The Reuters/Ipsos results suggested even stronger support for an annual levy on total wealth, not just income. Warren and Sanders have touted the idea as a way to help pay for major social programs like Medicare for All and to reverse a stark rise in the share of wealth owned by the very richest Americans, known as the “1 percent.”
The poll also points to changing attitudes toward basic ideas such as “keeping what you earn.”
That notion, central to a winner-take-all brand of capitalism, got mixed reviews. While 56% of Republicans agreed the very rich should keep what they have regardless of the impact on inequality, 35% of Republicans disagreed with the statement, as did 71% of Democrats.
Republican survey respondents interviewed by Reuters said they did not see their support for a wealth tax conflicting with their party ideals or their support for Trump.
Kathy Herron, 56, a Republican who lives in Santa Rosa, California, said her support for Trump – a self-proclaimed billionaire – stems from his hardline policies on illegal immigration. In her view, the president would do well to support higher taxes on rich Americans. “We’re taxed from one end to the other, and it just seems the rich don’t pay their share,” she said.
In recent years in particular, mainstream economic institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the Federal Reserve have taken seriously the possibility that high levels of wealth and income inequality may be not just politically corrosive, but bad for economic growth.
At the most recent Fed policy meeting, staff members presented research on how families’ differing access to credit might make a recession worse — the sort of exercise that shows how unequal starting points among households can influence national outcomes.
Economic and market trends have likely reinforced doubts about who gets ahead, and how fast. Since the start in 2009 of a now-decade-long recovery, the top 1 percent’s share of national net worth has grown from 27.8% to 32.2%, driven by a record-setting boom in the stock market, according to Fed data.