61% of U.S. Voters Think Rich Entrepreneurs are Good for the Economy

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You may sometimes wonder whether Americans hate the rich.  With all the TV air time given to tax increases vs tax cuts for the wealthy that politicians love to argue over, it would not be surprising to get that impression.

Entrepreneurs take their money and reinvest it into their companies, benefiting the whole economy.  They have often made their wealth creating jobs and prosperity (example: entrepreneur Mark Zuckerberg, pictured above).

But one may wonder – does the average American understand this vital role?  Does the average American think rich —  including the very rich, as in billionaire rich — entrepreneurs are actually good for the economy?

Fortunately, it now appears that most Americans do “get it” as far as the relationship between jobs, a steadily growing economy and entrepreneurship. Sixty-one percent of likely U.S. voters believe letting entrepreneurs get rich is good for the economy, said a recent national phone survey by Rasmussen Reports. Only 13 percent of those surveyed say they believe entrepreneurs getting rich is not good for the economy and actually hurts it.

Ten percent of those surveyed believe entrepreneurs becoming wealthy from their investments and efforts has no impact on the economy one way or the other. Another 18 percent of those surveyed say they are unsure what effect entrepreneurs or small business owners’ earnings have on the economy.

The report also found 49 percent of those surveyed felt it is “very fair” for successful businessmen to grow rich from their efforts.

The survey looked at 1,000 likely voters nationwide surveyed by phone between May 1 and 2, 2013. Among questions asked were, “How fair is it that people who build very successful companies become very rich?” And, “Does letting people who build successful companies and become rich help the economy, hurt the economy, or have no impact on the economy?”


Image: still from Facebook media video


Shawn Hessinger Shawn Hessinger is the Executive Editor for Small Business Trends and a professional journalist with more than 20 years experience in traditional and digital media for trade publications and news sites. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and has served as a beat reporter, columnist, editorial writer, bureau chief and managing editor for the Berks Mont Newspapers.

6 Reactions
  1. Shawn, thanks so much for the post. I thought most Americans were a tad economically illiterate, but this proves their not. It’s refreshing to hear good news about people’s beliefs.

  2. Mr. Hessinger, thank you for this informative, engaging and well researched article.
    I am very heartened by the fairly high numbers of the populace who are finally “getting it” that there is nothing inherently wrong with entrepreneurs getting rich from their efforts.

    I look forward to the time when the below statistic findings will be higher>>>
    “The report also found 49 percent of those surveyed felt it is “very fair” for successful businessmen to grow rich from their efforts.”

    Thank you again.

    Yvonne Finn

  3. Despite the professed dislike of the rich, look at the frenzy that arises every time the lottery jackpots get large. They may hate the rich, but they want to join their ranks if possible.

  4. Shawn,

    The survey results breathe fresh air. It’s a worldwide sentiment that rich people are bad people. I can’t really blame people thinking that way – many rich people are becoming rich at the cost of others.

    However, people seem to forget that there are also hard working, self-made millionaires and billionaires who are becoming rich without costing anything to others – some of them, in fact, are the most generous people in the world who give (often a lot) back to the community.

    So, yes – more successful, role-model entrepreneurs means a great thing for the economy!

  5. We should not envy the rich people. After all they work hard through their blood, sweat and tears while most of poor people would rather laze around and do nothing. And it is the rich who can help the poor and not the other way round.

    Yes, I fully agree that rich entrepreneurs are good for the economy through paying higher taxes, doing corporate social responsiblity, charity and such.

  6. I am not sure it is as much about hatred of the rich as much as it is as the decimation of the middle class while the wealth benefit. Entrepreneurs hold the public perception of promise of a brighter future, even when so many businesses fail within a few years. That perception may give a better halo effect for those associated with start ups. I am sure that perception declines with success – interesting that 49% that businessmen being successful is ok, versus the 61% for “entrepreneurs”, which the word implies a starting out in business, that hope I am referring to.