StAFF WRITERS - THU JAN 23, 2014 AT 08:51 AM PST
A new Pew Research Center/USA Today poll echoes Quinnipiac in finding that voters want to see the minimum wage increased and unemployment aid extended; once again, even Republicans support raising the minimum wage, 53 percent to 43 percent. Republicans are just about exactly flipped on unemployment aid: 43 percent want to see it extended while 54 percent don't. Democrats are overwhelmingly in favor of both policies, as are strong majorities of independents.
But the survey also highlights a fundamental difference in how Republicans and Democrats see economic inequality and poverty: Republicans actually believe that rich people are rich because they worked harder and poor people are poor because they didn't work hard enough:
A child raised in the bottom fifth of the income scale through much of the southern United States has around a 5 percent chance of rising to the top fifth—4 percent in Atlanta and 4.3 percent in Charlotte—while a low-income child has a 9.6 percent chance of rising in Los Angeles and 11.2 percent in San Francisco. Do Republicans think poor kids in California are just twice as likely to be hardworking as poor kids in Georgia and North Carolina? Or might there be something else going on? Not to mention, even an 11.2 percent chance of going from low-income to high-income is pretty damn low if what we're looking at is an issue of merit. Those numbers are in line with Pew's earlier finding that 43 percent of Americans born in the bottom fifth of the income ladder never move up, and a full 70 percent never reach the middle. The "this is about advantages and inequality, not individual merit" hypothesis gains strength when you learn that rich kids with below-average test scores are more likely to graduate from college than poor kids with above-average test scores.
Rich people are rich because they worked harder, my ass. This is a convenient belief if you're wealthy, but in the vast majority of cases, reality it is not. And on that mistaken—and often self-interested—belief rests a long list of Republican policy positions that are increasing inequality and poverty, year by year by year.
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They work harder than we do? How many of them come home from work everyday with their asses dragging two inches above the ground from exhaustion? Damn few. Oh they may get stress headaches and ulcers, but not too many develop bad backs from their jobs, or a bum leg like me. Yeah my right leg is going gimpy on me from a fall at work.
When we say, "You have to have money to make money", there have been some rich people who have said, "No you don't. There are many ways to make a fortune without having to put in very much of your own capital." Okay rich people, tell me how. Lay it out for me step by step. What's the big secret? Prove you're right and teach me how to make a lot of money using very little of my own - because that's all I have - VERY LITTLE.
Aye, there's the rub, as Hamlet said. Supposedly there are a lot of ways to make a lot of money starting with very little, but I don't know what they are. No one ever taught me. How can I work hard for wealth if I don't know how? The rich sure aren't stupid. They know as well as we do that you can't work your way to wealth as an ordinary blue collar or even a lower level white collar worker by simply collecting a paycheck every two weeks. You have to know how to make money to be able to make money. All we know how to do is our jobs and that will never make anyone rich.
So rich people, unless you're willing to share for free your money making secrets, don't you dare tell us we must worker harder in order to be rich. The only ones who will get rich by us working harder is YOU!