While Americans generally “admire” and may even envy our wealthiest countrymen, we don’t seem to like rich folk very much! These are the conclusions drawn from an intriguing Pew Research Center survey released yesterday.
How do the “average Americans” across the economic spectrum who answered these questions view “The Rich?” Well, most of us reckon they may be smarter than us, harder-working than us, and even better-looking than us; heck, the vast majority of our kind respect and admire them–assuming that they made their money “by working hard.”
But we’re also fairly sure that they’re greedier, less honest, and less appreciative of the sacrifices that us ordinary folk have to make in the greater interest of the world’s largest economy.
How do we reconcile our differences? Tax the dickens out of ’em!
58% of respondents think the rich don’t pay enough in the way of total taxes, compared to 26% who feel like they pay “their fare share” and a measly 8% who say they pay too much (who are these people?). Given the fact that almost every American politician stubbornly resists advocating any form of tax increase under any conceivable circumstance, we can’t help but be surprised by these numbers! (Don’t even start on the endless and unnecessary complexities of the US tax code.)
So what can the rich do to improve their public standing beyond, oh, building some schools for impoverished kids–or choosing not to support economic policies that would benefit them to the detriment of the rest of society? We don’t know–why don’t they hire a PR firm to figure that out?
Hey, don’t be too jealous, plebians: Only 42% of the upper-class participants in this survey describe themselves as “very happy” with their lives overall! Of course, that number is 10% higher than the middle-class answer and more than twice as high as the lower class answer.
In summary: Everything is kind of depressing. Now go buy yourself a drink before happy hour ends, you cheapskates!