The numbers have fluctuated quite a bit over the years. In the most recent survey, from , fifty-nine per cent of respondents favored redistribution—a similar proportion to the first survey, thirty years ago, which found sixty per cent in favor.
Essays on income inequality, political inequality and income redistribution in the U.S.
Yes, it did. In addition to considering these findings, it is worth parsing the numbers in some of the recent academic studies.
The paper by Kelly and Enns as well as the one by Luttig both use a sophisticated statistical model derived from economics an error-correction model, if you must know that can be difficult to interpret. Indeed, there is even a suggestion in the data that, since , support might have increased a bit.
In , it was ranked tenth, behind things like health care, the environment, and Social Security. Another important consideration in looking at attitudes toward inequality is whether voters adopt more liberal policy positions as they learn more about the issue.
Typically, the positive responses were low—only about twenty-five per cent. In , the survey changed the wording of the question, to detail how much money people at the top and bottom of the income distribution actually earned. Using Amazon. Then they asked the subjects some policy questions. Support for taxing the rich did go up, but not by very much. That sounds like a reasonable conclusion. When the researchers presented to their subjects a slide showing that the estate tax currently affects only about 0.
But taking all of the evidence together, my take is that a progressive policy agenda, if carefully presented, can still win popular support. The argument for each proposal has to be made on its own terms, and Americans still show little enthusiasm for anything that smacks of welfare.
Would-be reformers also need to avoid alienating seniors, whose declining support for redistributive measures probably reflects a fear that such policies would come at their expense, in the form of cuts to Social Security and Medicare. That surely gives the Democrats something to work with. De Gregorio, J. Foellmi, R.
Gil, R. Glaeser, E. Gradstein, M. Halter, D. Huber, E.
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