Fact: 60% of Americans Believe Wealth Should Be Distributed More Equally

There’s a lot of debate in this country over income distribution.  The “debate” aspect of it is pretty humorous if you ask me.  Here’s a simple and indisputable fact—money is not infinite.  There’s only a finite amount that exists in this country.

Which should be enough of a fact to dismiss the theory of Trickle-Down Economics, or “top-down economics”—which is really what it is.

Think about this for a moment; each time we give money to the top 1-2% of Americans, they “trickle” down excess to the rest of us.  That’s what the theory says, right?  But what this theory ignores is that the rich are going to want to grow their profits and wealth.  By doing that they keep more, by giving back less.  So each time we “give” them more, they’re going to “give” us less.

Meaning, each cycle of this economic theory builds their wealth, while taking more from the rest of us.

You’ve seen this the last 30+ years where the growth of the top 1-2% has grown substantially while the rest of us have seen modest growth.  In fact, 1% of Americans control 40% of America’s wealth.  And trust me, if Republicans and proponents of Trickle-Down Economics have their way, they’ll control even more.

Maybe that’s why Politifact verified Senator Bernie Sanders’ claim that 6 in 10 Americans believe income should be distributed more equally.  And this isn’t a recent development—Gallup has done this poll 12 times since 1985 and almost every time the majority polled have said income inequality in the United States needs to be more equal.

It’s clear that the majority of Americans realize we cannot continue on this pace, with a handful of people controlling more and more of our nation’s wealth. It doesn’t even make sense.  Who in their right mind thinks that 1% of a population (of over 330 million people) owning 40% of a nation’s wealth is a good thing?  You’d have to be insane, ignorant or part of the 1% to think this is a good thing for American prosperity.

Even charities aren’t exempt from this greed.  Almost a year after the Susan G. Komen foundation was neck deep in a controversy they brought upon themselves by deciding to pull funding for Planned Parenthood (something they quickly reversed), the foundation has recently announced that it’s cancelling seven of its three-day walks due to “economic uncertainty” and “competition.”  That didn’t stop the foundation from giving the supposedly “on the way out” CEO Nancy Brinker a 64% pay increase.  It’s amazing how they can’t apparently fund walks to help fight breast cancer, but they can give a CEO that’s supposedly going to step-down from that position a massive raise.  How much does a CEO of a charity make exactly?  Oh, just a modest $684,000 in 2012, according to tax records.  Think about that the next time you decide to give this foundation a dime.

And no, I’m not one of those who vilifies the rich.  Hell, most liberals I know don’t envy or vilify the rich.  We don’t even care how much more they have than we do.  We just want enough to live a life where we’re not living paycheck to paycheck and we can provide for our families.  That’s honestly all most Americans want.

But what we do care about is when their growth of wealth comes at our expense.  When their new bonus comes from our pension.  When their giant retirement package comes from a layoff of 1,000 employees.  When we didn’t get a raise, yet every executive did.  When golden parachutes are handed out as employee hours are cut.

That’s when we take notice.

Let’s be honest about this—if you raise taxes by 5% on a teacher, firefighter, custodian, or some other blue collar worker, their families suffer.  College and retirement funds take massive hits and their quality of life is reduced.

Do you know what happens when you raise taxes by 5% on someone making $450,000 or more a year?  Not a damn thing.  They’re still very well off.  They’re still living a life that 98% of us will only dream of.

The only “battle” I see between the “haves” and “have nots” comes from their greed.  Having what they have isn’t good enough—they want more.  People worth six figures want to be worth seven, people worth seven want to be worth eight, people worth eight want to be worth nine.  It’s an endless cycle of the rich wanting — not needing — more.

