Amid Time of Soaring Inequality, Rich Say: The Poor Have It Easy

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Amid Time of Soaring Inequality, Rich Say: The Poor Have It Easy

Oxfam International's Winnie Byanyima says political leaders will ignore inequality at their own peril.

America's most financially secure were more likely to say that the poor "have it easy." (Photo: Dean Chahim/flickr/cc)

According to the nation's richest people, the poor have it easy.

Fifty-four percent of survey respondents categorized as the most financially secure said "poor people today have it easy because they can get government benefits without doing anything in return," newly released findings by the Pew Research Center show.

Of the next most financially secure group, 57 percent agreed with that sentiment, while just 29 percent of those categorized as the least financially secure did.

Sixty percent of those at the bottom economic rung also said that the "government should do more to help the needy."

Forty-six percent of those most financially secure said that corporations were raking in too much profit, compared to 65 percent of those least financially secure who thought so.

But inequality—which has reached levels not seen since the 1820s—remains a top concern globally, and citizens see governments as key in addressing the issue, a separate poll found.

GlobeScan and Oxfam International polled 24,000 citizens across two dozen countries, and found that poverty and homelessness continue to be seen as major concerns.

The poll also found that an average of 80 percent rated economic inequality as at least somewhat serious, with 59 percent saying that the government should be at the helm of addressing the issue.

"This poll is powerful evidence that, all over the world, the public clamor to tackle inequality and poverty is growing and hardening by the day," stated Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director, Oxfam International. "Our political and business leaders will ignore this at their peril."

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