Showing posts with label Wealth-Rich. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wealth-Rich. Show all posts

January 8, 2019

There's No Real Defense for How Little the Rich Pay in Taxes and They Know It Starting With Wealthy Republicans

Image result for richest republicans in 2018 congress
 The Atlantic photo (Members of congress celebrate the tax deduction for the rich bill)
 By Luke Darby

Wealthy Republicans Are Acting Like They Have No Idea How Taxes Work
 Over the weekend, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made headlines for a minutes-long exchange in a 60 Minutes interview. In it, she proposed that the Green New Deal, a last-ditch effort to fight climate change before the worst effects of it become irreversible, could be funded at least in part by raising the highest tax bracket up to 70 percent.
Now, what this means is that every dollar a person takes in over $10 million would be taxed at a rate of 70 percent. This would obviously affect only the wealthiest Americans, about 0.05 percent of U.S. households, and would raise a projected $720 billion over 10 years. It's also not new, rather it would be a return to what the tax rates were for decades. But according to many high-profile Republicans, it's outright theft.
First there's Dan Crenshaw, who at least admits that he knows what tax brackets are, even if he misrepresents them in his first tweet. But he's a newly-sworn in freshmen in the House. Much more prominent GOP figures than Crenshaw are pretending they don't understand the U.S. tax code at all, including one of highest ranking Republicans in Congress: Steve Scalise, the Louisiana representative who's served in the House for a decade and now is the House Minority Whip. He claimed that the increase would take 70 percent of all income from all Americans.
Ironically, Scalise would only be right if the U.S. were on a flat tax system (where everyone pays the same rate regardless of how much or how little money they have), which Republicans have been pushing for. And Grover Norquist, one of the people most responsible for the GOP's lurch to anti-tax hysteria and who has advocated for a flat tax for years, also weighed in, describing slavery as "when your owner takes 100% of your production."
Norquist is actually describing bosses, not slave owners, but that's not even the grossest thing you have to ignore to make the case that the richest Americans are 30-some-odd percent slaves right now because of their tax bracket. (It should also make any news network seriously reconsider giving Norquist air time as a "tax expert" ever again.)
But raising taxes for the rich has the support of many economists, including Nobel laureates, and many of those think 70 percent is too low. And despite Republican claims, the U.S. wouldn't be the only country with such high rates. At the People's Policy Project, Matt Bruenig writes:
Sweden still manages to have dozens of billionaires.
In 2014, the top one percent of tax payers paid nearly 40 percent of income taxes, more than $540 billion, which certainly seems like a lot. But they also take in the lion's share of wealth and income, more than 25 times as much as the other 99 percent, and income inequality is only growing.
Of course, millionaires and billionaires are far and away the Republican Party's top concern. The Koch brothers alone are likely to be $1 billion richer after the most recent Republican tax cuts, while Paul Ryan celebrated a secretary taking home an extra $1.50 per week.
It's no surprise that when Republicans actually have to go on the defensive, when they have to explain why it's so abhorrent to raise taxes on the richest of the rich, they have to pretend it's an attack on the working class as well. People in the wealthiest 0.1 percent in the U.S. make an average of $35 million annually and the GOP knows it reeks of bullshit to argue that they should keep even more of that last $25 million. Countless repairs and improvements could be made to schools, hospitals, and infrastructure across the country, all for an amount that would still leave the one percent the richest people in the world.

July 17, 2018

It Turns Out Mr. Spaceman Musk Is as Thin Skin As Mr.Orange T } Does It Take a Psychopath?

 Vern Unsworth (right) helped bring top international cave rescuers to the mission, including Rob Harper (left)
Vern Unsworth (right) helped bring top international cave rescuers to the mission, including Rob Harper (left)
A British cave diver who helped rescue 12 Thai boys from deep within a cave has said he is considering suing tech entrepreneur Elon Musk.

Intro (

After Failing to Help Thai Cave Rescue, Musk Attacks Diver

He’s in too deep. Billionaire Elon Musk delivered a custom-made child-size submarine that he said could help rescue the 12 boys trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand earlier this month. But rescuers decided not to use it, and a team of divers completed the mission. One of them, Vernon Unsworth, labeled Musk’s sub a “PR stunt,” after which the Tesla CEOaccused the veteran diver of being a pedophile in tweets he has since deleted. Unsworth says he’s considering legal action against Musk.