But the only place they can get it from is everyone else’s pockets—and since the dawn of Trickle-Down Economics, that’s exactly where they’ve taken it from.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


Facebook comments

  • Katherine Weaver

    Honestly it seems like there is an endless cycle of greed in our country, as humans we are supposed to have compassion for each other. We should be coming together as a species and try to fix each others problems. If we could work together and people were willing to give money we could completely irradiate the expense of energy and be completely “green” if we harnessed geothermal heat for power instead of non-renewable resources that are just making the rich richer. If we all worked together we would all have free electricity, free energy for our vehicles, free heat, and much cheaper food as this would lower the costs of transportation. But instead republicans shoot down all renewable energy, because it won’t make them money, even though it could easily help our species as a whole. The worst part about this is, many poor people die of completely treatable illnesses or circumstances, not because they are the needy help-me people that republicans paint them as. But because a poor person is much more likely to have been in rough situations before and feel empathy towards someone going through it. So instead of taking the opportunity that a republican would to step on them and help themselves, a poor person is much more willing to stop and help even if it doesn’t make them money. I honestly hope that “heaven” does exist, so that the supposedly ‘conservative’ religious republicans will be shot straight to hell where they belong.

    • Democrats step on just as many people stop being lopsided. And FYI I am not a republican. So before to stand on that soap box you and Allan should take a good long look in the mirror cause the fact of the matter is, is that we are all living in a glass house and none of us have the leeway to be throwing rocks at eachother. Your little finger wagging diatribe makes you part of the problem not part of a solution.

      • Katherine Weaver

        Dude seriously, do you have nothing better than to troll forums that apparently you’re against? I have never stepped on another person to get ahead, so stop speaking for everyone else you ignorant fool.

      • Not a troll but you seem to have a penchant for playing the blame game. I only speak for myself. So take a long look in that mirror cause I am quite sure you have stepped on someone else we all have and do. The difference is I recognize it and you don’t. The truth hurts doesn’t it.

      • Katherine Weaver

        Ok, because you apparently live in some alternative reality where your ‘truth’ is based on your close minded perception. I refuse to play along with this bounce from topic to topic hatefest you want to keep going. You are may not be republican, but you are their mascot of an ass.

      • Wrong again. You just love ad hominem attacks. You’re an arrogant hypocritical person that’s not a hate fest it’s a fact you can’t comprehend that democrats do just as many stupid things as anyone else and when you’re confronted on it you resort to childish name calling. Yes I post on several topics on this site what’s wrong with that? And if you don’t like it tough crap because I am going to keep posting.

      • Ken

        Charles: You sound like a “Mr. Know It All”. You are either very insecure, or is it that YOU are the “arrogant” one, who thinks that anyone who thinks differently than you, or disagrees with you is wrong?………………….. Your “type” is part of the reason we have so many problems in this world. Get over yourself!

      • Get this straight I don’t know it all and I have never claimed to. News flash I never said I disagreed with whom ever you’re implying I have. I did say that blaming it on someone and not acknowledging that you yourself do things wrong is hypocritical. Also it wasn’t myself that resorted to name calling or character bashing that was Katherine and you. If you have an argument please present it I would be happy to entertain that. What I was saying is that the people on one side pointing their finger at the other side blaming everything on them and vice versa is the problem not the solution, and it’s arrogant to think one side or the other does no wrong.

      • Ken

        Ahhhh, and what is your solution to the problem of inequality of wealth in the United States? Do you have an answer, or do you prefer to continue to just talk down to Katherine, Pat and I? Or, are Pat, Katherine and I not important enough, and worthy of that sort of use of your time, (as you put it, in one of your above posts)? Sounds like somebody thinks he is really special compared to the rest of us………………… . Get off your high horse, Charles Vincent.

      • I am not on a high horse and calling someone on their hypocrisy is not talking down to them. Well I don’t think trickle down works since its obvious people look out for their own self interests before others. I also don’t think there are any simple answers. I think a good place to start fixing lies with the federal reserve and a roll back on corporations being viewed as people coupled with ending government subsidies to corporations. I have been reading books and theories from economists like Keynes, Friedman, Hayek, Smith and Mises they all promote some plausible theories that could be followed. The problem lies in congress and how they distort an economic policy causing it to either not work, or to work differently than intended. Milton Friedman has a series of 10 videos called free to choose on YouTube that I found quite interesting check them out if your so inclined. But the biggest thing we can do is to stop the blame game, check our egos at the door and work on the problem. Which was my point to you pat and Katherine cause name calling solves nothing.

