Rich Drawing Away from the Poor and Middle Class

Americans believe economic inequality is getting worse, writes Ruy Teixeira.

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You almost never hear conservatives talk about inequality. Perhaps they’re hoping the issue will just go away. But public awareness of inequality is very high these days, as the Pew Research Center’s new American Values survey shows. One survey question asked respondents if they agreed that today the rich get richer while the poor get poorer. About three-quarters (76 percent) agreed, while just 23 percent disagreed.

And it’s not just the poor who are losing ground to the rich—it’s the middle class as well. In the same survey three-quarters (76 percent) also say the gap between the standards of living of the middle class and the rich grew over the last decade, compared to just 16 percent who think it narrowed.

These sentiments are too lopsided to go away anytime soon. Maybe conservatives should just accept these views instead of fighting them and offer a few solutions as a refreshing change. But I suppose we shouldn’t hold our breath, since that would mean recommending something besides tax cuts for the rich, conservatives’ one-size-fits-all economic policy.

Ruy Teixeira is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. To learn more about his public opinion analysis, go to the Media and Progressive Values page and the Progressive Studies program page of our website.

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Ruy Teixeira

Former Senior Fellow

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