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Poll finds a few more reasons why Republicans don’t always do so well in Illinois

Wednesday, Sep 26, 2012

* As I told you earlier today, a strong majority of Illinoisans believe that corruption is widespread in Illinois business, according to the latest Paul Simon Public Policy Institute poll

More than six respondents in ten (62.3 percent) agreed that corruption is widespread in Illinois business.

    • Black (73.4 percent) and Hispanic respondents (65.9 percent) were more likely than whites (57.6 percent) to say corruption in Illinois business is widespread
    • Respondents in households with incomes lower than $50,000 (70.8 percent) were also more likely than average to say corruption in Illinois business is widespread.

* The Institute asked some other class-related questions

Which of these statements comes closer to your own view - even if neither is exactly right.

    Most rich people today are wealthy mainly because of their own hard work, ambition or education 40.4%

    Most rich people today are wealthy mainly because they know the right people or are born into wealthy families 46.9%

    Neither (VOL) 2.2%
    Both equally (VOL) 7.8%
    Other/don’t know 2.7%

Do you feel that the distribution of money and wealth in this country today is fair, or do you feel that the money and wealth in this country should be more evenly distributed among a larger percentage of the people?

    Fair now 34.5%
    Should be more even 57.8%
    Other/Don’t know 7.7%

Do you think the federal government should or should not pursue policies that try to reduce the gap between wealthy and less well-off Americans?

    Should 52.1%
    Should not 41.1%
    Other/Don’t know 6.8%


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Colossus - Wednesday, Sep 26, 12 @ 10:58 am:

    I’ve seen some abysmal charts that show how vastly Americans underestimate the distribution of wealth in our country, compared to the reality.

    Apparently some other folks are seeing those too, because it looks like they’re realizing that it doesn’t have to be this way.

  2. - Excessively Rabid - Wednesday, Sep 26, 12 @ 11:06 am:

    It’s been said that government’s role in our economic system should be to act as a referee to ensure the system is reasonably open and equitable, not to determine economic outcomes. Trouble is, we sometimes seem to have the NFL replacement officials on the job.

  3. - Robert the Bruce - Wednesday, Sep 26, 12 @ 11:15 am:

    ==Should be more even 57.8%==
    Socialists! I thought there were only 47% of you!

  4. - Cal Skinner - Wednesday, Sep 26, 12 @ 11:27 am:

    And more taxpayers will now know have reason to consider moving, creating a higher tax dependent to taxpayer ratio.

  5. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Sep 26, 12 @ 11:35 am:

    We are an entitlement society…

  6. - MrJM - Wednesday, Sep 26, 12 @ 11:47 am:

    We are an entitlement society…

    An bumper-sticker quote from an Anonymous commenter?

    I’m convinced!

    – MrJM

  7. - Money Walks - Wednesday, Sep 26, 12 @ 11:55 am:

    This is one of the most depressing polls I have ever seen.

    Might as well ask, “Would you like the federal government to take money from rich people and spread it around to everyone else?”

    I wonder who people will blame when wealthy people start migrating to more tax friendly countries?

  8. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Sep 26, 12 @ 11:59 am:

    ===And more taxpayers will now know have reason to consider moving, creating a higher tax dependent to taxpayer ratio.===

    First, that’s a total nonsequitor. Second, it’s absolute rubbish.

    Cal, the question asked if the federal government should or should not pursue policies to reduce inequality. Where exactly do you think “taxpayers” are going to move? Bermuda? The Cayman Islands?

    More important, since its inception, our government has pursued policies to redistribute wealth. That’s what politics is about. This is not a new concept. The only thing changing are the winners and losers.

  9. - Small Town Liberal - Wednesday, Sep 26, 12 @ 12:21 pm:

    - I wonder who people will blame when wealthy people start migrating to more tax friendly countries? -

    Awfully funny how much our country grew when the highest tax bracket rate was in the 70%-90% range. I guess you’re not a huge fan of reading history.

  10. - Wow - Wednesday, Sep 26, 12 @ 12:22 pm:

    Some of the comments here are pretty amzaing. I think the bottom line is that those who are looking for a more equitable distribution of wealth are just looking for a fair shot at being successful.

    Theres a lot that goes into that process, which I think government has no control over. We could have the best public schools in Illinois but if parents aren’t involved in their kid’s lives that’s not going to make a difference.

    My point? I guess I’m saying their should be a more equitable distribution of wealth but getting there may be impossible. There are too many factors that government can’t control to make that a reality.

  11. - Money Walks - Wednesday, Sep 26, 12 @ 12:24 pm:

    –More important, since its inception, our government has pursued policies to redistribute wealth.–

    They sure are doing a bang-up job.

