Americans are well aware of the fact that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.
Here are some other interesting tidbits from the latest Pew Research Center survey of Trends in American Values: 1987-2012 [pdf]:
- 46% say that circumstances beyond one’s control are more often to blame if a person is poor, while 38% say that an individual’s lack of effort is more often to blame; 11% blame both.
- Nearly two-thirds of Americans (65%) say that most poor people in the U.S. work but are unable to earn enough money; just 23% say the poor do not work.
- Currently, just 35% agree that “hard work offers little guarantee of success”; 63% disagree.
- About twice as many of those in the lowest quartile of family income than those in the highest quartile say that success is determined largely by outside forces (50% vs. 22%).
- While the percentage of the public expressing satisfaction with their finances is unchanged from three years ago, lower-income Americans have become less satisfied with their finances while financial satisfaction among upper-income people has recovered after falling sharply during the teeth of recession in 2009.
- Three-quarters of Americans (75%) agree “there is too much power concentrated in the hands of a few big companies.” About six-in-ten (61%) say that “business corporations make too much profit.” Nearly as many (58%) disagree with the idea that business corporations “generally strike a fair balance between making profits and serving the public interest.”
- Overall, 63% agree that “a free market economy needs government regulation in order to best serve the public interest”; only about half as many (31%) disagree.
- A larger majority (72%) agrees that “Wall Street only cares about making money for itself.” Three years ago, 67% expressed this view.
- Overall, 64% agree that labor unions are necessary to protect the working person; 33% disagree. Positive views of labor unions have stabilized, after declining by 13 points from 2003 to 2009.
And, still, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.