If you think the United States government excessively redistributes citizens’ wealth to other citizens – or if it is completely wrong and is theft – then you may not be pleased with the results of a recent economic survey.
According to a Gallup poll, 60 percent of Americans believe that money and wealth should be more evenly distributed among more citizens in the country. More than half (52 percent) support the concept of higher taxes on the rich to redistribute this wealth. About one-third of Americans think the present state of wealth redistribution is fair.
Furthermore, it isn’t just due to rhetoric by President Obama and the current Democratic leadership, but Americans have had this attitude since the polling firm first pegged this question in 1985. Gallup has asked the question once during each administration and the organization gets about the same kind of numbers.
When it comes to political affiliation, Democrats and Independents are more in favor of higher redistribution of wealth, 83 percent and 60 percent, respectively. Only one-quarter of Republicans support more wealth redistribution, while six in 10 say the present system is fair.
“The majority of Americans believe that money and wealth in the U.S. should be more evenly distributed, and a slight majority support the idea of the government helping to achieve that goal by ‘heavy’ taxes on the rich,” Gallup explained in its conclusions.
“At this point, the American public would generally agree with Obama that wealth should ideally be more evenly distributed — and a modest majority, consisting mainly of Democrats and independents, appears to support the idea of bringing about that redistribution through heavier taxes on the rich.”
So the American people want the government to redistribute a higher percentage of wealth to the poorer sects of society? But what about a recent Associated Press-GfK poll that found majority of Americans think the U.S. is heading in the wrong direction and the federal government is a dismal failure.
Specifically, the survey discovered that two-thirds of Americans think the government does what is right some of the time. Only seven percent say the government does always what’s right and 11 percent never trust the government when it comes to anything.
That’s right, most Americans think the president has done a terrible job handling the budget deficit, but still want the Republicans and Democrats to take more wealth from hardworking Americans and to handle it wisely?
Overall, President Obama has an overall approval rating of 50 percent and 47 percent disapproving.
A strong majority of libertarians and Austrian economists make the case that wealth redistribution is immoral because it is stealing money from one group of people to give to another group. It is also argued that wealth redistribution creates dependency, corruption and a bloated, out of control federal government.
Another point that is usually brought up is that someone can spend their own money more effectively than anyone else can. This old adage was made famous by Nobel laureate Milton Friedman, who write in “Free to Choose”:
“There are four ways in which you can spend money. You can spend your own money on yourself. Then you can spend your own money on somebody else. I can spend somebody else’s money on myself. And if I spend somebody else’s money on myself, then I’m sure going to have a good lunch! Finally, I can spend somebody else’s money on somebody else.”
The Gallup survey was conducted with 1,005 adult Americans between Apr. 4 and Apr. 7. It contains a margin of error of +/- four percentage points. The AP-GfK study was performed with 1,004 adult Americans between Apr. 11 and Apr. It contains a margin of error of +/- 3.9 percentage points.