  12. - Small Town Liberal - Wednesday, Sep 26, 12 @ 12:28 pm:

    - They sure are doing a bang-up job. -

    I feel like I live in the greatest country on the planet, I guess you don’t?

  13. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Sep 26, 12 @ 12:31 pm:

    Wow, that’s the difference between supporting outcomes vs. supporting opportunites. No one can guarantee outcomes, but we all should get behind guaranteeing opportunities. That’s what makes America the envy of the world. It’s the only place where a man can be born into poverty and still make it to the top by his own brains and hard work. In almost every other country, your fate is sealed at birth.

  14. - Steve Bartin - Wednesday, Sep 26, 12 @ 12:32 pm:

    It’s hard work finding out who Mike Madigan and Ed Burke want you to handle all your business needs!

  15. - Money Walks - Wednesday, Sep 26, 12 @ 12:35 pm:

    I would suggest that our greatness is tied to our ever diminishing amount of wealth, both monetary and social. Yes, we are still the greatest in my opinion. But, I don’t know if my children will be able to say the same.

  16. - geronimo - Wednesday, Sep 26, 12 @ 12:36 pm:

    Government’s trying to give advantage to certain groups to level the playing field hasn’t worked so well in the past. As said, there are too many factors that contribute to success that can’t be legislated. What’s irritating about people of great wealth is how they seem so ungrateful to the system that provides their wealth. I’m always amazed at people like Oprah who wouldn’t give a dime to CHicago’s schools, but built one in Africa to improve the plight of African girl’s lives…….the Gates Foundation, another example. Lots of examples to be had. Whatever happened to giving some back? They’re giving, but not back to the ones that got them there. And all the whining about taxes. Will taxing the unemployed and homeless solve our financial problems?

  17. - Team Sleep - Wednesday, Sep 26, 12 @ 12:38 pm:

    I am as anti-tax as one can be, but I think the GOP has to drop the top marginal tax rate issue, cut our losses and fight other battles. It doesn’t help that we are running a person with breathtaking wealth for president. Granted, President and Mrs. Obama are wealthy in their own right, but Mitt Romney is light years ahead. He is not the person we need arguing for tax “fairness”.

  18. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Sep 26, 12 @ 12:38 pm:

    Money Walks…

    “I wonder who people will blame when wealthy people start migrating to more tax friendly countries?”

    I thought they already were. They’ve already moved their money there, might as well go with it.

  19. - Ready To Get Out - Wednesday, Sep 26, 12 @ 12:40 pm:

    Too quick on the trigger, my post @ Anonymous 12:38.

  20. - Irish - Wednesday, Sep 26, 12 @ 12:52 pm:

    Intersting poll. However for me it does not answer the question, Why do Republicans do poorly in Illinois?

    I certainly would not call Speaker Madigan a person of modest means, nor would I classify Rahm Emmanual in that catagory. The Kennedys were among the most affluent families in the nation. So in my estimation wealth does not necessarilly follow party lines.
    That being said the general platforms of the two parites are diversely different on the questions of safety nets, controls on big business, and the size of Government. In those areas it could be inferred that the Republicans support the wealthy in restricting government control of big business, and in the limiting of entitlements. The Republicans maintain that the growth of big business means more jobs and the eliminating of entitlements make the individual more motivated to go out and get a job. They claim only these steps will stimulate the economy. Except their words are contradicted by their actions which are to seek even higher profit margins while eliminating operation costs. Greed has replaced the trickle down theory. They do not want very much to trickle down. they want to keep most of it for themselves. That greed is what got us into the economic situation we are in now. I find it very ironic that Mr. Romney is ready to toss aside 47% of Americans because they receive subsidies from the government. Shall we also include the oil companies, the utilities, the pharmaceutical companies, the automakers, the big banks, etc. who also received/receive subsidies?

    In my humble opinion the Republicans have not done well in Illinois because they choose poor candidates. Instead of choosing a knowledgeable moderate they always opt for a strident conservative. And when they get a halfway decent candidate they shoot themselves in the foot by running a terrible campaign. The Illinois GOP needs to get everyone together and decide they are not going to be the party of buffoons and get behind a competent candidate and run a competent campaign. It’s not like their opposition has been anything special lately.

    Examples of what I am talking about: Richard Ogilvie increased social spending quite a bit in his term. He also instituted the state income tax. He was defeated by Dan Walker and the income tax was a big reason but here was a Republican who increased Government and social programs.
    Jim Thompson was a popular governor during his terms and he was a big spender, creating all kinds of jobs with his Build Illinois programs. And then you have our current governor, a Democrat who gives all kinds of money to big business, gives them tremendous tax breeaks, and allows utility companies to roam free while attacking the Democratic base, union workers, seniors, and impoverished families outside of Cook County.

