The December issue of Commentary has an article by William Voegeli that runs under the headline "Americans Don't Hate the Rich." The ones who do hate the rich, the article explains, are journalists and professors jealous that their college and private school classmates are making so much more money than they are. The rest of America, meanwhile, is jealous that public employees are making so much more money than they are:
I have an unproven, untested, and perhaps untestable hypothesis for why so many middle- and working-class Americans confound liberals by siding, often angrily, with the Stinking Rich against the Beneficent Reformers. It is that Bonnie Snodgrass's version of the trickle-down theory, in which tax increases supposed to be confined to the prosperous are going to wind up imposed on the precarious, is more broadly applicable and resonant. In this view, the "principle" that rich people should be forced to surrender some of their wealth, just because they are deemed to have too much, is eventually going to justify policies that force non-rich people to surrender some of their wealth, just because....Every redistributive scheme, by the same token, rests on the planted axiom that private property is only provisionally and transiently private.
The Commentary article also cites an American Prospect piece:
In "Don't Blame the Billionaires," Dalton Conley, a New York University social scientist, argued that economic inequality is "epiphenomenal," a "luxury" people worry about in the absence of more pressing matters. He cited one study showing that "while for Europeans, inequality truly makes them less happy, in the United States only the moods of rich leftists are adversely affected."
Conley urged liberals to focus on what really matters: "It's the fate of the middle and lower classes that should concern progressives, not how many private jets the super rich can afford." Decrying "inequality in and of itself" is a "losing proposition" politically, one that "distracts from the real issue," which should be "maximizing opportunity for all."