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Do a majority of Americans support redistribution?

The world is unfair.

According to Gallup, around six in 10 Americans believe that the nation’s wealth should be more evenly distributed. Around a third polled believe it’s fair as it is.

As you can see above, the numbers on this have stayed consistent over the years. And really, to believe that wealth isn’t fairly distributed among citizens — that there are too few rich and too many poor — isn’t in and of itself a terrible inclination. Though the left-wing political argument always seems to focus on the unfairness of too much wealth rather than the other way around.

The graph below, however, should worry you. It shows a spike among people who believe taking from one person (regardless of how they earned their wealth) and handing it to another person (no matter why they don’t have similar wealth) is productive policy. Americans are, if we’re to believe these polls, incredibly¬†susceptible to populist arguments about inequality.

Though, it should be pointed out, that the question is a bit misleading in a number of ways.

1 – It leads those answering the question to assume that the rich aren’t already “heavily” taxed.

2- It fails to offer a choice — say, “Would you rather heavily tax the rich or create new opportunities for the poor”?


Follow David Harsanyi on Twitter @davidharsanyi.

Written By

David Harsanyi is the former editor of Human Events. He is a syndicated columnists and his work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Weekly Standard, National Review, Reason, New York Post, and numerous other publications and is the author of ‚??Obama‚??s Four Horsemen: The Disasters Unleashed by Obama‚??s Reelection‚?Ě (Regnery, 2013) and ‚??Nanny State: How Food Fascists, Teetotaling Do-Gooders, Priggish Moralists, and other Boneheaded Bureaucrats are Turning America into a Nation of Children‚?Ě (Doubleday/Broadway, 2007).