  21. - Money Walks - Wednesday, Sep 26, 12 @ 12:52 pm:

    –Awfully funny how much our country grew when the highest tax bracket rate was in the 70%-90% range. I guess you’re not a huge fan of reading history.–

    Why don’t you enlighten me as to what period of history we are talking about since I’m such a novice.

    If you are seriously discussing the post-war tax rates of the 40’s then I suggest you do a little more research pal. If it is the case we are talking about post WW2, then do you honestly think there were viable alternatives for a wealthy person to move? Europe was still war torn and under threat of the USSR and most other places were considered Third World.

    People migrated to the US because we were a winning nation, with a booming industry, producing goods and selling them at record rates because we were about the only industrialized nation that could supply the world. People came here because there was work and opportunity.

    And believe it or not, there were plenty of tax write-offs and deductions during this time that knocked those 90% rates down to around 40% to 50%, and the wealthy were more than willing to pay because demand for American goods were so high that they were still making a ton of money.

    I am a big fan of history and all of this info can be found in your local small town library.

  22. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Sep 26, 12 @ 12:58 pm:

    While corruption exists in both the gov’t and in business in Illinois and in this great country, we ain’t nothing compared to the kleptocracies like Russia and China. Since in many ways the line between gov’t and business in those countries are blurred in ways not easily described here in less than 2000 words I won’t try.

    I agree with 47th Ward in his description. It is important to support opportunity rather than outcomes. I do not believe the gov’t can support outcomes in any event. It has a hard enough time supporting opportunities.

    I would say to those who believe that businesses are corrupt to stop whining and get to work. There are those who came up and created their own wealth with their own hands despite the corruption of gov’t and business - not because they “know someone” but because they were determined and relentless. That’s what it takes.

  23. - Denny K - Wednesday, Sep 26, 12 @ 1:00 pm:

    To quote Marcus Aurelius, “The opinion of 10,000 men is worthless if none of them know anything about the subject.”

  24. - Small Town Liberal - Wednesday, Sep 26, 12 @ 1:03 pm:

    - Why don’t you enlighten me as to what period of history we are talking about since I’m such a novice. -

    1936 to 1981.

    And the wealthy are still making a ton of money, in case you hadn’t noticed.

  25. - Money Walks - Wednesday, Sep 26, 12 @ 1:13 pm:

    –And the wealthy are still making a ton of money, in case you hadn’t noticed.–

    And back to my original point. Wealthy people will move both money and themselves to stay wealthy. Good discussion but let’s agree to disagree so we don’t muddy the board up. Good day.

  26. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Sep 26, 12 @ 1:29 pm:


    Thanks for your ardent defense of the rich. I’m always amazed at people who do such things. The rich don’t need tax breaks and they don’t need us to defend them. I’m tired of this “protect the rich” mantra of some. They’ve got all of the money. They don’t need anything. If they are not willing to let loose of that money by investing in the country then take it from them. There is plenty of capital out there right now but the rich are hanging on to it and until they let it go the economy isn’t going anywhere. Either they let go of it voluntarily or I’m all in favor of the government taking it from them and doing something with it.

  27. - reformer - Wednesday, Sep 26, 12 @ 1:41 pm:

    S.T. Liberal
    == - I wonder who people will blame when wealthy people start migrating to more tax friendly countries? ==

    Unless American ex-pats renounce their citizenship, they are stil subject to federal taxes and are still required to file an annual tax return.


    IL has a lower income tax rate than four of the five contiguous states, and the fifth permits counties to tax incomes too. Even states with GOP rock star governors — NJ and WI — have income tax rates far higher than ours.

  28. - Madison - Wednesday, Sep 26, 12 @ 1:43 pm:

    Consider Brady-Plummer. Need I give any more reasons GOP candidates have isssues? Where have all the Thompson and Edgar candidates gone? Fiscally conservative, not socially activist.
    To finish this off the system will work when we raise the estate taxes and tax retained corporate earnings. Why should you be able to create a new generation of ultra wealthy Americans because you died, or why should a company like apple be able to bank billions of retained earnings? Put that money to work employing fellow Americans or it will be spent on infrastructure.

  29. - reformer - Wednesday, Sep 26, 12 @ 1:44 pm:

    To show how out-of-touch the state GOP is with the average voter, Republicans insisted that the estate tax be slashed as part of the Sears deal, even though it only applied to multi-millionaires.

