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Poll: Majority support tax hike for richest Americans

A Reuters/Ipsos poll released Friday found that most Americans think the rich should contribute more in taxes, as several Democratic presidential candidates push wealth taxes for multimillionaires and billionaires.

Sixty-four percent of respondents in the survey said that they agreed that “the very rich should contribute an extra share of their total wealth each year to support public programs.” Seventy-seven percent of Democrats agreed with this statement, as did 53 percent of Republicans.

In contrast, a majority of respondents, 54 percent, disagreed with the statement that “the very rich should be allowed to keep the money they have, even if that means increasing inequality.” Democrats and Republicans diverged on this question, with 71 percent of Democrats disagreeing with the statement but a majority of Republicans agreeing with it.

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Several Democratic presidential candidates, including progressive Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), have proposed taxes on wealthy Americans’ net worth in order to help combat inequality and raise revenue to pay for their spending priorities.

Polling has consistently found wealth taxes to have majority support. President Trump‘s tax-cut law, on the other hand, has not received widespread support in polls.

While wealth taxes have public support, they have been criticized by Republicans as well as by moderate Democrats. Critics of wealth taxes argue that they could be harmful to the economy, difficult to administer and potentially unconstitutional. 

Democratic presidential candidates who have been skeptical about wealth taxes back other ideas to increase taxes on the rich, such as increasing capital gains taxes and raising the top tax rate on individuals’ ordinary income.

Ipsos and Reuters surveyed 4,441 U.S. adults online between Dec. 17 and Dec. 23. The poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 1.7 percentage points.

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