COMPAS Poll/Survey

Billionaire Warren Buffett’s call for higher taxes on higher income earners triggered a firestorm of conflict among politicians. Supporting Buffett, who was echoing President Obama, liberal Democrats reiterated calls for higher taxes on higher income earners as a potential solution to the U.S. fiscal crunch.

Conservative commentators responded with fury, seeing the call for higher taxes as a smokescreen for creating more tax loopholes for friends of the ruling Democrats. Some conservatives called for no increase in taxes. Other conservatives called for an increase in revenue that would be made possible by lowering rates while eliminating loopholes. Whether favouring or opposing higher revenue, conservatives generally advocated removal of loopholes.

Some conservatives saw Buffett’s call for higher taxes as hypocrisy because he had shown his own limited confidence in government by donating his fortune to the Gates Foundation instead of the Internal Revenue Service.

The CEOs and business leaders on the COMPAS panel were asked where they stood in this epochal conflict. The panel took sides—both sides:

  • Siding with American liberals by a 4:1 margin, panelists favour higher tax rates on high income earners. Panelists saw Buffett’s call for higher taxes on high income earners as wise and courageous, not hypocritical; meanwhile,
  • Siding with American conservatives, panelists oppose by a more than 6:1 margin raising tax rates without first removing loopholes, “the real problem.” By a more than 2:1 margin, they believe that revenue would actually increase if rates were lowered and loopholes removed.

These are the key findings from this past week’s Internet survey of CEOs and business leaders on the COMPAS panel. The weekly business survey is undertaken for Canadian Business magazine.

View / Download complete poll in PDF Click here to download this survey as a PDF