In now-deleted tweets, Mr. Musk had called Vern Unsworth a "pedo guy" after the cave expert ridiculed a mini-submarine built by the Tesla CEO for the rescue effort as a "PR stunt".
Mr. Unsworth told reporters on Monday that he was considering legal action. 
"It's not finished," he told Australian network Channel 7.
Thailand-based Mr. Unsworth's knowledge of the cave complex is said to have played a key role in the rescue effort. He traveled into the caves in the first days after the boys went missing and helped bring in top international cave rescue experts for the mission.
Mr. Unsworth had earlier said that the mini-sub built by Mr. Musk's team and flown to Thailand before being rejected as inappropriate for the rescue mission by Thai officials would have had "absolutely no chance of working".
Elon Musk, who regularly takes on journalists and other critics on Twitter, on Sunday tweeted a response to Mr. Unsworth, without using his name but calling him a "British expat guy who lives in Thailand". 
He said he would make a video showing the mini-sub making it deep inside the cave "no problemo", adding: "Sorry pedo guy, you really did ask for it".

Tweets from Elon Musk captured before he deleted them TWITTER
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Musk later doubled-down on his statement when challenged.

"Bet ya a signed dollar it's true," tweets Elon Musk after calling Mr Unsworth a "pedo" 
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He later deleted the tweets - which were sent to his more than 22 million followers - and is yet to publicly respond to the outcry.
"Yes," Mr. Unsworth said when asked if he would consider legal action.  Last week, as the rescue effort was underway, Mr. Musk hit out at the Thai official in charge of the mission's command center, Narongsak Osotthanakorn, after he said the mini-sub was "not practical with our mission", though it was "technologically sophisticated".
Mr. Musk responded by saying Mr. Osotthanakorn had been "described inaccurately as 'rescue chief' and was "not the subject matter expert". 
He also tweeted an earlier email from Richard Stanton - one of two British caving experts called into the front of the rescue - who had urged the business leader to build the capsule as quickly as possible.
Mr. Unsworth told the AFP news agency that he would make a decision on whether he takes legal action against Mr. Musk after flying back to the UK this week.
"I have a lot of support from people around the world astonished by his unfounded comments," he told the Guardian.
While researching this story we find out Mr.Elon Musk who in 2014 described himself as a Socialist and in 2018 as an Independent, this is  Socialist_Indpendent Billionaire who likes to give a lot of money to the Republicans. Just to a GOP pack the years 2016-18 He is given $4 million dollars (as reported by Salon). I understand that big corporation likes to gain access to the governing politicians and the best way is money but when you go beyond what your Socialist_ or Independent political party would give, then you are absolutely backing a governing Man that cages children or maybe Mr. Musk doesn't care unless they are his children.

June 9, 2018

Why Is It More Americans Are Opposing Government Subsidies or Welfare Programs?

A new study shows that since 2008, more white people in the United States oppose welfare programs, in part because of increasing "racial resentment."
One of the reasons for this opposition, according to the report, is white Americans' perceptions that they might be losing their financial and social status while people of color make gains in those areas                                                        

