Nothing about the federal tax system is especially pleasant: it requires a lot of forms, expends precious mental energy, and of course involves parting ways with your money. (Much of these frustrations are compounded by the fact that lobbyists for the lucrative tax preparation industry have fought to maintain the system's often needless complexity, in order to preserve demand for the industry's software and services.) But according to a new poll commissioned by The Washington Post, 53 percent of Democrats who were polled gave a favorable opinion of the federal tax system; 66 percent of Republicans find it unfavorable, as do 62 percent of independents. As Chris Cillizza and Sean Sullivan at the Post argue, the numbers reflect less the mechanics of the filing one's taxes and more the ideological underpinnings of a progressive tax code: "Democrats are broadly supportive of the idea that government can and should collect taxes in order to provide services for the American public while Republicans and independents are more skeptical about giving money to the federal government to spend."
Taxes remain a divisive issue, however — and not only along partisan fault lines. On balance, 43 percent of Democrats, 66 percent of Republicans, and 56 percent of all individuals contacted for the same Post poll said they disliked the federal tax system. As the chart below illustrates, these are pretty large disparities — but it's not as if zero Democrats share the opposing party's distaste for taxes. (Indeed, almost half of them do!)
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.