New Poll: Support for Government Spending Drops When Americans Find Out Who Pays the Cost

Press ReleaseApril 16, 2021

Washington, D.C. (April 16, 2021)—According to a new Job Creators Network (JCN) poll conducted by Scott Rasmussen, many Americans predictably like “free stuff,” but those ideas become significantly less popular depending on who pays the cost. The national survey of registered voters comes amid a legislative battle over a series of “infrastructure” packages proposed by the Biden administration that will cost trillions of dollars—a price tag the White House wants to cover by raising taxes on small businesses, among others. While Biden’s infrastructure proposals may broadly cultivate high approval ratings, support is likely to drop when Americans realize the floated tax hikes will directly affect their wallets and potentially their jobs.

Among the hypothetical examples, respondents were asked if they would support raising tax rates on retirement investments for those who earn more than $400,000 per year to pay for government spending? Fifty-seven percent of respondents “strongly” or “somewhat” favored the idea. When the question was posed differently, asking if they would support a tax rate increase on their own retirement investments, only 26 percent of respondents favored the idea.

  • Overall, 57 percent of respondents favor levying more taxes on retirement investments for those making over $400,000 to cover increased government spending, while only 26 percent favor the idea for themselves.

  • Among Democrats, 78 percent of respondents favor levying more taxes on retirement investments for those making over $400,000 to cover increased government spending, while only 35 percent favor the idea for themselves.

  • Among suburban voters, 59 percent of respondents favor levying more taxes on retirement investments for those making over $400,000 to cover increased government spending, while only 21 percent favor the idea for themselves.

A similar dichotomy, but to a lesser degree, unfolds when asked about the government providing free vehicles and raising road toll prices. Download the crosstabs here.

Alfredo Ortiz, JCN President and CEO, released the following statement:

It’s no secret that everyone likes free stuff, but government “giveaways” are never free. The recently proposed infrastructure spending—much of which has nothing to do with roads or bridges—is no exception. To cover costs, Biden plans to institute higher taxes that will roll downhill to all Americans. If changes to the tax code don’t impact someone directly, the decline in job opportunities, slower wage growth or even a spike in prices at the checkout counter will. Americans don’t want to finance a government spending spree when it’s their money on the line.