Republicans appointed to a congressional deficit panel will have to buck public opinion if they intend to block tax hikes on the rich.

A CNN poll (PDF) released Wednesday found that a majority of Americans want Congress to compromise by raising taxes on the rich and cutting government spending.

In all, 62 percent believed that "[t]axes on wealthy people should be kept high so the government can use their money for programs to help lower-income people." Only 34 percent believed that taxes on the rich should be "kept low because they invest their money in the private sector and that helps the economy and creates jobs."

Sixty-three percent said they would like to see higher taxes on businesses and higher-income Americans, while 36 percent disagreed. Major cuts in spending and domestic programs should also be part of a compromise, according to 57 percent of those polled.

Only 47 percent wanted major cuts in military spending. At 35 percent, major changes to Medicare and Social Security were even less popular.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said Monday that he favored cuts to popular safety net programs but opposed tax hikes on the rich as part of a plan to rein in galloping U.S. debt.

His comments came after Obama called for combining recently agreed military and domestic spending cuts with tax reforms "that will ask those who can afford it to pay their fair share" and "modest adjustments" to programs like Medicare, which provides health care to the elderly.

"While I disagree with the president's call for tax hikes on American families and job creators, I do believe the joint committee can and should focus on entitlement reform, an area where the president has already said he is willing to support significant savings," McConnell said.

-- with AFP