64% of US Adults Want the Government To Tax the Rich

Two people talking in a coffee shop
•••

kali9 / Getty Images

A majority of U.S. adults—64%—support raising taxes on the country’s wealthiest people, according to a survey from The Balance on President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better (BBB) plan. Sixty-three percent of those surveyed say they agree with a specific BBB policy proposal that would impose a 5% increase in taxes on people earning more than $10 million. The White House has said that taxing the rich would be one way to help fund the president’s economic agenda, as it would lower the deficit, fight inflation, and fund social programs to help those in the U.S. with middle and lower incomes.

Key Takeaways

  • Among U.S. adults surveyed by The Balance, 64% support raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans.
  • Roughly three-quarters of U.S. adults believe the middle class should receive tax breaks.
  • Increasing taxes on the biggest corporations is also a policy that received support, with 63% of those surveyed backing the measure.

And while survey respondents said they support raising taxes on the country’s wealthiest, they also want to cut taxes for middle-income Americans. Nearly three-quarters (74%) of those surveyed said they believe the government should provide tax breaks for middle-income Americans, or households that earn roughly between $50,000 and $150,000.

When asked about tax reform proposals as part of the president’s Build Back Better plan, raising taxes on millionaires and the country’s most profitable companies received the greatest support, while taxing companies that buy back stocks from investors received the least (53%). 

A 5% tax increase on those earning $10 million or more received more support from respondents who said their political beliefs lean liberal, with 72% supporting the measure, according to the survey. Still, 57% of respondents who said their political beliefs lean conservative also support the measure. Across the board, tax reform policies received majority support from both liberal and conservative survey respondents.

In addition to raising taxes on the wealthy and the largest businesses, Biden’s Build Back Better plan also includes measures to increase investment in the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to pursue high-income tax evaders, increase federal deductions for state and local taxes (SALT), and close loopholes affecting cryptocurrency. More than half of survey respondents showed support for all three policies.

Though our survey showed a majority of U.S. adults support increased taxes on millionaires and billionaires, there were generational divides. Gen Z (aged 18 to 25) was the least likely to support tax reforms in the Build Back Better plan, with Gen X (aged 42 to 57) not far behind.

In an interesting twist that may seem counterintuitive, our survey found that respondents with an annual income of $100,000 or more showed more support for tax measures in the BBB plan than those with incomes of less than $50,000.

Nearly 70% of high-income earners support a 5% increase in taxes on millionaires, and 73% said they’re more likely to support closing loopholes on cryptocurrency. Over 70% back increased investment in the IRS so it can pursue tax evaders earning more than $400,000. High-income earners also showed more support for the proposals to tax corporations on foreign profits and companies that buy back stocks from investors.

President Biden has said that the Build Back Better plan would be funded through these tax increases on wealthy Americans and large businesses. And in his latest budget proposal, Biden put forward a minimum income tax of 20% on people with incomes of more than $100 million, plus an increased tax rate for top earners in the U.S. Americans earning $400,000 or less wouldn’t see tax increases, the White House said.

Taxing the wealthiest Americans would help fund the administration’s economic priorities, like fighting inflation, decreasing the deficit, and increasing investment in social programs like subsidized child care and affordable education that aim to help households with lower incomes.

Methodology

The Balance surveyed 1,800 U.S. adults (aged 18+) from Feb. 8 to Feb. 13, 2022. The survey was fielded online via a self-administered questionnaire to an opt-in panel of respondents from a market research vendor. Respondents were required to be eligible to vote to qualify. Quotas were used to ensure national representation for generation, gender, race/ethnicity, and region using estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau 2019 American Community Survey as a benchmark.

Research and analysis by
Adrian Nesta
Adrian Nesta, Research Analyst on the Data Journalism team at Dotdash
Full Bio
Adrian Nesta is a research analyst on the Data Journalism team at Dotdash, the digital publisher that owns and operates The Balance. His work includes data collection, cleaning, analysis, and visualization for stories in the data journalism portfolio across every vertical at Dotdash.
Learn about our editorial policies
Additional research by
Amanda Morelli
Amanda Morelli, Director of Brand and Market Insights at Dotdash
Full Bio
Amanda Morelli is the senior director of data journalism at Dotdash (The Balance's parent company), and she oversees development of data journalism projects for publications across the company. She designs and executes original research and analysis, and identifies opportunities and strategies for exploration.
Learn about our editorial policies

Article Sources