A note on this. This poll tracks opinion, and of course opinion, regardless of whether it is correct or not, at a certain critical mass shapes policy.
Shaping opinion on either side of the debate is a key goal of idealogs.
In this particular survey there is something of an absurdity not being addressed among the-hard-work-is-the-key-to-riches school in that millions of poor people work very hard and remain poor — relatively speaking.
Automatically, we understand that hard work is no formula in itself for prosperity.
The two most important factors for increasing wealth are education, which allows people to affiliate themselves with larger revenue streams (via organizations) and pre-existing equity or capital, which is leveraged to access more of the money supply. Further, there is social affiliation, but that is usually related to pre-existing wealth.
[note: leveraging assets to access money supply is simply the creation of debt; much of wealth is a function of debt creation, which means payment of interest; most corporations have significant debt — a corporation capitalized at 1.5 B may have as much as 17 B in debt, which must be serviced. This is of course a highly inefficient way of making money, and it is allowed for a small minority of people and businesses with great social costs; its great hope is that consumers will pay more for its services (this was the technique employed by Valiant Pharmaceuticals — they acquired — through debt — drug makers and charged many times more for the drugs — because they needed to pay down their debt; highly inefficient, but for a brief period highly profitable for Valiant. This is an example of massive wealth transfer through the instrument of debt. Nothing really has been added to the social good or even to the economy. There have been massive interest payments to banks, and consumers were subsidizing those interest payments. There were also massive profits for investors in Valiant — until their model was attacked, followed by massive devaluation.]
There are of course other factors that restrain capital growth of the under-educated, capitally and socially constrained American. The main one is the over-investment of the public sector in the private sector. In other words, the use of public wealth to promote growth among private businesses and interests. Approx. $1,000,000,000,000/yr is in some way or other devoted to subsidising businesses in the name of economic growth (GDP) also in the name of other national concerns, such as national security. Much of this is deficit spending — iow, putting America further in debt in order to help businesses with the bottom line.
That investment produces lob-sided rewards. Public wealth is subsidizing private wealth, but the private wealth increase is only among those who were initially capitalized. This is a large part of the vicious cycle that increases the wealth gap.
We could have a more sustainable and balanced economic model. But the interests that benefit from the current model have sufficient political power to a) shape public opinion and b) shape government economic policy..
Public opinion is engineered to such a degree that even those who benefit least from our present system think that is the best system. They believe that the market is free when in fact the market is highly manipulated to advantage a minority — mainly through access to the money supply, but there are other structural imbalances.
There real problem with the American economy paradoxically is that there is too much wealth, a high degree of inefficiency, and a poor distributional mechanism. The inefficiency is evident all around us. Much of it involves excessive investment in infrastructure and objects. The simple truth of the matter is that a certain groups infrastructure and objects come at the expense of a lack of or very sub-standard infrastructure and objects for another group.