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Poll: Americans say raise taxes on the rich rather than cut programs for the poor

Take from the rich to feed the poor? That’s what looks good to most Americans when it comes to negotiations over the so-called fiscal cliff.

A recent Pew Research Center poll showed that a whopping 69 percent of people approve of President Barack Obama’s proposal to raise taxes on Americans making over $250,000 a year. And a majority, 58 percent, disapprove of fixing the country’s financial problems by reducing spending for programs for the poor.

A majority of Americans also disapproved of cutting defense spending (55 percent), raising the retirement age for Social Security and Medicare (56 percent), and limiting the home mortgage tax deduction (52 percent), all a bit lower than the percentage of people who are against cutting anti-poverty programs.

Incidentally, limiting the home mortgage tax deduction would likely affect those rich folks who people want to tax, not middle-class or poor homeowners. As we’ve mentioned before, most of the $131 billion that the federal government loses in the mortgage interest tax deduction goes to the richest 20 percent of Americans. In fact, the amount the government spends on the mortgage interest tax deduction is more than three and a half times what it spent this year for the entire U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development budget.

So, do you agree with this Pew poll? What’s the best way for America to avoid diving off the fiscal cliff?

Originally posted on Dec. 28, 2012 at Chicago Muckrakers