By Walter Hamilton Los Angeles Times
A majority of U.S. millionaires think rising income inequality is a “major problem” and almost two-thirds favor increasing taxes on the wealthy and raising the minimum wage to reverse the trend, according to a new survey.
But the views of the wealthy on these hot-button topics vary significantly by political affiliation, suggesting millionaires are as split as the rest of the country between Democratic and Republican beliefs, according to the poll by financial news channel CNBC.
For example, about half of all millionaires surveyed believe inequality is a problem. But while 86 percent of Democrats are worried about the nation’s sizable income gap, only 20 percent of Republicans share the concern.
Two-thirds of Republicans say anyone who works hard can become wealthy, according to the poll. Only one-quarter of Democrats think that’s true.
Nearly 4 in 5 Democrats support higher taxes for the wealthy and a boost in the minimum wage. Barely 3 in 10 Republicans favor higher taxes and less than 4 in 10 approve of a wage increase.
One area of agreement among millionaires of all stripes: 94 percent believe the American Dream remains achievable for all.
As for defining the American Dream itself, 45 percent answered “prosperity and upward mobility through hard work.” Another 18 percent defined it as “spiritual and temporal happiness more than material goods.” Among those with $5 million or more, 63 percent defined it as material. A mere 4 percent said it’s spiritual.