Polling the Nomenclature: It's a 'Tax Increase'

Another bit from the Crossroads GPS poll on the Bush tax cuts: People think that allowing the tax cuts to expire does indeed equal a "tax increase."

As is common to political debates, there's a current dispute over nomenclature. Republicans refer to the expiration of Bush-instituted tax rates as a "tax increase" levied upon income above $250,000, while Democrats refer to renewing those rates it as a "tax cut" gifted to the rich.

These descriptions do not overlap, at least in the minds of Washington-based partisans.

From the clashing definitions flow real logical arguments. For instance, Republicans see no reason to cut spending to offset the "cost" of preserving current tax rates, because, to them, the lost potential revenue of a "tax hike" isn't really being lost, it never existed, and the term "cost" doesn't apply.

A fair-minded person can see it both ways. In one-sense, the tax rates on certain income levels would go up, which sounds like a tax hike. In another, those present rates were prescribed to expire under the natural course of the Bush-instituted tax code, and it takes extra action on the part of Congress to lower next year's rates, which sounds quite a bit like a cut.

According to Crossroads GPS's Nov. 29 - Dec. 2 survey of 1,000 likely voters (margin of error 3.1 percent), Republicans win on the lexicological front:

Tax nomenclature - GPS poll.png

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Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

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