Ask a Millionaire

by evanmcmurry

Northwestern has published a survey of 83 Chicago millionaires, entitled “Democracy and the Policy Preferences of Wealthy Americans,” i.e., “What the 1% thinks.” Most of it is what you’d expect—basically a David Brooks casserole—but other results are slightly more surprising:

• Nearly half of the rich thought the wealthy should pay more into Social Security.

• Some 86 percent of the millionaires were aware that the difference between the rich and the poor is larger than it was 20 years ago.

• Nearly two thirds said that “differences in income in America are too large” 

Hey, that’s something. Now here’s the second half of that last sentence:

• Nearly two thirds said that “differences in income in America are too large” (though they don’t favor a government-engineered redistribution of the cash.)

Which suggests a pretty low limit to what this is supposed to tell us about…anything. The difference between thinking the poor should be better off and believing you have a responsibility to help the poor become better off is the entire game; just ask Ron Paul about people dying in front of hospitals. I guess it’s a good sign that most millionaires don’t openly subscribe to the Randian model that the poor are hammock dwellers siphoning energy from the Producers. But meanwhile in Washington, a Democratic president is proposing cutting Social Security benefits, suggesting that until the link between the less atavistic worldview of the wealthy and their policy preferences is connected, their beneficent thoughts on income inequality mean bupkiss-squat.

(It should also be noted that these were all Chicago millionaires; I’m no demographic expert, but I imagine the thoughts of rich Cubs fans differ from those of rich Ranger fans.)

h/t Gin and Tacos