54% of Republicans Say We’ve Got Too Much Inequality

George Washington's picture

We’ve noted for years that it’s a myth that conservatives accept runaway inequality.

Conservatives are very concerned about the stunning collapse of upward mobility.

A poll from Gallup shows that a majority of Republicans think we’ve got too much inequality:

Two out of three Americans are dissatisfied with the way income and wealth are currently distributed in the U.S. This includes three-fourths of Democrats and 54% of Republicans.

And the conservative website Townhall.com ran a story last month entitled, “Inequality is a Conservative Issue“.

In fact, there are at least 6 solid conservative reasons – based upon conservative values – for reducing runaway inequality:

(1) It has now finally become widely accepted by economists that inequality drags down the economy. Conservatives like prosperity and economic growth, not things which pull down the economy;


(2) Inequality increases the nation’s debt.  Conservatives don’t like debt;


(3) Runaway inequality leads to social unrest and violence. Conservatives like stability and order;


(4) Much of the cause of our soaring inequality is bailouts for the big banks and socialism for the buddies of the high-and-mighty at the Federal Reserve, Treasury, and White House.   The government has consistently picked Wall Street over Main Street, and virtually all of the the big banks’ profits come from taxpayer bailouts. The Fed is still throwing many tens of billions a month at the big banks in “the greatest backdoor Wall Street bailout of all time”, which sucks the wealth away from the rest of the economy.  Conservatives don’t like bailouts (a 2012 Harris poll showed that 87% of Republicans are against bank bailouts) or socialism; and


(5) One of the biggest causes of runaway inequality is that the big banks are manipulating every market, and committing massive crimes.  Fraud disproportionally benefits the big banks, makes boom-bust cycles more severe, and otherwise harms the economy … all of which increase inequality and warp the market. These actions artificially redistribute wealth from honest, hard-working people to a handful of crooks.  Conservatives hate redistribution … as well as crooks.  


(6) Religious leaders have slammed the criminality of the heads of the big banks; and the Bible teaches - and top economists agree – that their crimes must be punished, or else things will get worse.   A 2011 Gallup poll showed that 91% of U.S. conservatives believe that the Bible is either literally true or is the inspired word of God.    If the crimes of the bankers are punished, inequality will start to decline, because a more lawful, orderly and even playing field will be reestablished.

We’re not calling for redistributing wealth from the rich.  But we do support clawing back ill-gotten gains from criminals under well-established fraud principles:

The government could use existing laws to force ill-gotten gains to be disgorged (see this and this) [and] fraudulent transfers to be voided …

We’re mainly talking about stopping further redistribution from Main Street to Wall Street.  As Robert Shiller said in 2009:

And it’s not like we want to level income. I’m not saying spread the wealth around, which got Obama in trouble. But I think, I would hope that this would be a time for a national consideration about policies that would focus on restraining any possible further increases in inequality.

For example, if we stop bailing out the Wall Street welfare queens, the big banks would focus more on traditional lending and less on speculative casino gambling.  Indeed, if we break up the big banks, it will increase the ability of smaller banks to make loans to Main Street, which will level the playing field.

We don’t even have to use government power to break up the banks … if the government just stops propping them up, they’ll collapse on their own. Indeed, many Republicans have pointed out that the big banks would fail on their own if the government stopped bailing them out.

And using current fraud laws would do the trick in prosecuting Wall Street criminality.

Postscript: If you want to know the stunning truth of how bad inequality has gotten, read this.

If you want to hear what top economists say inequality does to our economy, click here.

And if you want to find out whether government policy is making things better or worse, here’s your answer.

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aussiegirl's picture

Sorry, I meant "Banksters."

aussiegirl's picture

Only because the Big Bansters and the Hedge Fund managers have made it so.  Read Lou Dobbs' new book, "Upheaval" and it will make it all crystal clear how we got in this mess.

moneybots's picture

"And if you want to find out whether government policy is making things better or worse,"


I don't need to.  A deeper hole is being dug by the government.

moneybots's picture

"For example, if we stop bailing out the Wall Street welfare queens, the big banks would focus more on traditional lending and less on speculative casino gambling.  Indeed, if we break up the big banks, it will increase the ability of smaller banks to make loans to Main Street, which will level the playing field."


I don't see conservative politicians doing anything about that. Denninger noted that most of the Tea Party members who got elected as republicans, climbed into the pockets of the bankers, after they were elected. Ted Cruz's wife apparently works for Goldman Sachs, an inherant conflict of interest with his constituents.

akarc's picture

People have become so brainwashed by the those who profit from expanding the Red vs Blue divide that they fail to see we are not so much different. 

TheReplacement's picture

Sorry but I don't think I have much at all in common with some dipshit that believes giving the government more power will fix a government with too much power.  Same goes for those who believe giving government more power will fix government giving all our future wealth to corporations and banks.  I just don't see it.

Other than that we all breath air and drink water.  Oh, and we aren't France, which is nice. 

