SCOTT RASMUSSEN: Beware Of The New Elites.
Today, just 35 percent of voters believe the economy is fair to middle-class Americans. Only 41 percent believe it is fair to those who are willing to work hard.
Some politicians, particularly Democrats, are better at acknowledging the importance of fairness, but they have a pretty limited definition of what it means. They complain about income inequality but ignore the larger context.
For most Americans, the context is very important. If a CEO gets a huge paycheck after his company received a government bailout, that’s a problem. People who get rich through corporate welfare schemes are seen as suspect. On the other hand, 86 percent believe it’s fair for people who create very successful companies to get very rich.
In other words, it’s not just the income; it’s whether the reward matched the effort. People don’t think it’s a problem that Steve Jobs got rich. After all, he created Apple Computer and the iPad generation. But there was massive outrage about the bonuses paid to AIG executives after that company was propped up by the federal government.
On a more routine basis, most Americans are offended by the revolving door between Washington and Wall Street. The practice of working for the government to network and then cash in with a firm that needs your government contacts is seen as fair only by those who practice it.
The revolving door hints at the larger problem. The United States is supposed to be a land of opportunity, where everyone can pursue their dreams. Throughout our history, many have started with nothing and risen to the top. But those on top today are busy rewriting the rules to limit entry into their club.
Yes, yes, yes. And my revolving-door surtax is just a small part of the equation. (Emphasis added.)