Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Americans still want taxes raised on rich to adjust for inequality

There's a lesson in these 30-year polling results for every single one of the Texas House Democrats who voted to cut state taxes last week (in conjunction with their Republican brothers and sisters).

Despite the growing focus on inequality in recent years, the 63% of Americans who say that money and wealth should be more evenly distributed among a larger percentage of the people is almost the same as the 60% who said this in 1984.

Trend: 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?

Americans' agreement that money and wealth need to be more evenly distributed reached a high point of 68% in April 2008, in the last year of the George W. Bush administration, and just before the full effects of the Great Recession began to take hold. Americans became slightly less likely to agree with the idea later that year and in surveys conducted in 2009, 2011 and 2013. This year's increase to 63% is close to the average of 62% agreement across the 13 times Gallup has asked the question since 1984. The latest data are from Gallup's April 9-12 Economy and Personal Finance survey.

Worth emphasizing: the percentages deviated steadily during the Reagan and Bush the Elder years, narrowed sharply after Bush the Lesser's election selection in 2000, rose to its highest separation levels as the economy slid off a cliff at the close of W's Debacle in 2008.... and then cramped again, as it became apparent to Fox News consumers that Barack Obama was, indeed, a socialist.

Stop the wars, tax the rich.  That's an easy campaign slogan, but the Democrats don't use it because they know they can't follow through on those promises.

"Don't extrapolate a national poll to Texas", you may be thinking, especially since Republicans who quite clearly don't stand with the majority dominate the Lone Star electorate.

Yes, I'm sure that all this has nothing to do with historically low voter turnout in Texas, particularly among former Democratic voters.  You can blame a bit of that on the most restrictive photo ID legislation in the nation, of course.  But at some point Democrats have to take responsibility for their collective fate, and when they decline or refuse to do so when the votes get called in the legislature, or the Congress, then you get what we had here last week: failure to communicate.

Is anyone really surprised?

Update: Thanks to Gadfly for the link to Gallup. And more from Vox.

But in some ways the most interesting demographic sub-sample is the age one. Respondents ages 18 to 34 are supportive of redistributive taxation by a 59-38 margin, while those over 55 are much more skeptical — 47 percent say tax the rich, and 50 percent disagree. In other words, the age stratification of American politics isn't just about gay marriage or marijuana; it cuts to the core economic policy divides in Washington and state capitals around the country.

Now if they would only vote.

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