Even worse for Democrats, the Saez paper found that “information about inequality also makes respondents trust government less,” decreasing “by nearly twenty percent the share of respondents who ”˜trust government’ most of the time:”
Hence, emphasizing the severity of a social or economic problem appears to undercut respondents’ willingness to trust the government to fix it ”” the existence of the problem could act as evidence of the government’s limited capacity to improve outcomes.
The findings of the Saez group are consistent with Luttig’s. Taken together, they suggest that even if Democrats win the presidency and the Senate in 2016, largely on the basis of favorable demographic trends, the party will confront serious hurdles if it attempts to deliver material support to working men and women and the very poor. Redistribution is in trouble, and that is likely to tie American politics in knots for many years to come.