Or pretty easy...
We are culturally pretty liberal (albeit with some mama's boys on the sidelines reserving their right to tell everyone else how to live). We are economically pretty conservative (with the mama's boys active in the movement "MoreForMe,LessForYou" that works both sides of the issue. And "Less for you" turns out to be as important psychologically as "More for me.")
John Cassidy explores the national issue of "income redistribution" -- a phrase that strikes me as overkill when used as a stand-in for raising taxes on the top ten percent. Maybe it's the use of that commie-sounding phrase that causes people to jump back and assure their gated friends that they're not commies-- that they're real Americans with humble aspirations, not pitchforks. The way Cassidy puts it makes us sound kind of sicko, doesn't it?
For instance, a 2010 study by Nathan J. Kelly, of the University of Tennessee, and Peter K. Enns, of Cornell University, concluded, “When inequality in America rises, the public responds with increased conservative sentiment.” In a 2013 paper by Matthew Luttig, of the University of Minnesota, backed up this finding, noting, “the absolute level and the changing structure of inequality have largely been a force promoting conservatism, not increasing support for redistribution as theoretically expected.” ...NewYorker
As they tug respectfully on their forelocks, etc.
When it comes to affordable healthcare for the peasants, look at who's complaining, for crying out loud. It's senior citizens, comfortably surrounded by soft cushions of Medicare. Nice (not).
But not all of us are disgusted by economic justice. Those of us who see money as no more sacred than people (real persons, not corporations) tend to be at ease with "fairness." Over the years we have shifted views on "redistribution," depending on how the economy is faring at the time. Recessions tend to make people who have bucks more tight-fisted.
So where are we now?
... It isn’t enough to simply point to the rise in inequality and expect an outpouring of mass support for any and all liberal policies. The argument for each proposal has to be made on its own terms, and Americans still show little enthusiasm for anything that smacks of welfare. Would-be reformers also need to avoid alienating seniors, whose declining support for redistributive measures probably reflects a fear that such policies would come at their expense, in the form of cuts to Social Security and Medicare. Still, the polling data shows that a healthy majority of Americans believe that income and wealth should be more evenly distributed, and that a smaller, but steady, majority believe that the current situation justifies heavier taxes on the rich. That surely gives the Democrats something to work with.
It all comes down to individual policies. In the cases of the estate tax, the “carried interest” deduction enjoyed by hedge-fund managers and private equity, and other loopholes that benefit the very wealthy, would-be reformers can appeal to the voters’ sense of fair play, which remains undiminished. In seeking to expand support for working families—for example, by expanding the earned-income tax credit—progressives can appeal to the widespread sympathy for the working poor. When presented in general or ideological terms, redistribution has always been a tough sell. But when the debate gets down to specific proposals, redistributive arguments can still win out. ...NewYorker
Obamacare is unpopular; the ACA is welcomed warmly.
When Fox News is on, decency doesn't have a chance. But when you return to your real life, decency is what makes life meaningful ... and honorable... and just plain worth living.