Only 12 percent of the public say that the Obama administration has lowered their taxes since coming to office, despite the fact that the White House's stimulus package cut taxes for 95 percent of Americans, a new opinion survey found.
The rather remarkable number was part of a CBS/New York Times poll released on Friday and provides a somewhat dispiriting window into how the recession has altered political preceptions throughout the country. A tax cut of historic nature, passed by Congress last winter, has yielded few political benefits (and, some economists would argue, few economic ones as well).
In addition, the CBS/NYT poll found that 24 percent of respondents said that their taxes had actually increased under the Obama administration -- which is, again, not true. Fifty-three percent said their taxes stayed the same.
Pressed on these findings, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs largely skirted questions at his Friday press briefing about whether the administration had done a poor job selling its economic agenda to the public. Instead, he argued that the stimulus package had helped individuals in ways they could not tangibly see.
"I'd say [your pollsters] called the wrong people," Gibbs told CBS's Mark Knoller. "I think what happened and one of the things that I think will go through this bipartisan jobs process is state and local aid. If you look at last month's jobs report, the number of state and local government jobs lost was 41,000 out of that monthly jobs report. Because, I think in many cases, and you see now, too, the importance of something like state and local aid because, as bad as state budgets were last year, they're actually worse this year. So I think even as people may or may not have felt that the government failed them, they may have gotten something different from their state and local government in order to make up for a collective budget shortfall among the 50 states in something that exceeded $125 billion. So look, I think that...is it part of the frustration...95 percent of local people saw their taxes cut last year."
"What percent?" Knoller interjected.
"Ninety-five," said Gibbs. "But apparently only 12 percent felt it."