According to a new Pew Research/USA Today poll out today, President Obama has widespread approval for his program of increased taxation to go along with spending cuts. The American people understand that legislation to combat the deficit is required, although there is a major party gap: 81 percent of Republicans believe that major deficit legislation is necessary, while just 65 percent of Democrats do.
A full 76 percent of Americans said they would want spending cuts and tax increases as part of a package – Obama’s supposed “balanced plan,” even in the aftermath of massive tax increases that kicked into place at the end of 2012. But most Americans want the bulk of that “balanced plan” to be spending cuts; just 16 percent want mostly tax increases. Most importantly, even Republicans think that tax increases should be combined with spending cuts, rather than pursuing spending cuts alone, by a margin of 56 percent to 42 percent.
That’s a shocking statistic. The fact that Republicans have failed to convince their own base that taxes are already high enough, and that it’s time to cut, demonstrates their complete incompetence in public relations. That’s largely due to President Obama’s continuous campaign against spending cuts, and Republican discomfort with the sequester for which they voted.
By attempting to blame Obama for the sequester, Republicans have undercut their logic for cuts in the first place. Republicans, the American public believes, want to avoid the sequester, but are too stubborn to allow Obama just to ask the rich to pay their fair share. That’s because the GOP doesn’t know how to play chicken. Their basic strategy seems to be to put a gun to their temple, then threaten Democrats that unless they cave on taxes, Republicans will pull the trigger.
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the book “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).