Redistribution of Wealth and Income Inequality

AEI Paper & Studies, November 2011 | Go to article overview

Redistribution of Wealth and Income Inequality


Americans have long believed that money and wealth in this country should be more evenly distributed. A National Opinion Research Center question asked since 1973, however, shows a public divided now about whether government should do more to reduce income differences. When asked a more pointed question by Gallup about whether government should redistribute income by "heavy taxes on the rich," people are also divided.

Q: Do you feel that the
distribution of money and
wealth in this country today
is fair, or do you feel that
the money and wealth in
this country should be
more evenly distributed
among a larger percentage
of the people?

Money and wealth in the country

Distribution is fair                             35%
Should be more evenly distributed                57%

Source: Gallup, latest that of
April 2011.

Q: Some people think that
the government in Washington
ought to reduce the
income differences between
the rich and the poor, perhaps
by raising the taxes of
wealthy families or by giving
income assistance to the
poor. Here is a card with a
scale from 1 to 7. Think of a
score of 1 as meaning that
the government ought to
reduce the income differences
between rich and
poor, and a score of 7
meaning that the government
should not concern
itself with reducing income
differences. What score
between 1 and 7 comes
closest to the way you feel?

Government should reduce income differences
between the rich and poor (1-3)                  43%

Govt should not concern itself
with reducing income differences (5=7)           41%

(4)                                              18%

Source: National Opinion Research
Center, latest that of 2010.

Q: Do you think that . … 

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