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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Opinion on Inequality

At AEI, Karlyn Bowman sums up opinion on inequality:
Read the PDF
Do Americans think income inequality is a problem? The short answer is yes, and the May issue of AEI’s Political Report assesses, among other views, the politics of the issue and what, if anything, Americans think the government should do in response. ...
  • The income gap as a priority: When CBS News asked in February about the most important problem facing the country, the highest percentage (18 percent) said the economy and jobs, whereas only 4 percent said the “income gap/disparity.” Income inequality ranked 10th of 15 issues (NBC/Wall Street Journal).
  • Income gap perceived as growing: Sixty-nine percent of Americans polled said in January that the gap between rich and the poor is getting larger, 6 percent said it was getting smaller, and 23 percent said it has stayed the same (CBS News). Sixty-two percent of Republicans, 73 percent of Democrats, and 70 percent of independents said it’s getting larger.
  • The politics: Forty-four percent of Americans think Democrats have better ideas about how to address the income gap, while 33 percent think Republicans do (ABC/Washington Post). Americans think the Obama administration’s policies favor the middle class and poor significantly more than those of Republicans in Congress. Still, 23 percent say his administration’s policies favor the rich.
  • Government’s role in money and wealth distribution: Since 1984, around 6 in 10 Americans have said that money and wealth should be distributed more evenly among more people. But a Selzer & Company/Bloomberg question asked three times since 2013 shows that Americans are evenly divided as to whether the government should implement policies designed to shrink the gap or if it should stand aside and let the market operate freely, even if the gap widens.