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What Americans Believe

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"What Americans Believe"

Time for An Economy That Works for Everyone

Ahead of tomorrow’s State of the Union address, public polling finds strong support for creating an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy few – and that means the creation of more good jobs, more opportunity for those who work hard, and everyone having an opportunity to succeed. Americans understand that income inequality is real – and a real problem.

Here’s what we know Americans believe:

  • Americans believe both the economy and the government are working for the wealthiest few and not everyone else.
  • Americans believe we can and should pursue policies to create an economy that works for everyone.
  • Americans support progressive economic policies that build a strong economy:
  • Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour enjoys widespread, bipartisan support: 73 percent, including more than half of Republicans.
  • Extending emergency unemployment benefits also enjoys widespread, bipartisan support: 65 percent, including 65 percent of Independents.
  • 54 percent believe we should increase taxes on the wealthy and corporation specifically to expand programs for the poor. By contrast, only 35 percent believe that “lowering taxes on wealthy people to encourage more investment and economic growth” would do more to reduce poverty.
  • Americans believe that that we must take action to combat poverty and extend ladders of opportunity to those striving to enter the middle class.
  • Americans reject conservative arguments of the nature of wealth and poverty in America, namely that the poor are poor because they are lazy or make bad decisions. A majority of Americans also believe that the rich are rich are because of advantages they had, not hard work.

President Obama spoke about these issues last month at the Center for American Progress, calling them the “defining challenge of our time,” and we expect him to address them tomorrow night as well.

For more on what Americans really think about the economy, you can check out our full roundup of recent polling HERE.

BOTTOM LINE: Americans understand that the economy is not working for everyone, support action to increase opportunities for everyone to get ahead, and support the concrete policy proposals that progressives are advocating.