Millionaires say inequality a problem, support higher taxes to fix it

Many U.S. millionaires support raising the minimum wage to offset deepening income inequality, according to a new poll.
(Alex Wong / Getty Images)

A majority of U.S. millionaires think rising income inequality is a “major problem” and almost two-thirds favor increasing taxes on the wealthy and raising the minimum wage to reverse the trend, according to a new survey.

However, the views of the wealthy on these hot-button topics vary significantly by political affiliation, suggesting millionaires are as split as the rest of the country between Democratic and Republican beliefs, according to the poll by financial news channel CNBC.

For example, 51% of all millionaires surveyed believe inequality is a problem. But while 86% of Democrats are worried about the nation’s sizable income gap, only 1 in 5 Republicans share the concern.

Two-thirds of Republicans say anyone who works hard can become wealthy, according to the poll. Only one quarter of Democrats think that’s true.

Nearly 4 in 5 Democrats support higher taxes for the wealthy and a boost in the minimum wage. Barely 3 in 10 Republicans favor higher taxes and less than 4 in 10 approve of a wage hike.


One area of agreement among millionaires of all stripes: 94% believe the American Dream remains achievable for all.

As for defining the American Dream itself, 45% answered “prosperity and upward mobility through hard work.” Another 18% defined it as “spiritual and temporal happiness more than material goods.” Among those with $5 million or more, 63% defined it as material. A mere 4% said it’s spiritual.

CNBC surveyed 514 people across the nation who have investable assets of $1 million or more. That represents the top 8% of American households, CNBC said.