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That is, if you use the metrics offered by rightwing media. If you tend
to be more in line with mainstream thought, then the better take is that
Americans are concerned about equality and fairness -- just as we
always have been. And the bad news for Republicans is that all those
capitalism-hatin' Marxists include a majority of their own voters.
In all, 54% of Republican voters told Gallup
that they were either very or somewhat dissatisfied with "the way
income and wealth is distributed in the US." While this is way lower
than the 67% of all Americans who answered likewise, there's still a
majority of Republican voters echoing these Occupy movement sentiments.
And if you remove Republicans from the equation to keep them from
dragging down the curve, roughly three-quarters of respondents would
agree that income inequality is not good for America.
Gallup analysis shows an opportunity for leadership by the president:
Obama will almost certainly touch on inequality in his State of the
Union address on Jan. 28. This will certainly resonate in a general
sense with the majority of Americans who are dissatisfied with income
and wealth distribution in the U.S. today. Members of the president's
party agree most strongly with the president that this is an issue, but
majorities of Republicans and independents are at least somewhat
dissatisfied as well.
Although Americans are more likely to be satisfied with the opportunity
for people to get ahead through hard work, their satisfaction is well
below where it was before the economic downturn. Accordingly,
improvement in the U.S. economy could bring Americans' views back to
Everyone knows that Democrats plan to make income inequality an
election-year issue and this has already put Republicans on the
defensive. Paul Ryan, for his part, is hoping people forget the "takers
v. makers" messaging of the Romney-Ryan campaign, which basically argued
that poverty in America is way too sweet a deal,
and see him instead as completely and miraculously transformed into St.
Paul Ryan, Blessed Defender of the Downtrodden and Acolyte to Pope
The problem of course is that Ryan's merely repackaging the old
"trickle-down" BS that Republicans can't seem to pull themselves away
from, despite the fact that it's failed over and over again. The past
three GOP presidents have tried it and it didn't work for any of them --
including the guy who introduced it to voters.
So Ryan's problem -- and the Republican Party's -- is that all this new
"friends of the poor" messaging sounds great, until you get into the
mechanics. Then it sounds stupid.
So the only real effort to address poverty, income inequality, and
unfair distribution of wealth is the old, tried-and-true, tested and
proven progressive approach. Raise minimum wage, increase protections
for workers, get the very wealthy to finally pay their fair share.
Republicans will hate it, but they have nothing else to offer.
And that's why income inequality will be a big issue for Democrats in
the 2014 midterms -- because Republicans' only defense is BS that's so
worn out that only that gullible 45% of Republican voters will fall for
it. You know, the same ones who think every word from Rush Limbaugh is
Gospel; the dopes, the eternal chumps, the reliable pigeons always
begging to be plucked. The ones who, for whatever reason, want to be fooled.
Whether the issue can turn an election remains to be seen. But if it
isn't a winner, it'll be because Republicans successfully changed the
subject. Which is why Democrats need to stick to their guns and stay on
This is a debate Republicans cannot win. So they'll most likely try to avoid having it at all.