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April 18 2016

A Growing Number of Women and Millennials Say Taxes are Too High

Patrice J. Lee

Gas may not too be darn high, but taxes are. That’s the gist of Gallup’s latest polling of Americans’ views on taxes as the federal tax filing deadline is upon us.

Nearly six in ten Americans (57 percent) say they pay too much in federal income taxes, which is six percentage points higher than last year and is the highest percentage in 15 years. This is still below far below 1969’s all-time high of 69 percent (Gallup polling dates back to the mid-1950s). However, when President George W. Bush gave us all a major tax cut in 2001, it put a lot of money back in our pockets and stimulated the economy. Not surprisingly, Americans began to feel like taxes weren’t so bad with almost half saying it was just the right level before the Great Recession.

Only 37 percent of Americans say they are paying about the right amount and less than 5 percent say they pay too little.

When we look at demographics of politics, gender and age we see interesting trends. Ten percent more Republicans said they are paying too much compared with only a three-percentage-point increase among Democrats who feel the same way.

A growing majority of women who think they are paying too much in taxes is on the rise. That amount jumped 11 percentage points to 58 percent. Meanwhile, men stayed about the same level of 55 percent.

Most interesting are young people. According to Gallup, those under 30 years old tend to hold Democratic views and those above 65 typically hold Republican views. However, this year a majority of those under 30 (55 percent) feel they pay too much tax and the percentage of those over 65 who say they pay too much fell from 46 percent to 39 percent. It’s possible that we’re seeing the aging of Millennials moving us into different life phases and earning levels where young people are starting to shoulder heavier tax burdens while our parents (and grandparents) are shouldering less.

Gallup explains that our high level of dissatisfaction is a continuation of recent trends:

In looking at this year's increase in the number of people who think they pay the federal government too much in income taxes, it's important to remember that it comes after a period of historically low unhappiness with tax payments. The 57% who this year say they pay too much is only one point higher than the 56% average for the 43 times Gallup has asked the question.

The change in views on tax payments, and the fact that they align so closely with the historic average, raises the question of whether this year's results are simply an adjustment back toward attitudes of the past. The political season ahead should provide some answers as, almost certainly, the Republican nominee will push for tax cuts while the Democratic nominee will emphasize the unfairness of the current tax laws and call for tax hikes for the rich.

If we are readjusting back toward attitudes of the past perhaps it is time for another round of major stimulatory tax cuts that free up resources for American families. With more money in our purses for the grocery store, hard-working families don’t have to feel as thinly stretched.

Another rationale for tax cuts is that millennials, who need more money in our pockets as we start families and hit generational milestones that include making big purchases, have high student loan debt that eats up our discretionary income. Tax cuts would go a long way for us right now.

Sadly, the Obama Administration is least concerned about easing burdens on working-class Americans and families. His policies make us expensive to hire, force our employers to keep our wages lower, and take more out of our paychecks. It’s no wonder we’re increasingly disgruntled with taxes.

IIndependent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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