      • Pat n

        He says he’s not a repub., so what is he? He’s a wanna be. Wanna be like them or is one of the rich. He does not take knocks well and when he starts his ranting and you talk back you are the one causing the trouble. Ignore him he will fade away.

      • I see you like name calling and character assassination attacks as well.

        He says he’s not a repub., so what is he?
        I am an independent.

        Wanna be like them or is one of the rich.
        I am not rich, in fact by definition I am below the poverty line. I also am not a want to be anyone, I like who I am and that’s what matters if that’s a problem for you or anyone else I guess it’s your problem not mine, I am not going to change who I am to appease you or anyone else.

        He does not take knocks well and when he starts his ranting and you talk back you are the one causing the trouble.

        I take knocks just fine. It was Katherine’s assertion that I was somehow hoping articles to grief her personally she isn’t that important or worthy of that sort of use of my time. In fact I was interested in the article and had no idea she had posted on it until I had finished reading it and started looking at the comments on the article.

      • Pat n

        Ha hahahahahahahaha

      • Curt

        Making false claims damages your credibility, weakening your argument’s value because people don’t think there’s any need to look for anything else correct when you are already making erroneous claims and presenting them as facts. Perhaps instead of saying things like ‘if I’m wrong, I’m wrong and I’m not afraid to be wrong’ in the same argument where you discuss others not being able to have meaningful discussion you might express your claim as your opinion instead of as a fact. See, your opinion can change with better info but facts are simply true regardless of opinion.

      • What false claim did I make?

      • Adam

        So what are you doing about it, Charles? It seems that you criticize anyone who posts on here and deride them for expressing their opinions, telling them to “get off their soapbox”. So I ask, what are you doing about it?

      • Trying to stop the fingerprinting blame game which solve anything. I also try to get democrats and republicans to check their ego and realize that they both do plenty of things wrong and that not admitting that is part of the problem. As to what I am doing about it well some of my ideas are listed in the post above to ken. But as it happens people on either side start fingerprinting and name calling instead of acting like an adult and having a rational and productive discussion. As far as the soapbox well I will call people out on their hypocrisy and I fully expect to be called out on mine. If your going to talk about what republicans didn’t do the democrats better be included in the conversation and we can include ourselves in the what we didn’t do conversation because we are all part of the issue. Once we all admit to the thing we have done wrong we can move past it and get down to fixing the problems.

  • Jer

    So… Why is it greedy to have money and not want to be forced to pay tax on it. But somehow not greedy to want other people’s money.

    Additionally, the article gets it wrong about money. We use fiat currency. And fractional reserve banking. Money is basically unlimited. The US Dollar carries no intrinsic value. The Fed hasn’t promised to stop printing at some point.

    • jfletch

      “Why is it greedy to have money and not want to be forced to pay tax on
      it. But somehow not greedy to want other people’s money.”

      Are you saying that the middle and lower classes are greedy because they want the rich to pay their fair share in taxes? The middle and lower classes do pay taxes, even when they don’t pay income taxes. They pay sales taxes, payroll taxes, and state/local taxes. The real issue at hand is that the working classes are paying a higher percentage of their incomes in taxes than are the rich, who hoard their money in off-shore tax havens. It’s not a matter of wanting someone else’s money. The poor and middle classes are tired of subsidizing the rich.

