Class War?: What Americans Really Think about Economic Inequality

Paperback | April 30, 2009

byBenjamin I. Page

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Recent battles in Washington over how to fix America’s fiscal failures strengthened the widespread impression that economic issues sharply divide average citizens. Indeed, many commentators split Americans into two opposing groups: uncompromising supporters of unfettered free markets and advocates for government solutions to economic problems. But such dichotomies, Benjamin Page and Lawrence Jacobs contend, ring false. In Class War? they present compelling evidence that most Americans favor free enterprise and practical government programs to distribute wealth more equitably.

At every income level and in both major political parties, majorities embrace conservative egalitarianism—a philosophy that prizes individualism and self-reliance as well as public intervention to help Americans pursue these ideals on a level playing field. Drawing on hundreds of opinion studies spanning more than seventy years, including a new comprehensive survey, Page and Jacobs reveal that this worldview translates to broad support for policies aimed at narrowing the gap between rich and poor and creating genuine opportunity for all. They find, for example, that across economic, geographical, and ideological lines, most Americans support higher minimum wages, improved public education, wider access to universal health insurance coverage, and the use of tax dollars to fund these programs.

In this surprising and heartening assessment, Page and Jacobs provide our new administration with a popular mandate to combat the economic inequity that plagues our nation.

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Recent battles in Washington over how to fix America’s fiscal failures strengthened the widespread impression that economic issues sharply divide average citizens. Indeed, many commentators split Americans into two opposing groups: uncompromising supporters of unfettered free markets and advocates for government solutions to economic p...

Benjamin I. Page is the Gordon Scott Fulcher Professor of Decision Making in the Department of Political Science at Northwestern University. Lawrence R. Jacobs is the Walter F. and Joan Mondale Chair and director of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the Hubert Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:160 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.4 inPublished:April 30, 2009Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226644553

ISBN - 13:9780226644554

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Table of Contents

Preface
Chapter 1.  No Class War
Chapter 2.  Caring about Economic Inequality
Chapter 3.  Looking to Government for Help
Chapter 4.  Paying the Bill
Chapter 5.  Will Policy Makers Respond?
Appendix: The Inequality Survey
Notes
Index