  30. - Bitterman - Wednesday, Sep 26, 12 @ 1:55 pm:

    Okay, it’s probably just me but I can’t seem to close the loop on this: generally democrats think that the wealthy, especially those born into privilege, cannot represent their interests much less identify with them or lead our nation to prosperiety..for all. Yet, the most heralded democratic president is FDR, who was from wealth and privilage. Respect and adoration he most certainly deserves from his New Deal policies, leading our nation out of depression and leading us through the WWII. But is it possible that only a Democrat from wealth and privilage can be a leader for all?

  31. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 26, 12 @ 1:58 pm:

    ===wealthy people start migrating to more tax friendly countries? ===

    Um, where would they go?

  32. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 26, 12 @ 2:00 pm:

    Money Walks, love it or leave it, pal. Goodbye.

  33. - Madison - Wednesday, Sep 26, 12 @ 2:06 pm:

    And even if they choose to walk…the money was in the hands of uncle Sam before you earned it. Consider it a form of eminent domain. You are free to leave if you choose, but the money stays. Politicians like nothing better than taxing those that cannot vote.

  34. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Sep 26, 12 @ 2:08 pm:

    Federal taxes are the lowest they have ever been in most of our lifetimes. That’s why we borrow so much.

    It should be noted, as well, that the last time Congress passed an annual budget was 1997. Since then, it’s been governance by continuing resolution.

  35. - Money Walks - Wednesday, Sep 26, 12 @ 2:30 pm:

    Demoralized- I’m not just defending the rich. As you point out they don’t need me to do so. I’m am defending the top 40% of the tax bracket though.

    I agree that the uber-rich have benefited more than any other class from government policies, whether it is tax breaks, stimulus, quantitative easening or any other thing the federal government does to boost the economy. And that the moderately wealthy ($250k earners) don’t feel the hits like the middle and lower class do.

    I do believe, however, that the infighting, mudslinging, name-calling and pitting of classes against each other is detrimental to everyone and doesn’t do much in the way of boosting confidence in the economy or government in general. And the people that create most of the jobs in the US (not just the gazillionaires, but the top 40%) see this uncertainty and aren’t willing to put their financial security in the line for what looks to be a risky bet.

    There are a lot of unknowns that business owners and entrepreneurs are mindful of (the effect of the affordable care acand tax reform, the value of our currency) and it is hindering their want, or need, to expand operations and get people working again.

    And I do agree with Rich that ultimately, they will have to choose to love it or leave it. I hope, as a country, we will still appeal to the citizens of the world (not just the wealthy) as a place for opportunity and economic freedom.

  36. - Liberty_first - Wednesday, Sep 26, 12 @ 2:30 pm:

    The question about businesses being corrupt in interesting. Exactly what is a corrupt business to the people who believe business is corrupt? Are the referring to cronyism, tax breaks, lobbying, not paying enough? Republicans don’t do well in Illinois because we the candidates are so poor.

  37. - WazUp - Wednesday, Sep 26, 12 @ 2:54 pm:

    Soon the government will run out of other people’s money.

  38. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Sep 26, 12 @ 3:27 pm:


    Nice drive-by comment. I’ve been saying for a long time now that people are simultaneously irritated by the government, AS WELL AS the growing gap in wealth between the haves and the have-nots. All people in the lower and middle classes see is their incomes remaining stagnant while the rich continue to compile more and more wealth.

  39. - capncrunch - Wednesday, Sep 26, 12 @ 3:32 pm:

    “Soon the government will run out of other people’s money.”

    It already has, - that’s why Ben Bernanke is printing all those new dollar bills.

  40. - Palos Park Bob - Wednesday, Sep 26, 12 @ 3:35 pm:

    So it appears that about 60% of the people polled think they should have the government take wealth from those who earned it through work or investment, and “redistribute” it to them without their providing labor or anything of value in return.

    What a surprise!

    I suspect that if you asked them if the government should redistribute THEIR assets to “the poor” without any compensation or anything of value given in return, you may get a very different answer.

    It was said some years ago that perhaps the biggest difference in Americans and Europeans is illustrated when a big limousine passes by. The European angrily cries out “NO ONE should have that much wealth!” The past American admiringly said “EVERYONE should have that much wealth!”

    Americans have become the most economically successful large nation because of this mindset, while economic class mobility in socialist cultures is rare.

    It seems more Americans are now in that “NO ONE should have that much money!” mentality, which explains much of our economic decline.

  41. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 26, 12 @ 3:48 pm:

    ===which explains much of our economic decline. ===

    Another “Blame Americans Firster” heard from.

