Coronavirus crisis Research: High-income others more reluctant to offset the costs of the interest rate crisis with tax increases

Income levels and political stance are reflected in what kind of social action is supported in the midst of the interest rate crisis, according to a recent report.

Finns are widely aware of the severity of the coronavirus crisis and the economic problems brought about by the corona. At the same time, citizens disagree on what kind of policy action should solve the problems.

This is evident from the report to be published on Tuesday Citizens in the midst of the interest rate crisis, what political action is supported?

The report, based on a survey conducted in autumn 2020, shows that income levels and policy positions are clearly reflected in the kind of social action supported in the midst of the interest rate crisis: for example, supporting companies and raising taxes have their own supporters.

According to the survey a clear majority, or 70 percent of respondents, considered the coronavirus to be a serious threat to the world’s population. In addition, two out of three considered that the economy and employment should also be a concern when the coronavirus is curbed.

There was less consensus on how to mitigate the economic impact.

For example, the survey asked whether citizens would be willing to pay more taxes to deal with the decline caused by the coronavirus.

The results show that the willingness to pay is strongly differentiated according to the party population. The greatest willingness to raise taxes was among the supporters of the Left Alliance, the Greens and the SDP. In these parties, a clear majority was willing to pay more taxes.

The most obvious opposition was in the Coalition Party and the basic Finns. Only 16 per cent of basic Finns and 30 per cent of Coalition Finns would be willing to pay additional taxes.

Among all respondents, the result was divided in two. 42% would not and 40% would be willing to pay additional taxes to cover costs.

In terms of income, high-income earners are more reluctant to pay higher taxes than low- or middle-income earners.

Of high-income earners, 33 per cent were prepared to raise taxes, compared with 43 per cent of low-income earners. Among middle-income earners, 45 percent of respondents were in favor of additional taxes.

High-income earners were the only income group in which more than half of respondents opposed tax increases.

The background to the report Citizenship gaps and bubbles Professor leading the research project Anu Kantola estimates that the report’s tax-related results point to a certain degree of unity in Finland.

“After the wars, a lot of consensus was built in Finland so that business life was also involved and well-income people were involved in building it. It has also benefited in such a way that many well-off people benefited from education and health care. It feels like that kind of solidarity or national unity is a little cracked here, ”he says.

Transactions The survey also asked, for example, whether citizens would support new business support packages to compensate for the damage caused by the interest rate crisis.

They were supported by 44 percent of respondents and opposed by 27 percent. Business support is most favored by supporters of the Greens and the Coalition Party, and least by supporters of the Basic Finns and the Left Alliance. However, it was clearly difficult to take an unequivocal position: almost a third of respondents could not express a clear opinion.

Government indebtedness also divided citizens. Nearly half of respondents, 46 percent, estimate that government debt is so high that it requires spending cuts. Less than a third, 31 per cent, did not consider spending cuts necessary.

From the citizens views were sought not only on short-term measures but also on longer-term solutions, which are at the heart of the coronavirus crisis in the political debate.

The survey shows, for example, that issues related to climate policy and competitiveness strongly divide Finns.

41 per cent of citizens agreed with the statement that Finland’s economic competitiveness is more important than taking care of climate change. At the same time, 42 percent were of the opposite opinion.

Supporters of basic Finns in particular felt that securing competitiveness was more important than taking care of climate change. 79 percent of them agreed with the statement. In contrast, only six per cent of supporters of the Greens and 13 per cent of the Left Alliance agreed.

According to income, the climate issue was divided in such a way that low-income people and middle-income people are less likely to prioritize competitiveness than tackling climate change.

According to Kantola overall, the questionnaire suggests that the traditional division between the left and the right is still significant in the approach to economic issues.

On the other hand, when asked, for example, there is no division responsible for issues related to climate change, immigration or social security. In these questions, the Basic Finns and the Greens are at the opposite end of the line, which was already visible, for example, in connection with the 2019 parliamentary elections.

In the case of political parties, Kantola raises the line of basic Finns. It turned out in the poll that the party’s supporters were right on economic policy, but otherwise the line did not settle on the traditional right-left axis, as is already known.

Generally the report emphasizes that the results that divide the questionnaire into people can be interpreted as a story about dividing lines and bubbles. At the same time, they can still be viewed from the perspective of bubbling.

According to Kantola, the research results can help to identify the mindsets of different groups and thus also support the coordination of perspectives when seeking social solutions.

“Finland has had a tradition of trying to reconcile and take different perspectives into account. When making compromises, it would be good to recognize how different groups have different perspectives on things and try to build a common line, ”he says.

Report The underlying survey material was collected by Taloustutkimus in August – September 2020. More than 2,100 Finns aged 15–79 responded to the survey on the Internet panel. The margin of error is about two percentage points in both directions.

Correction 17.11. at 11.59: The graphics in the story have been fixed. The percentages of the Greens and the Left Alliance were incorrectly marked. Correction 17.11. 2:15 p.m .: Party order corrected in graphics.

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