The American people see higher taxes on the wealthy as important for both helping the economy, and helping create fairness.
By two-to-one (44% to 22%), the public says that raising taxes on incomes above $250,00o would help the economy rather than hurt it, while 24% say this would not make a difference. Moreover, an identical percentage (44%) says a tax increase on higher incomes would make the tax system more fair, while just 21% say it would make the system less fair.A majority of Democrats, of course, support the tax increase, but a healthy plurality of independents agree that it would make the economy stronger and make the tax system more fair. Only hard-core Republicans who are millionaires or think they're going to be someday are resisting the idea.
Standing tough on letting the tax cuts expire is just a no-brainer for Democrats. It takes a potential hostage in the end-of-the-year "fiscal cliff" negotiations away from Republicans, preventing a potentially disastrous grand bargain. It allows Congress to do what it does best—nothing. And they've got the public squarely behind them. Win-win.