Reading Comprehension
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Common Information

On the whole, the American population has very little taste for income redistribution as economic policy. Beginning in the 1930s, public opinion polls have rarely shown strong support for income redistribution; during times of economic hardship, the percentage of Americans in favor of such a system has barely crested 50 percent. Similarly, Americans have been reluctant to press for a limit on the profits of big corporations, with less than a third of those polled in the 20 year span between 1950 and 1970 favouring such a policy.

Even during the Depression, the populace was reluctant to embrace income redistribution as a solution to the country’s woes. In 1939, over 60 percent of respondents indicated that the government should not increase taxes on the wealthy and an overwhelming majority—over 80 percent—rejected the idea of the government confiscating wealth. Clearly, the American spirit of Lockean liberalism and rugged individualism runs deep. It appears that most people are content to trust income distribution to the private market.

Of course, while overall support for income distribution remains low on average, there are some significant differences in levels of support based on income levels. As expected, those in the lowest income bracket demonstrate the strongest support for employment and income maintenance programs. However, contrary to expectations, these differences in support were not largest during the volatile economic times of the 1930s and 1940s. Rather, the documented differences in support based on income have been relatively stable over time. On the whole, political scientists have noticed anywhere from a 22 percent to 34 percent difference between the opinions of those classified as "prosperous" and those classified as "poor" on the question of income redistribution.

Q.

Common Information Question: 2/4

The passage states that differences in support for governmental income redistribution policies:

 A.

defied expectations by showing that those in lower income brackets had less support for these programs than those in higher income brackets

 B.

vary greatly depending the income level of respondents and the economic conditions at the time the poll is taken

 C.

are not, for the most part, significantly affected by outside influences

 D.

are not significantly different due to the American ideal of rugged individualism

 E.

are based solely on differences in the income levels of respondents

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Solution:
Option(C) is correct

This is a supporting idea question. The question asks about "differences" in support, so look in the last paragraph. The author states "However, contrary to expectations, these differences in support were not largest during the volatile economic times of the 1930s and 1940s.

Rather, the documented differences in support based on income have been relatively stable over time." If the differences are stable over time, they are not significantly affected by outside influences, making choice C correct.

Choice A is wrong because the differences were contrary to expectations because they did not vary with the economic conditions, not because of income levels.

Choice B is the opposite of what the passage says.

Choice D quotes the wrong part of the passage and makes an assertion that is not stated in the passage.

Choice E is too strong because it states that differences are based "solely" on income.


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