Reaper's picture

King who? Which central committee are we to trust to decide incomes? The fantasy is that we've a government of enforced laws. The reality is we've a government of liars, thieves and frauds. Our judges ignore law and follow precedents or make up a new precedent on, at best, whims, or in most cases on venality. Our AG and his local agent, Bharara have a TBTP excuse to allow the biggest thieves to thrive.
Justice in income is like justice in our courts. War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Too big to Prosecute. Equal income for all serfs.

TrulyStupid's picture

The cause of the inequality is malinvestment... unproductive spending that generates future liabilities. Foreign war, defense and homeland security spending punishes the taxpayers and enriches the war industries.  Overall no wealth is created and the smaller pie is divided less equaly. Personal freedom is eroded as corporate power is enhanced. Public education and health is sacrificed in favour of ever increasing military/security budgets.

Justice must be purchased in a system where spending power trumps the rule of law.




Psquared's picture

Well said but the underlying reason for this is a fatal flaw in the political system which allows people like the Koch brothers to essentially purchase legislative votes and run Washington. None of this will change until the Citizens United case is overturned and we have term limits.

proLiberty's picture

Those who complain about "inequality" never mention how much Oprah or Mick Jagger earn or how little their stage help is paid. Nor do they complain that Matt McGloin, the quarterback for the Los Angeles Raiders has a $108 million contract while one of his team's cheerleaders just sued the team over her pay of $5 per hour. It is hardly news that over 40 university presidents have pay packages that exceed $1 million, or that the heads of 11 charities in the US are paid over $1 million while their volunteers are asked to donate their time and money.

"Income inequality" joins Peak Oil and Global Warming as frauds of the left that are really aimed at advancing ideological agendas rather than advancing prosperity and liberty.

The answer to 'inequality' is not thinly veiled coveting of the wealth of prosperous people, but to encourage every person to rise to their highest potential as a human. The answer is also to realize to what extent governments and external social forces conspire to rob people of the prosperity they could have if they were fully free. Above all, we must never confuse our worth as human beings with money, which is the mistake made by many.

Chief Kessler's picture

This is the Ayn Randian wet dream of libertarians everywhere, Jamie get 20mil for billions in fines and we get food stamps, ain't capitalism grand?

nmewn's picture

Income inequality. Wealth inequality. I reject the terms used but I'll run with it.

Doesn't that presuppose that wealth & income are supposed to be distributed evenly, that is, "equally"? By who or what and where has this ever been the case?

This is not meant as providing cover for government employees and their exorbitant pensions, benefits & salaries or the rapacious thievery they allow to go on under their very noses so that it can be funneled right back into growing their particular brand of statism...but...lets say we somehow devise a plan to "lawfully" recoup, lets use the word "illegitimate" (even though laws were passed making the thievery legal) wealth or income.

Who gets to re-re-distribute all that ill gotten wealth?

Surely it can't be the same ones who allowed it in the first place...this cannot and will not end peacefully.

the0ther's picture

I find it deeply disturbing that 91% think the Bible is literal truth. Nothing against Christians at all but that is astoundingly stupid. 

the0ther's picture

Ah. Now I see, literal OR inspired word of God. Misread that.

Thanks as always GW for bringing the facts. I still don't like Makers.

proLiberty's picture

Even so, some people will claim there is no difference between Democrats and Republicans.  

the0ther's picture

Someone should slap these weasels and maybe they'd stop sucking Grover Norquist's dick long enough to pass some tax reform. Capital gains taxes mortgage deduction etc. These repubs are a bunch of queens. Also maybe that slap will sever Jamie Dimon's little acorn penis. Blankfein too. 

tweedle dee's picture

When we the people, sheeples or other, understand the difference between Capitalism, Facism, Socialism and Communism we will be able to make better choices at the ballot box.

RaceToTheBottom's picture

Just look at the Congressmen who voted for a lower capital gain rate than normal tax rate. That is one reason why inequity is increasing, Cause Joe Middle Class pays a larger % than does Romney and Buffett.

moneybots's picture

"Just look at the Congressmen who voted for a lower capital gain rate than normal tax rate. That is one reason why inequity is increasing, Cause Joe Middle Class pays a larger % than does Romney and Buffett."


It is actually even worse than that.  Romney and Buffett have the inside information, which Joe Middle Class does not.  Joe Middle Class is buying Tesla into the top, while the insiders are selling into the top.

How much did Mozillo walk away with, or Bruce Karatz?  Hundreds of millions.  Who lost on the other side of the trade?  Joe Middle Class.

notquantumdum's picture

It seems to me like virtually [if not certainly] everything they have changed in DC in the last 7 years or more has increased the disparities of wealth and income in the US.

Can anyone think of even one of these changes which did not make it more expensive to have an employee in the US?  ['Except for the payroll tax holiday which has already been repealed.]

steve2241's picture

How can there NOT be inequality when our borders are wide open to illiterate and impoverished Mexicans and Central Americans, who invariably send 3/4 of what they are able to earn in the United States back to their illiterate and impoverished families in their home countries?

