Poll: Wealthiest Americans Think 'Poor People Have It Easy'

| by Edward Arnold

A survey by Pew Research Center found a majority of the wealthiest Americans believe the poor have it easy.

It found 54 percent of the wealthiest Americans believe “poor people today have it easy because they can get government benefits without doing anything in return.”

The same survey found that only 36 percent say that “poor people have hard lives because government benefits don't go far enough to help them live decently.”

A Gallup poll says that 67 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with income and wealth distribution.

But what should be the role of government? Create more social programs to directly benefit those who need it most, or expand the economy to new heights and hope the wealth and job opportunities trickle down to the poor?

On that issue, according to the Pew Research Center poll, more than 60 percent of the wealthy say the government can't afford to do more for the poor, while 60 percent of the poor say the government should do more.

The Wall Street Journal's poll found Americans are split on who is to blame for poverty. Of those polled, 46 percent believe poverty is beyond the control of the poor, while 44 percent believe the poor aren't doing enough themselves.

Based on party lines, that statistic isn't as split down the middle, as 61 percent of Republicans think the poor are to blame for their situation while only 29 percent of Democrats hold that view.

When compared to 1995, when the economy was booming, the same poll showed 60 percent of Americans thought the poor weren't doing enough to help themselves.

NBC News reports that some experts think the perception of poverty is only based on how well the economy is performing.


Source: CNN Money, Gallup, Wall Street Journal, NBC News / Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons