Two key pillars of President-elect Donald Trump’s economic plans are lower taxes and regulations; these have been the twin pillars of the Republican economic policy for decades. While people sort of like the ideas, they are not enthusiastic of the what this actually means.
The clear majority of the population (77 percent to 17 percent), and even Trump voters (75 percent to 21 percent), want to raise taxes on income over $250,000 (we have mentioned this before, but it worth mentioning again and again). Trump’s published tax plan is even more generous to high income earners than Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s; with Trump’s plan top income earners have their marginal tax rate cut from 39.6 percent to 25 percent, while households in the median income range would drop from 25 percent to 20 percent.
Yet, Trump voters voted for him in part because they believed his speeches, not his plan. Trump voters believe (75 percent to 25 percent) that with Trump’s tax plan the percent of income paid to taxes will fall more for the middle class than the rich (Clinton voters were 33 percent to 67 percent in the other direction). Despite what his tax plan actually says it will do, Trump kept promising that his tax plan was all about the middle class. And, the incoming Secretary of the Treasury explicitly stated that there will be no tax cut for the rich, just the middle class. If Trump and Congress pass a tax plan that looks like his tax plan, he may be in trouble, because it will be unpopular and his supporters expect him to do something else.
On corporate and inheritance taxes the people are more split. 38 percent favor cutting the corporate income tax rate with 51 percent opposed. Clinton voters are 24 percent for and 67 percent again, but Trump voters are 55 percent favor and 37 percent against. The one tax that people actually want to cut, is only inflicted on the uber-wealthy. 59 percent of people favor cutting the inheritance tax, including 44 percent of Clinton supporters and 77 percent of Trump supporters. This result holds even when we note, in the question, that the law currently exempts estates less than $10.9 million.
Rolling back regulations is reasonably popular with 50 percent favoring and 34 percent opposing; there is a strong partisan split with 25 percent of Clinton supporters and 75 percent of Trump supporters in favor. But, neither rolling back environmental nor financial regulations are very popular. It is unclear exactly what regulation cuts would be popular.
How do you feel about rolling back environmental regulation on drilling for natural resources: 45 percent favor, 40 percent oppose, and 15 percent do not know. 69 percent of Trump supporters favor, 59 percent of Clinton supporters oppose. This is somewhat popular, but less popular than the idea of rolling back regulations.
How do you feel about the eliminating Dodd-Frank (financial regulations enacted after “great recession”): 33 percent favor, 30 percent oppose, and 37 percent do not know. 46 percent of Trump voters favor this, but just 24 percent of Clinton voters. This is not popular at all, but with a high do not know response.
How do you feel about Consumer Financial Protection Bureau maintaining its enforcement power over big banks: 65 percent favor with just 14 opposing. Clinton voters at 72 percent are not much higher than Trump voters at 65% percent. The CFPB had a huge victory just a few months ago by catching Wells Fargo creating masses of fake accounts, but the Trump administration has made noise about eliminating its power.
The vast majority of people, 84 percent to 8 percent support forcing the government to balance the budget every year. If Trump follows through with his plan to slash taxes (mainly for the high income earners), protect the social saftey net (which Ryan and Congress want to cut), and increasing defense spending, the budget will explode, not balance, and no amount of rolling back regulations is going to change that math.
Tobias Konitzer is a PhD candidate in communication at Stanford University. Find him on Twitter @KonitzerTobias.
Sam Corbett-Davies is a PhD candidate at Stanford University in computer science. Find him on Twitter @scorbettdavies.
David Rothschild is an economist at Microsoft Research. Find him on Twitter @DavMicRot.