Published on Thursday, April 18, 2013 by Common Dreams
New Gallup poll finds strong support for ending inequality plaguing the nation
A sign at Occupy Wall Street. (Photo: Kimberlyki/flickr)A majority of people in the U.S. want more equal wealth distribution and support a “Robin Hood tax” on the rich to achieve that, according to results from a Gallup poll released Wednesday, evidence that the economic policies that concentrate wealth and fuel inequality are out of line with what most people want.
Only 33% of respondents said that the current distribution of wealth in the U.S. is fair, while 59% said it should be more evenly distributed.
The poll results reflect a longstanding sentiment. Wanting more equal wealth distribution has consistently been the position of the majority of Gallup poll respondents since it started asking the question in 1984. At its lowest point in 2000, support for more wealth equality was still the majority opinion at 56%, and was at its highest level in April 2008 at 68%.
Further, a slight majority of respondents in the new poll, 52%, said that more equal wealth distribution should be achieved by a “Robin Hood tax”—heavy taxes on the rich. Support for such taxes showed clear partisan differences, with 75% of Democrats in support compared to only 26% of Republicans.
The support for more equal wealth distribution “should surprise no one,” said Sam Pizzigati, an Associate Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and Editor of Too Much, an online weekly on excess and inequality.
“Previous research has shown clearly that Americans, given the choice, opt for the much more equitable distribution of wealth in Sweden over the top-heavy distribution we have today in the United States,” he continued.
“And keep in mind that no Americans have ever voted for greater inequality,” he said.
Of course, policies are not framed to the public as filling the pockets of a select few. “The rule changes over the past three decades that have so tilted our nation’s treasure toward the richest of our rich have all been cloaked as moves that would enrich all Americans, not a special wealthy few,” Pizzigati noted.