Confused on Taxes but Still Hate 'em

Americans aren't too smart when sizing up our personal tax burden, but we know we don't want more.

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Americans aren't too smart when sizing up our personal tax burden, but we know we don't want more. A new poll from the Winston Group finds that most of us think we pay just 27 percent of our income in taxes, think we should pay just 18 percent, and want the rich to cough up 27 percent. Fact is, says David Winston, when you add up all your federal, state, local, phone, gas, sales, and other taxes and fees, the typical bill is higher, over 30 percent. But one thing the poll found is that we're dead set against new taxes, especially during the downturn. By a 71-to-27 percent margin, Americans say now is not the time to raise taxes. A larger majority feels that if Congress doesn't rush to extend the 2001 tax cuts, taxes will surge. "They are looking at their overall costs, gas, phone, food, and they're getting infuriated," says Winston, who polls for the GOP. His advice to the party: Pledge to hold the line on taxes—and mean it.