    I think much of the decline can be explained by the financial bubble bursting.

  42. - capncrunch - Wednesday, Sep 26, 12 @ 4:00 pm:

    “Do you think the federal government should or should not pursue policies that try to reduce the gap between wealthy and less well-off Americans? “

    We’ve been pursuing such policies for the last 80 years. Over that period government benefits have grown from 1%, in 1929, to nearly a fifth of Americans’ income in 2011. About half of us now live in households that receive benefits which consume nearly 66 cents of the federal budget. A few years ago the folks on the left thought it wasn’t fair that only 66% were homeowners so they initiated a policy to expand home ownership. In September 1999, the Clinton Administration urged Fannie Mae Corporation to ease the credit requirements on loans that it would purchase from banks and encouraged banks to extend home mortgages to individuals whose credit was too low to qualify for conventional loans. And that policy is why we are in this mess.

  43. - reformer - Wednesday, Sep 26, 12 @ 4:16 pm:


    Here’s the inconvenient truth that doesn’t fit in your attempt to foist all the blame for the housing bubble on Democrats: In 2004, Pres. Bush came out for zero-down payment mortgages. Do you admit that Bush played some role in the problem?

  44. - wishbone - Wednesday, Sep 26, 12 @ 4:20 pm:

    The top 10% now have 80% of the nation’s wealth. The real problem with that is that they don’t spend enough of their wealth to keep our consumer economy going. It’s simple Economics 101 which, of course, is often disdained in these parts, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true. Getting more spending power into the hands of the 90% who have very little would surprisingly mean more wealth for everyone. But that is that pesky Econ 101 again, and we know that most folks (including a lot of those who post here) have never taken a course in economics.

  45. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Sep 26, 12 @ 4:22 pm:

    Palos Park Bob,

    Your comment is another reason why Republicans don’t always do so well in Illinois. It’s completely tone deaf and based on ideology instead of facts.

  46. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Sep 26, 12 @ 5:31 pm:


    By 2004 the game had started and yes Bush had a hand in it. I did not intend to blame the Dems. I was trying to say that politicians and government bureaucrats went to far in this redistribution game.

  47. - capncrunch - Wednesday, Sep 26, 12 @ 6:33 pm:

    Anonymous was me, I was using a different computer.

  48. - Factory worker - Wednesday, Sep 26, 12 @ 6:40 pm:

    Palos Park Bob must not read anything outside of a Fox News Broadcast. Nearly every Western European country( aka socialist) now has a higher standard of living, lower infant mortality rate, better educational standards, and and an overall index of a better economic life for the vast majority of the population compared to the US. Even the Japanese now work less hours to earn average family income per household and have more time off. Hmmm, 6 weeks of vacation for a German, free health care for a swede, free university for an Italian and higher wages for a Norwegian. Must not be the high tax rate and government spending. It must be dumb luck.

  49. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Sep 26, 12 @ 7:20 pm:

    Anyone who believes that Republicans don’t believe in “redistribution” is delusional.

    How many sons and daughters of millionaires are risking their lives in Afghanistan right now to protect our country, and the continued ability of the super-wealthy to get uber-wealthy?

    Not many, I imagine.

    That, my fellow citizens, is “redistribution.” The only difference being that as much as conservatives like to talk about the “sanctity of human life,” in practical every day terms their economic and social policies tend to value human life very little. More precisely, a human life is worth exactly the wages that life earns, with multi-millionaires worth exponentially more than the life of a minimum wage worker.

    Those upside down, un-American values are precisely why our troops were noticeably absent from Mitt Romney’s convention speech and why neo-cons are so eager to pour American blood on foreign soil. Less dramatically, I’m guessing that the Walton family gives little thought to the uncountable Americans who worked their bodies ragged and to early deaths building our interstate highway system which makes their entire wealth possible.

    Republicans love to talk about folks “pulling themselves up by their bootstraps,” but I’ve yet to meet a conservative wearing homemade boots. Their boots were all made by someone else.

    And of course, the Bootstrap Rule often doesn’t apply to their own kids, especially if they were inheritors themselves.

    The sons and daughters of middle class families, poor families, and immigrant families risk their lives to protect our way of life, and for that, we rightly call them heroes.

    The Über-wealthy do all they can to alter tax laws to their benefit or avoid paying taxes needed to pay for our wars, so that they can make $70 million a year instead of $65 million. And for that, they wrongly call themselves heroes.

  50. - Western Camel - Thursday, Sep 27, 12 @ 10:09 am:

    Amen, Yellow Dog!

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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