[lbo-talk] Majority opposes wealth redistribution

Doug Henwood dhenwood at panix.com
Thu Apr 14 11:45:48 PDT 2011

On Apr 14, 2011, at 2:24 PM, Wojtek S wrote:

> Not that it is worth much, but even as gap between rich and poor is
> wider than ever, a majority (albeit slight) of Americans opposes
> taxing the rich to redistribute wealth.
> http://www.gallup.com/poll/147104/Democrats-Republicans-Differ-Widely-Taxing-Rich.aspx

A plurality, 49-47. Sorry to be picky about it.

But the wording is quite strong: "Do you think our government should or should not redistribute wealth by heavy taxes on the rich." It uses a couple of hot words, "redistribute" and "heavy," and doesn't define "rich." This would be a way of phrasing it to spin the results negative.

The same poll shows 57% calling for a more equal distribution of "money and wealth" - down 11 points from 2008, but still a pretty big number.

Here's the conclusion by Frank Newport:

> The "tax the rich" question trended back to 1939 is strongly worded, asking about "heavy" taxes on the rich -- and almost half of the American public still agrees with it. Gallup recently asked a separate question about including "higher taxes for families with household incomes of $250,000 and above" in next year's budget, and found 59% agreement. Again, Democrats were most likely, and Republicans least likely, to agree with this proposal.
> All in all, Americans tend to agree with the broad principle that money and wealth should be distributed more equally in American society today. A majority agrees with the idea of higher taxes on those making $250,000 a year or more, and about half go along with the idea of "heavy taxes" on the rich in order to redistribute wealth. In this sense, President Obama's proposals tend to be in line with the views of many Americans. The fact that Republicans are so likely to disagree, however, shows that a congressional battle over the president's proposals is highly likely. Additionally, this issue most likely reflects a major theme that will echo through next year's presidential campaign.


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