Too Many Rich People?

JMaddock — October 14, 2012

I was a little surprised by this Gallup poll, which suggests that most Americans believe the U.S. has either enough rich people or “too many”. Only 21% take the position that there are “too few” rich people in America, which seems like it should be the logical answer from anyone who wants the country to improve and succeed.

1990-2011 Trend: Perceptions About Number of Rich People in the U.S.

Obviously, questions like this one are inherently subjective. What constitutes a “rich person” is anyone’s guess. What we should do to ensure the optimal proportion of “rich people” likewise goes unspecified.

What surprised me, however, was the sheer number of Americans who cringe at the very idea of “rich people”, to the point of suggesting that there should be less of them. In addition, a majority of respondents seem to think that if a greater number of Americans were to become wealthy through their own enterprise and initiative, that would be a bad thing for the country as a whole.

If most citizens see an increase in the creation of wealth as harmful to society, it’s no wonder that the U.S. isn’t prospering economically.

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