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Occupy Wall Street
(Think Progress/yfrog)
Need evidence that Occupy Wall Street is affecting the national dialogue? Here you go.
Two-thirds of likely voters say the American middle class is shrinking, and 55 percent believe income inequality has become a big problem for the country, according to this week’s The Hill Poll. [...]

Majorities across practically all income levels, and all political, philosophical and racial lines agreed that the middle class is being reduced, while the bulk of respondents in each category thought income inequality was at least a moderate concern. [...]

Perhaps not surprisingly, 94 percent of liberal respondents to The Hill Poll saw income inequality as either a big problem or somewhat of one. But 55 percent of conservatives and 81 percent of centrists came to that conclusion as well.

At least 40 percent of each income group saw income inequality as a big problem as well, and 65 percent of respondents making at least $100,000 a year viewed it as a big or somewhat big issue.

Occupy Wall Street created those numbers, that's likely how a majority of Americans have felt for quite a while. That message had a hard time getting through all the din from deficit hysteria.

But what Occupy Wall Street has achieved is to get The Hill Poll, and every other polling outfit, asking the question. Since this was The Hill Poll, the news might even trickle up to elected types on Capitol Hill soon.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Mon Oct 31, 2011 at 08:48 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  WTF?... (15+ / 0-)
    Perhaps not surprisingly, 94 percent of liberal respondents to The Hill Poll saw income inequality as either a big problem or somewhat of one. But 55 percent of conservatives and 81 percent of centrists came to that conclusion as well.

    Can somebody please explain what a "centrist" is?

    I thought a centrist was a strictly Beltway phenomenon where sanctimonious blowhards ride the fence in order to protect their false equivalence memes.

    I was not aware there are "centrists" out in the real world.

    When Fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in excess body fat and carrying a misspelled sign.

    by wyvern on Mon Oct 31, 2011 at 08:57:41 AM PDT

    •  There Aren't; Isn't the Hill Based in DC? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wyvern, happymisanthropy, opinionated

      Centrists are rightwingers who are OK with gays, abortions and medical care.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Mon Oct 31, 2011 at 09:04:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Are you seroius? Did you really not know that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jdmorg, Catte Nappe

      there are lots and lots of centrists all across the country? Surely your comment is snark.

      Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

      by JTinDC on Mon Oct 31, 2011 at 09:41:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The snark is.. (5+ / 0-) thinking there are actually people in America who conduct a perfect balancing act between Obama & the uhinged  psychos in congress.

        Or, a better example, that there are actually people in America who like Rush Limbaugh & Thom Hartmann equally.

        "Hello everybody, I'm a centrist.

        "I am split equally between Rush Limbaugh & Thom Hartmann; 50/50 on Keith Olbermann & Bill O'Reilly.

        "I perceive no cognitive dissonance between right wing hatemongers' side of the story & a purveyor of truth's side of the story.

        "I am capable of perfectly marrying the two views because I am an evolved species...I am a centrist."


        When Fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in excess body fat and carrying a misspelled sign.

        by wyvern on Mon Oct 31, 2011 at 09:59:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Wow. You'd be well-served to step outside (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Catte Nappe, Shockwave, opinionated

          the echo chamber once in a while.

          I agree that the idea of centrists would seem to be a non-stop festival of cognitive dissonances, but the fact of the matter is that a lot of people take pride in (misguidely so IMO) accepting that both left and right have valid POVs and neither left nor right should be summarily dismissed.

          Personally, I think these people are idiots, but they do exist. And there are a lot of them. They consider themselves very principled and independent thinkers. Which I find amusing. They're principled idiots. And they vote.

          Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

          by JTinDC on Mon Oct 31, 2011 at 10:17:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  The centrists I know (4+ / 0-)

          Most don't actually know who any of those people are. If they know the names it's only vaguely - they don't watch/listen. They get their news and views from network news, not cable; maybe the local paper; and from their friends in the break room at work. They are fairly likely to label members of both parties as crooks and liars. Their positions on issues are....sort of centrist. And lacking in a full understanding of the details. For example, they would like health care coverage to be more comprehensive, but not a government run single payer system, but they distrust Obamacare which is actually an attempt to thread that needle. They were gung-ho for the Afghanistan war, not too thrilled about Iraq, and want them both to be over yesterday. They are loosely pro-choice, but don't like the idea of abortion being too readily available, fearing it would be used as birth control for casual promiscuous sex. They embrace the separation of church and state but don't think it an entirely bad thing for children to be taught a religiously based moral code in school. Etc.

          from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

          by Catte Nappe on Mon Oct 31, 2011 at 11:37:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The fallacy is the idea that "Centrist" (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Melanie in IA, Catte Nappe, Matt Z

            means halfway between the extremes.

            it's not a linear scale. And most people don't understand non-linear relationships. So the argument to many people, seems to be, well, Food Stamps: "you want a lot of people to get them, I want none, so we'll compromise on half the people get them who are qualified"

            the question is really "do we have a food stamps program or don't we"? It's a policy question. So being "centrist" means being "not extreme" in policy matters, but compromising in how it plays out in actual practice is another matter.

