Millionaires & Billionaires

Millionaires 'concerned' about inequality


Most millionaires are concerned about inequality, and nearly half support a higher minimum wage and more taxes on the rich, according to a new survey.

The survey, from PNC Wealth Management, found that 64 percent of millionaires are "concerned" about economic inequality in America, and about half of those millionaires are "extremely concerned."

Yet millionaires see themselves as part of the solution to inequality rather than a cause.

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Fully 49 percent support raising the minimum wage, compared with 38 percent who oppose an increase. A surprising 44 percent of them support raising taxes "on the top income earners," versus 41 percent who oppose.

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And when it comes to other solutions, 69 percent say they support charities focused on poverty and hunger in the U.S., while 64 percent said they support scholarship and other educational opportunities for low-income children.

"These findings show the wealthy realize that our society is better when everyone is in the game and earningand that economic inequality can have negative consequences," said Thomas P. Melcher, executive vice president and head of Hawthorn, PNC's family office.

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Indeed, the survey seems to contradict the popular narrative these days that the rich have become a self-interested oligarchy with Washington in its pocket. The survey found that 31 percent of millionaires have given to a political party, and only about 10 percent give $1,000 or more.

Granted, people sometimes tell pollsters what they think they should say, rather than what they actually think or do. And the very rich—billionaires or those with eight-figure fortunes—might respond differently. Someone with $1 million in assets might support higher taxes on top earners because they're not a top earner.

In this poll, which was conducted in September, 476 people were surveyed who had $1 million or more in assets.

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Still, the survey reinforces earlier surveys that show that millionaires are more like the rest of the voting population in their views on inequality and raising taxes at the top.