  • Sue

    The thing that I have noticed, over this period of recession, is how the job creators and such, have hung on to their very best employees, (of which I consider my husband, and my 6 siblings to be labeled as, for they have not lost their jobs), and basically worked this group, (and continue to do so), to the bone. These are people, (middle class), who are all well educated, (4 have masters degrees), have fantastic work ethics, produce constant high-quality work, etc. This group of people have been totally taken advantage of, because during this time, all of them have seen seriously major benefit cuts, gone through long periods of pay cuts, (6 to -10%), have not seen a raise in 3-5 years, (all while inflating prices on food and gas, etc.has continued), and the well-off owners of these businesses they work for, have continued to profit substantially because their costs of employing this smaller group of employees has cut their costs dramatically, giving them as much, or more profit than they made before the recession hit. Do they appreciate these excellent employees, as they certainly should???? No, they look at them as if they should be so grateful to them for keeping them employed. The attitude, and lack of appreciation of these employers just sickens me to the core. Since they have continued to profit off of these employees, isn’t it about time they show their appreciation by returning at least some of the benefits, and giving raises to these talented, and hard-working people?

    • owemama

      You missed that not only have they kept the hardest working, most productive employees, they have tripled (or more) their work load to make up for the employees they are getting rid of and not replacing. So you are essentially left doing the work of 3 or 4 people without a raise and with benefits getting cut out from under you.

      • Sue

        Oh, I was thinking that, just didn’t fit it in my long message. 🙂 Thanks for making that great point, which is absolutely true. You always hear about the people who lost their jobs, but not enough has been said about these terrific employees who have really contributed more than anyone to keep America moving forward. The press, and the so-called job creators, never seem to mention this bunch and it makes me so very frustrated!

    • Katherine Weaver

      You are completely right, at my workplace we increasingly have more and more people leave. Even though I work in a place of only 10 or so employees in a given day it is not uncommon for us to sell 500k worth of products a day. Instead of the company CEO praising our team for how much money we put in his pocket, he constantly picks at our team, and constantly makes our job harder. Which in turn causes our job to be stressful and have a high turn over rate. Now since we’ve been able to keep the job up and running with less and less people they refuse to hire more employees. And continue to threaten people that “if you don’t like it join unemployment line.” It’s ridiculous how poorly companies treat their employees now days.

  • disqus_6AeSbMRBY2

    The fact of the matter is that we have tried the “trickle down” theory for over 30 years now, and it has proved to be a colossal failure. The fact of the matter is that the top 1-2% cannot possibly spend enough money to keep our economy afloat. The fact of the matter is that when more people have money in their pockets, they will spend it on goods and services, thus creating a demand for MORE goods and services. Which requires more people working to produce/provide those goods and services. Now more people are working, paying taxes and spending the money in their pockets for…….yes, goods and services. It’s called Economics 101; you have to spend money to make money. It’s how our economy operated after The New Deal, and my parents were able to provide a comfortable, middle class life for us when I was a child. I should have been able to have at least as good a life as my parents did; this has not been the case. The disparity between the wages of the poor and the tremendous compensations of the rich, (bonuses, even when the company they run does poorly, double digit raises, golden parachutes, etc.,) has been disastrous for our economy, and until some equilibrium is achieved, we are fast on our way to becoming a third world country.

  • Dragantraces

    It’s not greedy simply to not want to pay taxes. I suspect I’m not too far off the mark when I say few if any want to be forced to pay tax. Your mistake is believing that someone simply having the power to claim money is the same as it being rightfully theirs, as if they truly earned it, as if they actually did a share of work equivalent to the money they take. That is like being the person you lives furthest up the river putting a net across that catches most of the fish, claiming to be entitled to the fish and deserving of the biggest share by right of, well, just by right of taking the biggest share.

    Until every person working for a company is paid enough to be able to live a truly reasonable life – and I don’t mean iPhones and vacation trips, I mean a single person being able *to afford* to keep themselves alive in even a minimally acceptable way:
    • to live alone in decent housing seriously close enough to commute to the job in a practical period of time
    • that commute
    • medical care, dental care, vision care
    • healthful nutrition
    • enough left over to be able to try to plan for the time in life when they will no longer be able to work
    …in other words, until a company can and does pay every full-time worker what it costs them to work (their time which equals their lives) and hires full-time instead of part-time workers when possible, no owner, board member, or manager can reasonably lay claim to 10, 20 and more times what workers are paid, nor to bonuses, nor to the benefits that they deny workers the ability to buy. No business that can’t pay its employees a real living wage can claim to be successful. No business that lays off employees and overworks those that are left can claim to be successful. Those who run such businesses are not successful, they are vampires on the lives of the workers. And anyone who makes enough money to gamble it buy betting on stocks or shares is not entitled to claim anything until the company is profitable – and a company is not honestly profitable until workers are fairly treated and fairly compensated. And if it costs more to pay workers properly than what a company makes, then that company is crap and ought to fail. You don’t keep it alive at the expense of workers.