            When you are dealing with Teabaggers and people who have a dogma of "No Compromise, no surrender, that violates our principles" It is largely impossible to take a reasoned centrist position. It's winner take all. and that's all it can be to people who see life in Black and White, when life is shades of gray....

            If Black and White were the norm, we wouldn't need judges at all, would we. the law is the law. Who needs to exercise "judgment"?

            Without geometry, life is pointless. And blues harmonica players suck.

            by blindcynic on Mon Oct 31, 2011 at 09:50:12 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Depends on the individual, I would reccon. (5+ / 0-)

      Some who consider themselves centrists are conservative Democrats who also think that by being conservative and a Democrat that they are somehow in the perfect middle of American opinion, regardless of what polling of Americans reveal.

      Others who idenfity themselves as centrists are people who like liberal ideas but listen to Republicans and Fox News so damn much that they've been brainwashed that liberalism is evil, and thus they're afraid to get too close to liberalism.

    •  wyvern, a "Centrist" is somebody who votes..... (3+ / 0-)

      Democrat and believes in those policies, but is ashamed of being called a Liberal (out loud). LOL

      Republicans only care about themselves, their money, & their power.

      by jdmorg on Mon Oct 31, 2011 at 10:14:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Obama is a centrist n/t (0+ / 0-); an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action 48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam

      by Shockwave on Mon Oct 31, 2011 at 07:51:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  A centrist (0+ / 0-)

      is someone somewhat to the left of today's Democratic House member, Senator, or President.

      Proud supporter of the drug-addled, f***ing retarded professional left.

      by Kall on Tue Nov 01, 2011 at 03:54:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  We Need a Better Term Than "Inequality" (4+ / 0-)

    As I just commented in another diary.

    Something that's both more motivational and reflective of a better economic balance without as much susceptibility to suspicion of Communism as a goal.

    I realize the right will call us Communists regardless but if we're using terminology resonant and motivational for most Americans the smear won't stick as easily.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Oct 31, 2011 at 09:03:59 AM PDT

    •  Isn't that what being a 99% says? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      We are all either a member of the 99% or the 1%.  By definition.  

      Democrats - We represent America!

      by phonegery on Mon Oct 31, 2011 at 10:09:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Meh (3+ / 0-)

      I think that it really doesn't matter. Frank Luntz is effective at generating cute phrases that stick to people that aren't paying attention, but those days are fast receding in the rear-view mirror.

      Things are changing and people are paying attention. You can't call a working man a communist after he's been forced out of his home and made to collect safety net benefits. The power of those tactics wanes as more people realize that they are being directed at them instead of one of those "other" people.

      I would think this means that more Americans will be disinclined to latch onto cute slogans and more willing to study the issues at hand.

      People understand they are getting screwed by the rich and a I don't believe that a keyword here and there is going to change their minds.

    •  Not sure what to use (0+ / 0-)

      inequity is really close to inequality.  Differential is way too accountingesque.  

      What we are creating is an American Aristocracy.  Can a monarchy be far behind?

      #Occupy Wallstreet - Politicians will not support the movement until it is too big to fail.

      by Sychotic1 on Mon Oct 31, 2011 at 10:21:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Just goes to show (15+ / 0-)

    how much more difficult "setting the media agenda" is when you don't have corporate billions behind you.

    Instead you have to sleep outside on the ground in lots of cities across the country for an extended period of time.

    Anybody in the media see anything wrong with this picture?

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Mon Oct 31, 2011 at 09:04:38 AM PDT

  •  Questions are finally being asked... (8+ / 0-)

    but whether we'll get any real answers is what many are waiting to see.

    "...that's likely how a majority of Americans have felt for quite a while."

    A good point that our so-called "Silent Majority" has finally wised up and realized silence does get anything accomplished.

    “And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

    by JMoore on Mon Oct 31, 2011 at 09:05:57 AM PDT

  •  Please, Please, Please (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy, lanman04

    Don't let the Super Committee get shit done.

    God forbid, Max Baucus get all "Crazy Batshit Centristy" and cross over to join with the GOP in approving some godawful austerity package with Democratic fingerprints all over it.

    It would be just our luck to have massive entitlement cuts have Democratic fingerprints on them just as OWS changes the national discussion in America.

    If the GOPers had a brain between them, they would see just how suicidal it is for Democrats to be proposing massive austerity for a modest tax or revenue increase/bribe, and agree to some embarassingly small fig leaf revenue increase and then stick the Democrats with out-wingnutting Simpson-Bowles on the Social Safety Net right as OWS becomes the paradigm.

    •  Knowing that the Right has no shame (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I'm betting that the reward for the Super Committee passing anything will be a shitstorm of commercials attacking the Democratic Party from the Left on Social Security/Medicare/Medicaid for our troubles.

      I bet Fox News suddenly discovers a newfound respect for OWS protester interviews if they can rub massive safety net cuts in their faces with glee.

      At least the OWS people know who the real bad guys are.

      It took me months to undue GOP bullshit about Medicare cuts in 2010 with my elderly relatives.

      It's not like we live in a nation filled with people who have any fucking clue who is really fucking them over, and we have the perfect news media to forget all about Paul Ryan and suddenly cast the GOP as the "Great Defenders" of the social safety net.

