Paul L. Caron

Friday, May 28, 2010

What Do Americans Think About Taxes?

Tax AnalystsKarlyn Bowman (American Enterprise Institute) has published What Do Americans Think About Taxes? An Update, 127 Tax Notes 917 (May 24, 2010):

This article ... examines changes in attitudes toward taxes and the deficit since President Obama took office.


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A lot of instability in those numbers. The differentials swing wildly from month to month. Given that April is tax month, it's a fair assumption that there are exogenous variables at work that skew those numbers in one direction or the other. So, let's throw out that April 2009 and April 2010 numbers and look at what the differentials have done:

July 2009 +2
September 2009 -12
October 2009 +6
November 2009 -4
December 2009 +2
January 2010 -4
March 2010 +1

You would get a gently negative slope if you graphed these results, but it probably would not be a statistically significant number. It is certainly not as stark as the "from +19 to -10" headline that Instapundit is running, using the two April extremes.

Posted by: Harald | May 28, 2010 2:07:40 PM

And we haven't even gotten to the point where taxes have actually been raised yet, to pay for all these Trillions of "stimulus" spending.

Can't wait to see this in a year or two.

Posted by: Sean | May 28, 2010 2:21:59 PM

That's because most people took him at his word about limiting spending and not raising taxes before he was elected, and he's since proceeded to show the entire country how naive they were for doing so. I can only assume the remaining 41% are not competent to manage their own finances, or maybe don't pay any taxes themselves and think other people's taxes going up is just fine.

Posted by: jvon | May 28, 2010 2:23:35 PM

The blatant waste of taxes is what I resent ... not the need, in the great scheme of things. for taxes themselves.

It is a matter of deep trust that our taxes are and will be used appropriately.

When they are just thrown freely at things that are political and agenda driven, then shotguns come to mind as a remedy.

Posted by: sagi | May 28, 2010 2:30:38 PM

Harald: "Exogenous variables" in April? Like, maybe, people actually paying attention to their tax liabilities and being really unhappy? I would call that an entirely endogenous variable. Throwing the April figures out of the analysis reminds me of the old, sad joke: "Aside from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?"

As many before me have suggested, our country's tax policy would be much more sensible if election day were on April 16th.

Posted by: MochaLite | May 28, 2010 4:21:35 PM

Well, Obamacare passed in late March, possibly after the polling was done. Its easy to see that causing an 8% drop in April 2010.

Posted by: MickBoom | May 28, 2010 9:00:03 PM

Was there an event that corresponded with the sharp drop off in September?

Posted by: Noah Schwinghamer | May 29, 2010 1:12:15 PM