In Defying the Odds, we discuss the tax issue in the 2016 campaign.
As previous posts have noted, "tax reform" will be hard. Most of the benefits would flow to the top twenty percent, in part because 44 percent of households pay no income tax at all. Most lawmakers have no direct experience with comprehensive tax reform. The current process is at least nine months behind the pace of the 1985-86 bill, which was a close-run thing even then. Trump is unpopular, and so are major "reform" proposals.
Virtually no one in the United States believes that taxes on corporations and wealthy individuals should be cut. In one recent Gallup survey, just 9 percent of respondents said corporations paid too much in taxes, while 67 percent said they paid too little; for “upper income people,” those figures were 10 and 63, respectively.
But even these numbers fail to convey the dearth of public demand for the Republican Party’s tax “reform” effort. Voters don’t merely lack enthusiasm for cutting taxes on the rich and powerful — most don’t even see a need for their taxes to be cut. In April, Gallup found 61 percent of Americans saying that their current income-tax burden is “fair” — the highest that figure has been at any point since 2009. Meanwhile, even those who believe that they deserve a tax cut don’t (generally) see such a measure as worth prioritizing: Last month, a Bloomberg poll found that less than 5 percent of Americans believe tax policy is the “most important issue facing the country” — less than half the percentage that picked climate change.