As debate continues over how to fund a more than $2 trillion infrastructure package proposed by President Joe Biden, Republicans are warning that if taxes are raised for corporations and the wealthy, they will simply lower them again when they get back into political power.
If Republicans do, indeed, attempt to carry through with that threat, they will have to contend with the ire of the American public. Several polls suggest that Americans would not support such a move by the GOP, especially since the groups affected would be corporations, which have been known to pay fewer taxes than average individuals in some cases, and the extremely wealthy.
Biden’s plan for funding his infrastructure bill calls on raising corporate taxes to 28 percent. That’s higher than the current rate, which sits at 21 percent, but still significantly lower than their former level of 35 percent prior to the 2017 tax cuts that were implemented under President Donald Trump.
Biden is also suggesting that another big spending package of his, the American Families Plan, which would provide significant educational and financial aid to millions of families across the country, should be funded by raising the top income tax rate to 39.6 percent, keeping in line with his 2020 campaign pledge not to raise taxes on anyone earning less than $400,000 annually.
Republicans are framing those increases on taxes for the rich as being bad for the economy — a premise that is not supported by data — and thus being bad for Americans overall.
Sen. Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina) said that the increases in taxation rates that Biden is proposing would come “at the worst possible time,” as the nation is still recovering from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) has also stated that Republicans would simply “get rid of” tax increases once they’re able to do so.
Paul acknowledged his party would “have to have all three branches of government” in order to do that — a difficult endeavor, considering most Americans don’t want the kind of tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations that were passed by Republicans under Trump, and which Biden is trying to reverse, in part.
Polling from Quinnipiac University last month showed that 44 percent of Americans backed Biden’s infrastructure plan based on what it planned to do. But support for that plan shot up by 9 points, to 53 percent, when it included tax increases on corporations as a means of funding it.
There’s also evidence that Americans overall are more likely to support raising taxes on corporations and wealthy income earners than they are to oppose such calls.
A Pew Research poll in April asked respondents about issues that they might consider “bothersome” when it comes to the U.S. tax code. Fifty-nine percent said that corporations not paying their “fair share” of taxes bothered them a lot, with another 22 percent saying it bothered them some. Only 18 percent said corporate tax rates didn’t bother them much or at all.
When it came to wealthy income earners, the numbers were almost the same: 59 percent said rich people not paying their “fair share” bothered them a lot, with 21 percent saying it bothered them some. Only 19 percent said they weren’t bothered much or at all by the tax rates for the wealthy.
Some Democratic strategists welcomed the comments from Senator Paul, noting that polling in the past has generally shown the Trump tax cuts have gotten a negative rating from American voters.
“If Republicans want to run for election by doubling down on more tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, more power to them,” said Dan Pfeiffer, a former adviser to President Barack Obama, in an email to NBC News. “The 2017 tax bill is the single worst polling piece of legislation that I have seen in my career. Good luck running on it again.”