 These researchers — Robb Willer, a professor of sociology at Stanford University, and Rachel Wetts, a doctoral candidate in sociology at the University of California, Berkeley — have conducted other studies that linked racial bias and the Tea Party movement.
While conducting this recent study about opposition to welfare, Willer and Wetts showed the respondents graphs they had fabricated. The fictional data demonstrated white Americans becoming a minority or showed the income of white Americans decreasing as the incomes of people of color increased.
The researchers wanted to understand how the behavior of white Americans shifted when they perceived different things — even if untrue — about how certain racial groups were faring.
Despite those perceptions, other research has found that white people are the biggest beneficiaries of the government safety net. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, white people made up the the largest share — at 52 percent — of people lifted from poverty by safety-net programs, while black people made up less than a quarter of that share. When it comes to receiving Medicare, white people make up about 43 percent of recipients, Hispanics about 30 percent, African-Americans 18 percent, with 9 percent identified as other, according to Wetts.
I spoke with her about the findings and the implications of the new research. Our conversation has been edited for length and clarity. 
What was the most surprising finding?
Honestly, to me, it was this last finding. ... We showed them graphs of whites' and minorities' income trends — and these were made up. But in the racial threat condition, we showed them [also fabricated data] that whites' incomes were declining.
So I would think, rationally, that you should want to support programs that benefit whites in this condition, right? But we didn't find that. We didn't find that they wanted to support programs that benefit whites when whites' incomes are declining. Instead, we found they wanted to cut programs that they perceived as benefiting minorities.
That is sort of contradictory to me. Can you break that down?
The way that we understood this is that those perceptions [that] whites' income advantage were declining were perceived as a threat to white status and this status threat increased their feelings of resentment of minorities.  
So, it was less a rational response to incomes declining, "How can we help people whose incomes are declining?" And more about, "This is a feeling that the status position that I've become accustomed to is slipping away." And that increases resentment of minorities, and so, it's a more emotional response that leads them to want to cut welfare programs to help the poor.
So is it just that their "racial resentment" overtakes the ability for them to see that, you know, people of their demographic or their racial group also benefit greatly? 
I guess I would say that previous research shows that in American society, there's this very strong idea of individualism ... believing that people should just ... work hard and that they can overcome all their circumstances [despite] our findings that this opposition to welfare was increasing during the Great Recession. So even in those moments when it's very clear that there are large structural issues that are leading to people to be unemployed, there's still a sense that someone [should] just be able to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and not rely on government aid.
Our study can't tell all the reasons why people might oppose welfare programs, but we look at this role of the threat to white status as one of the things that can trigger welfare backlash. 
That's a very good point. Even though members of all racial and ethnic groups are using these programs, white Americans tend to perceive them as mostly benefiting African-Americans. So, there's a misperception of who the primary beneficiaries are of these programs.
So this study pulls from data from 2008, which is when Barack Obama was elected. Can you walk me through the correlation between politics and these findings? 
In our first study, when we analyzed the nationally representative survey data, we show that white racial resentment rose beginning in 2008, and we argue that this was likely due to, again, this perceived threat to whites' racial status caused by a sort of confluence of Barack Obama being elected the first non-white president, and also the beginning of the Great Recession. So, you know, Obama's election was an event with huge symbolic significance for racial relations, like people were talking at the time that we'd entered this [so-called] post-racial era.
So for many people, we believe that they perceived this as a sign, that this is a sign of ... relative political power decline for whites at a moment of economic recession. [It] created this sense of racial threat that led to heightened racial resentment and heightened opposition to welfare among whites, even during this time of economic crisis.
Do you think that the opposition to welfare by some white Americans is only going to get larger?
It's hard to speculate on that, because there's a lot that could happen. We only look at what we think is an important source of opposition to welfare. But only one. So there are other factors [besides] impact opposition to welfare.
With Barack Obama gone and a new figure in the White House, it's unclear what sort of impact that political development might have on whites' sense of their status in society. So I think that's an interesting venue for future research.
Why use the phrasing "racial resentment" in the survey? Why not "racism"? 
That's an interesting question. There are two parts to this answer. The first is that sociologists, political scientists and other scholars distinguish between older, more explicit forms of racial prejudice — founded on assertions of biologically-based differences between racial groups — and more "modern" forms of prejudice. 
Since the civil rights movement, white Americans increasingly reject old-fashioned or "Jim Crow-style" racism (statements like "white people are more intelligent than black people"). However, they continue to hold a number of negative attitudes toward African-Americans, including a tendency to attribute racial inequality to individual failings of black Americans and the belief that black people are responsible for the racial tension in this country.
So, the use of "racial resentment" distinguishes that it's the latter type of attitude that is triggered by threats to whites' standing.
The second is that Americans generally tend to think of "racism" as a stable characteristic of individuals, not something that can be prompted or change in response to changing circumstances or social trends. Since we're highlighting the way that changing perceptions of the social world influence whites' racial attitudes, we wanted to use a term that emphasized that these attitudes can change over time, which feelings of resentment more clearly communicates.
"We find evidence that welfare backlash among white Americans is driven in part by feelings that the status of whites in America is under threat," Wetts told NPR.

