Is wealth disparity a significant social issue in the United States? Millionaire investors are decidedly undecided. Learn more about their attitudes toward inequality.
Where do affluent investors stand on the issue of inequality in America? The growing gap between the rich and poor has fueled the Occupy Wall Street protests and sharpened the tone of the ongoing presidential campaign, but is wealth disparity a significant social issue in the eyes of Millionaire investors?
The answer, gleaned from our July survey of 1,400 investors, may surprise you. Respondents were asked to select from a menu of four choices reflecting differing attitudes toward upward mobility in America, the land of opportunity.
The largest share of Millionaire investors – close to 30 percent – does not see inequality as a significant problem, citing the choice, “If you work hard in America, you can be successful.” Another 28 percent agreed with the statement, “Wealthy Americans pay taxes, provide, jobs, invest in the U.S. and give to charities.
Yet, close to 45 percent of Millionaires view inequality as a national problem. More than 18 percent cited the statement, “Americans at the lowest wealth levels face many obstacles to success.” And, close to one-fourth of Millionaire investors said wealth disparity was a problem because, “The wealthy don’t pay their fair share to society.” (Millionaires expressed similarly mixed sentiments about billionaire investor Warren Buffett after he called for increased taxes for the richest Americans.)
Not surprisingly, less affluent investors (those from households with a net worth of less than $100,000, not including primary residence) are much more inclined to view wealth disparity as a significant social issue. More than 42 percent feel it’s a problem because wealthy Americans don’t contribute enough to society, and 29 percent cite barriers preventing the poorest of Americans from succeeding.
A smaller share of less affluent investors, 14 percent, adhere to the tenets of the American Dream, that hard work leads to success, and another 14 percent cite the trickle-down theory which posits that the wealthy provide economic stimulus and opportunity for the less wealthy. (Investors surveyed by Millionaire Corner last October expressed both support and disdain for the Occupy Wall Street protests against inequality in America.)