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Americans want the government to "redistribute wealth by heavy taxes on the rich"

Americans are eager to see the government "spread the wealth around" through heavy taxes on rich people. This, according to Gallup, is a relatively new phenomenon, with a clear preference for soaking the rich really only emerging in the past four or five years:



On a different polling measure, Gallup finds that at least since the mid-1980s a large majority of Americans have expressed a preference for a flatter distribution of income. But that's something that could, at least hypothetically, be achieved in a whole variety of ways. Taxing the rich in order to redistribute income to the working class is a much more specific idea and, naturally, a more contentious one.

Not surprisingly, Republicans and rich people are not particularly excited about this idea, while Democrats and the poor love it.

But in some ways the most interesting demographic sub-sample is the age one. Respondents ages 18 to 34 are supportive of redistributive taxation by a 59-38 margin, while those over 55 are much more skeptical — 47 percent say tax the rich, and 50 percent disagree. In other words, the age stratification of American politics isn't just about gay marriage or marijuana; it cuts to the core economic policy divides in Washington and state capitals around the country.

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