SheepDog-One's picture

So, 46% of republicans are saying we don't have enough inequality then?

bilejones's picture

No. Some probably think it's just right.

rsnoble's picture

Send me my inequality check assholes.

lakecity55's picture

at least 54% of republicans are actually communists.

roadhazard's picture

Boehner, Years after the fact and with NOTHING to replace it said last week, "We need something different than Obama Care".


mayhem_korner's picture



We need something different than Boo-hoo-ner.  In fact, there are 546 replacements I could recommend (435 + 100 + 9 + 2).

ChanceIs's picture

Boehner tapped Jeb for Prez on Jay Leno last night.  He is a RINO's RINO.  Well.....I suppose that Christie is the consumate RINO - in more ways than one.  The fix is in.  No difference between Hillary and Jeb - family dynasties. 

RaceToTheBottom's picture

Well Christie is a RINO with respect to size, if nothing else.

Yenbot's picture

You Sir have created a Movement. I suggest black Cafe Press baseball hats, white embroidered 546 right upfront.

mayhem_korner's picture



That'd by my second Movement of the day.  First one put a real test on the ol' American Standard...

no more banksters's picture

From Inequality to Modern Slavery:


A shocking suggestion by the Centre of Planning and Economic Research (KEPE)

"The report of economic progress of KEPE, January 2014, suggest that new-hired young people could work for one year without minimum wage!"


mayhem_korner's picture



BTW, be careful with the out-of-context Bible references (common error for those who don't read it).  A reader of the 39-book version of the Bible, which is what the link references, might make the conclusion that banker "crimes must be punished."  A more thorough read of the entire 63-book compendium would clarify that all crimes have already been punished. 

Stoploss's picture

As much as Jesus whipped the jewish money changers in the streets, either before, or after screaming at his "father" from the top of the Nostics, if he were here now he would be as happy as a pig in shit, complete with a brand new extra long and extra thin whip with a three inch rat tail. Alas, but we can dream.

Conservation in any fiat system is a lie. Conservation cannot exist in any fiat experiment, it undermines every aspect of how the currencies work. It has simply become painfully obvious that there is truly no difference between Dem or Rep, they have blended together. The only way they can retain power now, is by fear. FEAR OF EVERYTHING... And money chsnging...

The more things change the more they stay the same.

Same as it ever was.  Conservation = savings.  Not a whole lot of that has been going on for the last thirty five years.



DOT's picture

Inequality Rules !

To proclaim that "equality" is a fundamental right or necessity is the mark of a charlatan or a fool. Inequality is an observed result of differing values, opportunities, and let's face it luck- good and bad.

aardvarkk's picture

I'm fine with inequality and think it's a necessary thing.  I am also okay with taking measures to try to equalize opportunity.  The problem is that as soon as you try to do that using government, many people instantly game the system.  People generally suck that way.  Faced with the choice of massive inequality or government-imposed equality, I choose the former.

DOT's picture

"Equality" of opportunity can not serve us well. The opportunity that suits ones aspirations can not suit all.

The pursuit of excellence in what we do, the fair (not equal) treatment of others, and the encouragement of others to do the same is hallmark of a just and prosperous People.

mayhem_korner's picture



GW - please don't confuse conservatives with Republicans.  Thx.

moneybots's picture

"GW - please don't confuse conservatives with Republicans.  Thx."


What republicans are consevatives drooling over this week?



midtowng's picture

Not all conservatives are Republicans, but all Republicans are conservative.

aardvarkk's picture

THAT is certainly not true.  Perhaps all Republicans pretend to be conservative during the primaries, but there are a LOT of Republicans that are not very conservative AT ALL the rest of the time.  Otherwise there would be no Medicare part D.  There might not even be Medicare or SS or any of the other giant SNAFU programs.  For damn sure there wouldn't be any corporate welfare or bailouts of any kind.  Government would be MUCH smaller than it is if even one party just stuck to its guns and demanded smaller government.  Many, even most, Republicans aren't against big government at all, they just want different parts of the government to be big than the Dems do.

Bloomberg in NY was fine with insanely tight gun laws and banning large sodas, for crying out loud.  He wanted to jack up all sorts of taxes and nanny his constituents even more than they already have been.  That's not conservative.  At all.

DaveyJones's picture

it's almost as if...they're just whores...who stand for nothing...except themselves.....like the other party

mayhem_korner's picture



Of course.  /s  Boehner, Snowe, Christie, Pataki, Collins, Graham, etc...yeah, those are crazy right-wingers fer sure.

Mi Naem's picture

"We’ve noted for years that it’s a myth that conservatives accept runaway inequality."

Actually, I think the myth is that Republicans are conservative. 

semperfi's picture

uh no - the problems are:

1. rule of law & Constitution has been suspended

2. individual freedom has been destroyed

3. the Federal Reserve

4. personal responsibility no longer practiced, power voluntarily ceded to govt, and as a result has grown so big and powerful that it is suffocating its host - end result is parasite and host both die

tvdog's picture

Regulation is one cause of the death of small business. Large businesses break the law and pay a small fine, as a cost of doing business. Small businessmen break regulations they never knew existed and end up serving long sentences in federal prison.

midtowng's picture

What you are describing is inequality. It isn't just for individuals.

Australian Economist's picture

How to stop inequality:

Stop inflating assets and diminishing purchasing power