Saturday, October 29, 2011

Poll: Majority Wants Wealth Distributed More Evenly


The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office reports that after-tax and market income have shifted toward the wealthy and federal taxes became less redistributive over the past 30 years. Growing income inequality is registering among Americans; according to a recent New York Times/CBS News poll, a majority feels that economic policies should take a more progressive direction. Despite what one hears on Fox News, much of the public feels that Occupy Wall Street is onto something:

Almost half of the public thinks the sentiment at the root of the Occupy movement generally reflects the views of most Americans.

With nearly all Americans remaining fearful that the economy is stagnating or deteriorating further, two-thirds of the public said that wealth should be distributed more evenly in the country. Seven in 10 Americans think the policies of Congressional Republicans favor the rich. Two-thirds object to tax cuts for corporations and a similar number prefer increasing income taxes on millionaires.

On Tuesday, the Congressional Budget Office released a new study concluding that income distribution had become much more uneven in the last three decades, a report that could figure prominently in the battle over how to revive the economy and rein in the federal debt.

...With the nation’s unemployment rate at 9.1 percent, income inequality remains a palpable issue for Americans. Nearly 9 in 10 Democrats, two-thirds of independents and just over one-third of all Republicans say that the distribution of wealth in the country should be more equitable, even as a majority of Republicans said they think it is fair.

...“I don’t want to blanket the whole government that way, but it’s getting scary,” said Jo Waters, 87, a Democrat and a retired hospital administrator from Pleasanton, Calif., speaking in a follow-up telephone interview. “Everything is for the wealthy. This used to be a lovely country, but everything is sliding.”

...In February, a CBS News poll found that 27 percent of the public said the views of the Tea Party movement reflected the sentiment of most Americans. In the current poll, 46 percent of the public said the same of the Occupy Wall Street movement. “They do reflect the discontent of most Americans,” said Sheila Shriver, 69, a retired special education teacher and independent voter from Columbus, Ohio. “People are unhappy with the way the country seems to be moving, especially when it comes to lack of jobs. Washington hasn’t even been concerned about that.”

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