December 20, 2017

How Much of The Tax Bill's Going To Middle Class How Much to High Earners

The Republican tax bill that the House and Senate are set to pass as soon as Tuesday night would give most Americans a tax cut next year, according to a new analysis. However, it would by far benefit the richest Americans the most. Meanwhile, many lower- and middle-class Americans would have higher taxes a decade from now ... unless a future Congress extends the cuts.
The average household would get a tax cut of $1,610 in 2018, a bump of about 2.2 percent in that average household's income, according to a report released Monday by the Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan think tank that has been critical of the tax overhaul plan. 
However, extremes make averages, and the benefits would be much larger for richer households. A household earning $1 million or more would get an average cut of $69,660, an income bump of 3.3 percent. Compare that to the average household earning $50,000 to $75,000, which would get a tax cut of $870, or 1.6 percent.
The numbers look bleaker a decade out for most American households. To help ensure their bill met the budget limits Republicans had set for themselves, lawmakers set many individual income tax changes to sunset after 2025 (they made cuts to corporate tax rates permanent, meanwhile).  
For example, the bill changes tax rates across income brackets, increases the standard deduction, and increases the child tax credit — but only until the end of 2025.
As a result, the Tax Policy Center predicts that in 2027, the average tax cut would amount to $160, or just a 0.2 percent income bump for that average household.
This would mean a tiny tax bump for many lower- and middle-class households — the average $50,000 to $75,000-earning household would have a tax bill that's $30 higher than today. The average household earning more than $1 million would get a cut of more than $23,000.
Put another way, in 2018, households earning $1 million or more — or, 0.4 percent of all tax filers — would be getting 16.5 percent of the total benefit from the bill.
In 2027, households earning $1 million or more — 0.6 percent of all filers — would be getting 81.8 percent of the total benefit, even though their average tax break would shrink by about $26,000 over that 10-year period.
The Republican tax overhaul plan has proven unpopular with voters. Just 26 percent of Americans approve of the plan, according to according to a poll released Monday by Monmouth University, compared to 47 percent who disapprove of it. (The poll was conducted before the joint conference committee released their final version.)
In addition, the poll showed that a plurality of Americans — 50 percent — believe the tax plan would raise their taxes.
The Tax Policy Center analysis shows that, for most of the next decade, most of those people would be wrong. As stated above, in 2018, only 5 percent of taxpayers would have tax hikes, and by 2025, only 9 percent would.
But in 2027, those people would be pretty close to the truth (at least, by the center's estimates). In 2027, 53 percent of tax filers would have a tax hike.
Congress members could avoid that wave of tax hikes by extending those individual tax cuts beyond 2025. The White House has suggested that this is the plan. 
"One of the ways to game the system is to make things expire," White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney told NBC's Meet the Press in November. "This is done more to force, to shoehorn the bill into the rules than because we think it's good policy."
But if they do, it means a much heftier price tag, as yet another analysis released Monday found. As currently written, the bill would cost around $1.5 trillion. But if Congress extended provisions that expire early, the bill would cost more than $2 trillion, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a Washington think tank that promotes smaller deficits.

October 10, 2015

The RICHEST Politicians in Washington or trying to get there


 When billionaire businessman Donald Trump announced his campaign in June, he told the crowd he would self-fund his presidential bid, explaining, “I’m using my own money. I’m not using the lobbyists. I’m not using donors. I don’t care. I’m really rich…”

The Donald’s campaign to be the Republican nominee for the White House is unique for many reasons, but one of the main things that sets him apart may well be his enormous personal wealth. With a net worth that reaches far into the billions, his “I’m really rich” self-assessment feel like a bit of an understatement.

While Trump’s wealth is an outlier, even in the moneyed business of political campaigns, many other politicians sport hefty bank accounts of their own. Using a variety of data sources and research, InsideGov took a look at the richest active politicians, ranking the top 24 officials and candidates. While creating the list, InsideGov consulted data from the Center for Responsive Politics and included federal-level legislators, governors and declared presidential candidates.

July 4, 2015

This 4th Trump Gets the AHole Award from the Hispanic Community

This award is presented by adamfoxie blog for beyond efforts  to be one

Perez Hilton reported that Ricky Martin tweeted his contempt towards the atrocious comment of the American magnate against the Mexican immigrants. I’ll leave that to your business partners like Univision and NBC, who have the power to scold you where it hurts.
As of early Wednesday, more than 700,000 people had signed a petition calling on Macy’s to cut ties with Trump.

Trump’s track record would look a lot better without the corporate bankruptcies, and many critics doubt he’s worth anything near the $9 billion he claims.
The reaction from Republican presidential candidates, however, has often been far less aggressive.

“Donald Trump is finding out that Hispanics have real power, and it’s not just political power; it’s economic power”, said Fernando Mateo, chairman of Hispanics Across America. In essence, Trump noted that Mexico was not sending their scientists and scholars to America.

And though polls have shown Trump is unpopular among the broader Republican electorate – suggesting his support has a relatively low ceiling – he has managed to dominate headlines about the 2016 race since his June 16 campaign launch. Isn’t that awesome? While your comments are incredibly ignorant and racist, I don’t want to spend my time chastising you… “They are bringing drugs, and bringing crime, and their rapists”. “These are people just pouring across the border”.
Some people have more money than sense. “Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump with regards to immigrants, NBCUniversal is ending its organization relationship with Mr. Trump”.

