U.S. voters’ confidence in the economy is the highest is has been in four years, according to the latest Gallup poll. Despite high gas prices, economic confidence is one point higher than the highest weekly level Gallup has seen since January 2008.
It could be good news for President Barack Obama, Gallup says, as higher economic confidence is usually tied to higher presidential approval ratings. “Relatively small gains in economic confidence from here on out could send the president’s approval rating above 50 percent, much improving his chances for re-election,” the report said.
GOP presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney laid out his tax plans between cracking jokes with Jay Leno on the Tonight Show Tuesday night, saying he would make it easier for U.S. companies with overseas operations to reinvest their profits in the United States, lower the corporate tax rate to 25 percent and create jobs.
“So how do you create a tax code that encourages small businesses to hire? The answer is that you bring down the marginal rates at the same time you get rid of some exemptions and deductions, or you limit them, so that you stay with a code that’s progressive. But you bring down those top tax rates, you get rid of some of those special deals and by doing that you encourage investment and hiring of American workers,” Romney said.
“Did you know that 54 percent of American workers in the private sector work in businesses that are taxed at the individual tax rate, not the corporate tax rate? So when the president says he wants to raise that tax rate from 35 to 40 percent, he’ll kill jobs and small business,” he said. “I want to take that tax rate and bring it down to 28 percent so we can create more jobs.” Romney also ran through his policy positions on healthcare, Russian relations, and Afghanistan.
Campaigning in Maryland, Newt Gingrich criticized the state’s proposed 6 percent gas tax increase, saying the plan “shows as much political insensitivity as you can imagine” (DelmarvaDaily). Gingrich said his plan for $2.50 gas would be undermined in Maryland if the tax was approved. “Given everybody’s concerns about the price of gasoline, to have an effort made to raise the gas prices 25 cents a gallon strikes me as being very, very, anti-every day, working American,” he said. Maryland’s governor proposed the tax among other measures as a way to combat the state’s rising transportation costs.
The Gingrich campaign also said late Tuesday it is scaling back on staff and travel and becoming “more positive and ideas-focused” (Politico) between now and the August convention in Tampa.
— Gayle S. Putrich, Contributing Editor