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Reuters

Most Americans Say Tax Rich to Balance Budget: Poll

81% Say Tax Rich or Cut Military; 3% Say Cut Social Security

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Most Americans think the United States should raise taxes for the rich to balance the budget, according to a 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll released on Monday. (photo by Flickr user Lisa Norwood)

Most Americans think the United States should raise taxes for the rich to balance the budget, according to a 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll released on Monday.

President Barack Obama last month signed into law a two-year extension of Bush-era tax cuts for millions of Americans, including the wealthiest, in a compromise with Republicans.

Republicans, who this week take control of the House of Representatives, want to extend all Bush-era tax cuts "permanently" for the middle class and wealthier Americans. They are also demanding spending cuts to curb the $1.3 trillion deficit.

Sixty-one percent of Americans polled would rather see taxes for the wealthy increased as a first step to tackling the deficit, the poll showed.

The next most popular way -- chosen by 20 percent -- was to cut defense spending.

Four percent would cut the Medicare government health insurance program for the elderly, and 3 percent would cut the Social Security retirement program, the poll showed.

Asked which part of the world they would fix first, the largest proportion of respondents -- 36 percent -- chose Washington, compared with 23 percent who picked the Middle East and 14 percent who chose Haiti.

The poll included a random sample of 1,067 adults across the United States from November 29 to December 2. The margin of error may be plus or minus 3 percentage points, 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair said.

(Reporting by Kristina Cooke; Editing by Daniel Trotta and Peter Cooney)

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