ROGERS: Phyllis York, a retiree, says the GOP needs what Trump has.
Meanwhile, other parts of the Trump empire have also been impacted, including the announcement that the Ricky Martin Foundation was withdrawing a golf tournament that had been slated to be held at the Trump worldwide Golf Club in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico. NBC said Trump will no longer be allowed to host “The Apprentice“. The retail giant, Macy’s, followed suit shortly thereafter, announcing plans to phase out the sale of the Trump menswear collection from its shops.
The Hispanic groups in the United States of A have spoken out vociferously against Trump and his prejudiced talk.

May 13, 2014

A Mayor tries to change NYC being the City of Only! the Rich


“Budgets are not just a collection of numbers, they are not just an accounting document,”said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio when he revealed his FY 2015 budget last week. “They reflect fundamental values.” A municipal budget, to trot out an old chestnut, is the way a society writ large votes with its dollars.
So we should be optimistic about de Blasio’s $74 billion plan, which, as New York Magazine explains, espouses “his consistent priorities: education, housing, the homeless, and raises for municipal workers, all in service of combating income inequality.” The Times editorial board stodgily declares that “there is a lot to like in what Mr. de Blasio is proposing.” And Brent Budowsky of The Hill writes (under a headline non-ironically anointing the mayor as the “FDR of New York”), “[The budget] will be a standard for progressive experimentation and execution in the same way Roosevelt created a New Deal for America that not only survives today but also includes many brilliantly successful and popular policies, such as Social Security.” New York–area members of Congress are eagerly praising the budget, too.
Among the budget’s highlights is a $41 billion allocation, over the next ten years, to build or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing. De Blasio says that this—”the largest, fastest” affordable-housing program ever attempted on a local level—will create around 194,000 construction jobs and 7,000 permanent jobs. The New York City Housing Authority will receive $70 million for repairs and security upgrades. An additional $14.4 million will go toward providing shelter for both homeless families and single homeless adults. Says Denise Miranda of the Urban Justice Center, “De Blasio ensures that no New Yorkers will have to choose between living in a mold-infested NYCHA apartment or being homeless.” (That any New Yorker ever did, of course, is a sad example of the city’s prior commitment to affordable housing.) And $17.75 billion will be used for settling outstanding contracts with the city’slabor unions. (In today’s antilabor climate, the fact that “union” isn’t a bad word in the de Blasio administration is a very big deal.)
De Blasio’s budget is a vital wake-up call to a city that saw gentrification and de facto segregation rise under Mayor Bloomberg’s watch, especially where housing is concerned. “Mayor de Blasio’s [housing] plan could help decelerate the seemingly irreversible social segregation that is plaguing New York,” writes Richard Eskow at the Campaign for America’s Future. “What happens if this plan isn’t carried out? Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn will increasingly become white, wealthy enclaves. Gentrification will drive lower-income families out of even the outermost boroughs. Service workers and other lower-earning workers could soon face commute times that rival those of apartheid-era South Africa. The rich cultural diversity that has been New York City’s hallmark will disappear, and the school desegregation called for in Brown v. Board of Education will become impossible to achieve.” It’s frightening indeed when New York City can see Johannesburg as a “peer” on desegregation.
In a related item, the budget calls for a twenty-five percent increase in public-library funding, further demonstrating the mayor’s commitment to providing cultural and educational opportunities across the city, and not just in its elite Midtown core.
Could we finally be leaving Mayor Bloomberg’s Gilded City behind? In the introduction to our special issue about the Gilded City last year, we quoted James Parrott, chief economist of the Fiscal Policy Institute in New York, as saying, “New York City’s government is significant enough in its breadth…that the policy tools exist and the wherewithal exists to do something at the margins to lessen inequality.” De Blasio recognizes this. He also recognizes that he serves at the pleasure of the people—all 8.3 million of them—and that his mandate encompasses all of them.
A city in which white people, who make up 37 percent of the population, but earn 51 percent of the income—and where African-Americans and Latinos, who constitute 47 percent of the population, yet take home only 34 percent of the income—keeps its fingers crossed when it calls itself “great.” So does a city that, during the Bloomberg administration, denied shelter to record numbers of homeless individuals and families. 
As De Blasio’s term unfolds and as his budget takes actual shape, the city government will work provide both real and symbolic results for the people, an upgrade from too many years of relying solely on the symbolic. To see just how potent this new brand of progressivism has become, just look at the scene from the recent sixteenth birthday party of New York’s Working Families Party—which de Blasio helped found. In a speech, honoree Cynthia Nixonannounced, “We’re at the beginning of a great progressive era in New York City… Bill de Blasio, [public advocate] Letitia James, [city council speaker] Melissa Mark-Viverito. That is a holy trinity if I ever heard of one. We’ve had so many victories lately, and I feel that if we keep working, we have so many more coming.”
It’s said that the ideas behind New Deal were invented, developed, and tested in New York City in the 1910s and ’20s before going national under FDR. Behind De Blasio and WFP’s “holy trinity,” perhaps the New New Deal can start here, too.