  •  Has anyone looked at that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tiggers thotful spot, Matt Z

    comment section to that Hill story?


  •  Just goes to show how good Repub (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ontario, Matt Z

    propaganda is... people agree the current system is unfair, think it should be taxing higher those who make more money... but are equally split on which party has the best proposals.

  •  According to the CIA, we are 3rd world... (5+ / 0-)

    ...when it comes to income equality.  There are 98 countries with more income equality than the United States.

    How is this possible and how does this not lead to unrest?

    We are the 99% and we will win.; an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action 48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam

    by Shockwave on Mon Oct 31, 2011 at 07:57:22 PM PDT

    •  It is destabilizing. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ChadmanFL, Shockwave, ontario, Matt Z

      But not quite to the levels it could be.

      I think hunger and malnutrition play a role in political unrest, it just hasn't happened here yet.  When there was a time in America when it did, and there were a lot of people who thought communism was a reasonable alternative.

      Hunger is an interesting factor in political systems.  North Korea has extreme famines that produce passivity.

      Nixon made it a top priority, that it should never be made into a political issue.

      In the context of OWS, I think the hunger is more in line with the tangible perception of gross unfairness.  That we're living off of economic crumbs, that have fallen to the floor by the 1%.

      I seriously don't see any of it changing until policy makers (whoever the fuck those "deciders" really are) are enlightened by a perception of fear, that perhaps they're not as well insulated as they once thought.  I think some of it is starting to sink in.  The dialogue has changed.  The endless discussion of austerity is over (for now).

      It's the inequality, stupid.

      by Boberto on Mon Oct 31, 2011 at 08:38:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My employer jacked up health insurance about 20% (3+ / 0-)

    My employer just informed of us of our health insurance increases for 2012.  They're going up just over 20%.  And this is working for a large company with tens of thousands of workers that gets good rates for us.  I still can't complain since my premiums will still be lower than at least 80-90% of the population, but it still hurts.  

    Thankfully healthcare reform will improve things.  Oh wait...

    •  Lucky you. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ChadmanFL, Liberal Of Limeyland

      Try 63% here.

      •  And that's why single-payer is inevitable (3+ / 0-)

        A healthcare system where costs are increasing >20%, and in some cases like yours even >60% every year only ensures the entire system will collapse.  The % of uninsured will continue to skyrocket every year as more people forego insurance altogether.  And without health insurance you get more people flooding ER's with no intent on ever paying and as a result of that the few who do have insurance keep paying more.  

        It's a constant cycle that can only end with the entire system collapsing.  I think that's why so many, even on the left, have issues with Obama's HCR.  It just props up the private system, delaying the inevitable real reform.

    •  Crickets. (3+ / 0-)

      That was the sound of the Democratic pols holding out for a nationalized system in the richest country in the free world.
      Even though the GAO said it was the only viable vehicle for beginning a dramatic drop in ballooning costs.
      Not to mention that for 'the general welfare' of the people that is way out front in the Constitution. It's so yesterday to mention that word about weal. It means queen and coffee maker and refrigerator post St. Ron and his gloriFoxication, doesn't it?

  •  To truly understand income inequality, in depth,( (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    watch this Richard Wilkinson video, "The Spirit Level" .  
     | wish that Chris Hedges/Richard Wilkinson would team up. To me, Wilkinson is just as important as Hedges, if not more so, to finding the way ahead.

    Please watch a video of Richard Wilkinson regarding his book with Kate Pickett, "The Spirit Level".

    Wilkinson is a  British epidemiologist whose research led him to understand the effects of heightened income inequalities in developped societies, damaging the quality of life and social fabric for everyone. The US, and its individual states too, fare the worst against 30 or so developped countries on a whole host of social measurements. Truly shows the deleterious effect of huge income disparities.

    His findings are what is behind the OWS movement, and if they are unable to be specific about their aims, Wilkinson's book will help every participant find their answers. It is almost a roadmap for remaking society

    If Sweden, Finland, Norway are among the healthiest, safest, most trusting, best educated, low crime, fewest teen pregnancies, less mental illness, less drug use, longer life, lower infant mortality societies etc. etc, , why not find out what they do. This book shows you.

    Please take the time, I beg you,  to watch the video.

    Here are three more important links on his work.

    The video presenter is Ed Broadbent, a former leader of the New Democratic Party in Canada.

    I intend to post this same comment on as many threads as I can, hoping that more and more people begin to watch Wilkinson for themselves, and make thier own judgements.

    Please try to inform as many folks as you can of his work and the links, and please leave some feedback notes.

    Maybe we need a Wilkinson Group on

    "...stories of past courage can define that ingredient..... But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul." JFK Profiles in Courage

    by ontario on Mon Oct 31, 2011 at 09:59:00 PM PDT

  •  There has to be a better word (0+ / 0-)

    ..better "framing" than "Inequality."

    Talk about the "widening gap" or play the "unfair" card.

    May the poetry of your life never be beaten into mere prose.

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Mon Oct 31, 2011 at 10:01:35 PM PDT

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