Money, money, money. Is hard work enough to get rich? Chung Sung-Jun / Getty images

Why are people rich?

Jana Kasperkevic May 2, 2017
Money, money, money. Is hard work enough to get rich? Chung Sung-Jun / Getty images

What’s the key to getting rich? Well, it depends on whom you ask.

If you ask Republicans, chances are that they will tell you that rich people work harder than other people. That Republicans believe in bootstrapping is nothing new. However, the number of Republicans who say hard work is key to getting rich and that poor people aren’t working hard enough has increased over the past couple of years, according to a new poll by Pew Research Center.

WIdening gap between Republicans and Democrats on why people are rich and poor

“By about three-to-one (66 percent to 21 percent), Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say hard work, rather than a person’s advantages, has more to do with why someone is rich,” wrote Samantha Smith, a research assistant at Pew Research Center. “By nearly as wide a margin, Democrats and Democratic leaners say the opposite: 60 percent say a person is rich because they had more advantages than others, while just 29 percent say it is because they have worked harder.”
Republicans say people are rich – and poor – because of their own efforts; Democrats more likely to point to a person's circumstances and advantages

Many Americans feel that circumstances out of their control, including the U.S. economic system, have played a role in how well they are doing. More than 74 percent of Americans believe that the economic system in the U.S. is rigged in favor of certain groups, according to a new Marketplace-Edison Research Poll. Just 23.4 percent of those surveyed said that the economic system is fair to all Americans.

The shrinking middle class and growing income inequality were hot topics during the 2016 presidential election. Donald Trump himself blamed the “rigged” system and promised to fix it when elected president.

“Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it,” Trump said at the Republican National Convention. “I have seen firsthand how the system is rigged against our citizens, just like it was rigged against Bernie Sanders — he never had a chance. But his supporters will join our movement, because we will fix his biggest issue: trade deals that strip our country of its jobs and wealth. Millions of Democrats will join our movement, because we are going to fix the system so it works fairly, and justly, for each and every American.”

We are now more than 100 days into Trump’s presidency, and according to the Marketplace-Edison poll, only 43 percent of Americans approve of the way Trump is handling the U.S. economy.

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