Americans think rich are smarter but greedier
A new poll finds we're OK with how the wealthy got wealthy. We just want them to pay more in taxes.
The presidential campaign has given us two opposing stereotypes of the wealthy, neither of which reflects the actual views of most American voters.
Republicans say that the rich are hard-working job creators who are admired — and even saluted — by their fellow Americans. They say Americans don't want to tax success and engage in wealth spreading.
Democrats say the rich didn't make it on their own and can be heartless and uncharitable. They say Americans want the rich to pay their fair share and want to shrink the growing wealth gap.
A new poll on wealth from Pew Research, however, reveals that this black-and-white view of the rich doesn't reflect the shades of gray with which most Americans view the rich.
The Pew poll finds that more 80 percent of self-described middle-class and lower-class Americans say they admire people who get rich by working hard. Four in 10 Americans say the wealthy are more likely to be intelligent (that compares to 8 percent who say they are less likely to be intelligent).
At the same time, 55 percent say the wealthy are more greedy and 34 percent say the wealthy are less likely to be honest (compared to 12 percent who say they are more honest).
A majority of adults (58 percent) say that upper-income people pay too little in federal taxes. One in four (26 percent) say upper-income people pay their fair share in taxes, and 8 percent say they pay too much in taxes.
More than six in 10 Americans (63 percent) say the GOP favors the rich over the middle class and poor, and 71 percent believe the policies of a President Mitt Romney would be good for wealthy people.
When it comes to President Barack Obama, more say his policies will help the poor (60 percent) than say they will help the middle class (50 percent) or the wealthy (37 percent). By contrast, just 31 percent say Romney’s policies would help the poor and 40 percent say they would help the middle class.
There are some critical partisan differences in the data — especially around taxes. More than four in 10 Republicans say upper-income people pay either their fair share of taxes or too much (14 percent). Among Democrats, 78 percent say upper-income people pay too little in taxes, while 13 percent say upper-income people pay their fair share.
A majority of both groups, however, say the middle class pays its fair share.
The poll shows that the upper-income groups are happier, healthier and doing better financially that most Americans. About four in 10 upper-class adults say they are in better shape now than they were before the recession (learn more). That compares with about four in ten middle-class adults who say they are in worse financial shape.
My takeaway from the poll is that Americans generally have a favorable view of how the wealthy got wealthy. But they still want the wealthy to pay more. That's a nuance that we're unlikely to hear from either party this election.
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Quite a few people thought Bernie Madoff, Ken Lay, and Jeff Skillings (to name just a few) were pretty bright guys. A little smarts and no conscience can make you a lot of dough. I'm just sayin'.
More conniving, yes (in general).
If intelligence was a measure of wealth, then scientists, mathematicians, and engineers would likely be more wealthy than those on Wall Street and in the finance industry.
And I am NOT OK with anyone who makes their wealth at the expense of the misfortune of others.
I've never bought a lottery ticket in my life. I don't use credit cards. I do not care to own things I don't have cash to pay for. I also recognize that the system we have in place is DESIGNED to prevent the vast majority of people who buy into it, from ever getting ahead. Your money is MEANT to go to people who already have plenty of it. And then you are told that you are lazy and didn't work as hard as those patriotic, hard-working rich folks. Some of the poor among you even spout this nonsense because that's how deep the brain-washing goes.
Hard work is valuable- but to pretend that it's the path to success in this country is a farce. No one works harder than the millions of people at the bottom holding low-wage full-time jobs only to put themselves in debt they will never crawl out of to have basic necessities like a place to live, food on the table and transportation to and from work. THOSE people deserve kudos and respect. Not the spoiled, rotten-hearted landed gentry of this country.
So, do you think it's okay for the wealthiest people in our country, people like the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson to use their wealth to essentially buy our government and to have lobbyists in their pockets in order to create government policy that fits THEIR desires rather than what is best for the majority of Americans?
Should they alone, as private individuals, have the right to decide who is the Republican candidate?
Why should we hold elections at all if only the wealthy should have a voice in government?
Fundamentally the people who pay for government are the only people who should be represented and equally lack of representation removes the duty to provide revenue to the state. We have been moving in the opposite direction since Jackson created the Democratic party and are now at a tipping point. Roughly half the population pays no Federal Income Tax (or actually get subsidies through the tax code) and an equally large percentage get a proportion of their income from the government. The "rich" however defined pay an overwhelming portion of the Income tax. A similar situation exists in European welfare states which are collapsing under the burden of dependency.
The great English legal scholar A V Dicey saw this all coming with the extension of the franchise to working class Britons the the early 1900's. Mass democracy will always lead to more and more socialist legislation as demagogs buy the votes of many with the taxes of the few until the goose runs out of eggs (See Greece, California etc.). The answer is simple but we are too latein the world to adopt it. Anyone who is a net taxpayer (ie they pay more in income tax than they get from the Federal government) by even one penny gets to vote in Federal elections. There can be a special franchise for the military and combat veterans as in ancient Greece but the iron rules is that those that live off the state (including above all public workers) have a fundamental and disqualifying conflict of interest in voting. Rich people who live off tax free income would be equally bared from representation and/or contributing to political campaigns. Anyone could keep the vote by refusing state assistance or leaving state employment or by paying a voluntary levy that would render them a net taxpayer. If those who paid for the state were the only ones who got to vote we would not have the sea of red ink that threatens to sink the republic.
For being "job-creators" they sure aren't creating a heck of a lot of jobs. How about their tax rates get cut in proportion with the unemployment rate, eh?
A majority of Americans think somebody else should be paying more taxes. Wow, what a stunning revelation.
"Don't tax you, don't tax me, tax that fellow behind the tree."
The 6 heirs to the WalMart fortune, 1 family, owns more wealth than the bottom 30 percent of American people combined. 1 family has more wealth than 90 MILLION Americans combined!
The Top 1% have more than 40 percent of America's wealth.
The bottom 60% of Americans has LESS THAN 2% of the wealth.
The bottom 40% of Americans have less than 3/10ths of 1% of the wealth IN AMERICA.
Since we have 30+ years of failed trickle down economics, here's my tax rate solution. It will be based upon the census nation average income at the most current point ($32,000/year right now) and it will be flexible to rises and falls of that average with no deductions at all. These are the rates you pay at each tier. so if you earned $64,000, $32,000 is at 2% ($640) and $32,000 is at 4% ($1280) for a total of $1920/year.
1. $0 to the Average - 2%
2. Avg * 2 - 4%
3. Avg * 5 - 8%
4. Avg * 10 - 20%
5. Avg * 100 - 50%
6. Avg * 250 - 90%
The Social Security cap is to be removed and will require all earned income to pay into the system thus, the gap in money going into the system is removed.
That means after 3.2 million per year, the tax penalty is quite steep and will give us a New, "New Deal" solution much in the way that FDR gave us that eventually spurred the greatest time period of development and quality of living increases in history. This version is flexible however in comparison to the original rigid figures that were used and cannot be manipulated through hyper inflation or deflation.
FACT! the wealthy don't care about the poor
they just want to get wealthier.
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Breaking up big banks is an untested solution to the too big to fail problem that attempts to isolate and dismantle large, troubled institutions while protecting the rest of the economy.
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