    You are right about it being greedy to want other people’s money. It is monstrously greedy to look at the pool created by the work of all and then, simply because you have the power, to skim a huge percentage far out of proportion to your contribution. That is truly taking other people’s money. It is heinous at all times, when it is simply not sharing equitably in the success of a company, but it is particularly egregious when it is stealing so much that workers can’t live a reasonable life.

    Economics is an artificial construct. Simply because we have previously bought into, or been duped into a system that says, ‘he who can grab the most, no matter the means, gets to keep what he grabs’ doesn’t mean that we have to hang onto that particular made-up version of how to manage things. There are many who think it’s time to reassess and redesign. It’s possible to stop the redistribution of the majority of the wealth created by those doing the work to a few who simply have first crack at the stack.

    If you seriously believe that the economic system we are operating by currently is anything other than that, well, you are entitled to keep giving your money to the schoolyard bully.

    • Katherine Weaver

      This is what people need to be looking at, the fact that the people in the company who do the least amount of work get paid the most amount of profits solely because they see the money first. You are supposed to work to live not live to work.

  • Sam I-Am

    Fact or Opinion? – Allen Clifton Says:

    “Here’s a simple and indisputable fact—money is not infinite. There’s only a finite amount that exists in this country. Which should be enough of a fact to dismiss the theory of Trickle-Down Economics, or “top-down economics”—which is really what it is.” Sam I-Am Thinks On This:

    Oh yes, I agree – And the more the 1% get due to Greed – The (even more) they will keep due to that same Greed. This Drip-Down b.s. never happens thru all of 2000 years since Jesus & before. The Rich won’t raise Minimum or Livable wages! And history shows they will cut social programs for middle classes & Poor. We are always stupid with short term memories on these facts. Please remember this NOW!

    At each new round of elections – They trot out that same old tired ridiculous Republican promise of Trickle Down & Job Creators. But “We The People” never learn our lesson of history. The Rep.Base buys into this nonsense & unknowingly Democrats do too. So here we sit after the Bush Administration spent us dry on 2 unpaid wars & tax breaks for Rich. Plus Bush & The Rich tanked our economy. After 50 years of this Cult Republican Nonsense we’re back to Slavery again. Our new slaves are of all colors & class. Our new SlaveMaster is the 1% Kingdom of Corporate Capitalism who stay in power due to the Religious Cult of a dumbed-down base of Republicanism. Not all bad folks – Just wrong thinking folks & many who are intolerants.

    The Time is NOW! To wake up and vote them all out for the good of America. Quit going to those indoctrination dogmatic TeaParty Churches of the Riech – Excuse me, Those Christian-Right Jesus mind game pretenders who have dishonored the True Jesus (proven by scriptures). We must all get involved in this country we love. Not just on election days. I encourage all to begin today. Join OfA Organizing for Action social issues group. Find & Join Churches that are of the True Jesus and show Bible Scriptures to that prove our Christian-Right friends are not following Jesus. In the Gospels.

    We don’t even have to be religious to know Right from Wrong? The Great Gospels of Jesus Christ explains how to behave & how to treat others. It’s basic effective behaviors that philosophers of the wisdoms of the ages have given to us. Non-Believers or Christians – It works for the good of all. Rich or Poor – Black or White – Gay or Not – Republican or Democratic Etc.

  • Matthew Reece

    Your logical fallacy is: argumentum ad populum.