March 22, 2014

The Resentment Against the Super Rich is Growing

People don’t hate you because you’re beautiful. People hate you because they are getting uglier.
Use that logic, substituting income for attractiveness, and you’ll have a better grasp of why the 99.9 percent really resent the 0.1 percent.
Populist rhetoric is leaving U.S. billionaires feeling persecuted, vilified and begrudged their hard-won fortunes. Quoth Ken Langone, the billionaire co-founder of Home Depot, in Politico: “[I]f you go back to 1933, with different words, this is what Hitler was saying in Germany. You don’t survive as a society if you encourage and thrive on envy or jealousy.”
His comment echoes the reductio-ad-Hitlerum arguments venture capitalist Tom Perkins made in a recent Wall Street Journal letter to the editor, portending a “progressive Kristallnacht.” (Was there a special session at Davos about Third Reich talking points?)
Yes, anti-inequality rhetoric has grown in recent years. But it’s not the growing wealth of the wealthy that Americans are angry about, at least not in isolation. It’s the growing wealth of the wealthy set against the stagnation or deterioration of living standards for everyone else. Polls show that Americans pretty much always want income to be distributed more equitably than it currently is, but they’re more willing to tolerate inequality if they are still plugging ahead. That is, they care less about Lloyd Blankfein’s gigantic bonus if they got even a tiny raise this year.

Unequivocally, the rich have gotten richer over time, and income has become more concentrated within a tighter tier of Americans. In the 1970s, the top 1 percent of families received about 8 percent of all income, whereas their share is nearly 20 percent today. Americans’ concerns about inequality, however, don’t closely track these changes in inequality.
The General Social Survey, for example, has asked Americans about attitudes toward the income distribution for almost 30 years. Peculiarly, it shows Americans were most critical of income inequality during the early and mid-1990s, when incomes were far less concentrated than they became in later years. Remember, though, that a jobless recovery was also strangling the middle class during that time.
What happened over the next few years of the tech boom is striking. Median household incomes grew, and the incomes of the highest earners skyrocketed, meaning the chasm between the rich and the rest widened. But public criticism of the distribution of income meanwhile fell. In other words, by 2000, inequality had objectively grown, but objections to inequality had shrunk. Not coincidentally, 2000 was also the year that Americans were most likely to agree with this statement: “The way things are in America, people like me and my family have a good chance of improving our standard of living.”
In the years since the Great Recession, hostility toward inequality has again rebounded, probably also driven by concerns that the rich are moving onward and upward while everyone else is left behind.
The link between objections to inequality and perceptions of economic mobility can be traced down to the individual household level, too. Generally speaking, Americans who are pessimistic about their ability to improve their own living standards are more likely to think that “differences in income in America are too large,” “inequality continues to exist because it benefits the rich and powerful,” and “large differences in income are unnecessary for prosperity,” according to survey analysis by Leslie McCall, a sociology professor at Northwestern.
Calculations based on a recent Pew Research Center survey likewise found that people who believed their family’s income was falling behind the cost of living were more likely to say the government should do “a lot” to “reduce the gap between the rich and everyone else.”
“When growth doesn’t lift everyone, the rich are not seen as deserving, and income inequality can symbolize unfairness,” explains McCall, who wrote “The Undeserving Rich: American Beliefs About Inequality, Opportunity, and Redistribution.” As long as the rising tide is actually lifting all boats, people care less if some boats enjoy a bigger lift than others.
One implication of these polling trends is that if the 0.1 percent want to be left alone — or at least not pursued by pitchforks and guillotines — they should probably support policies that promote the upward mobility of other Americans. That would include things such as early childhood education, more generous Pell grants and a higher minimum wage, for example. While some of these policies might require higher taxes, it’s not clear that marginally improving mobility or raising the living standards of the most destitute would do much to hinder the very richest Americans’ ability to continue getting even richer. So far, little else has.
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

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