Should incomes be "more equal"?

“The term ‘income inequality’ is deceptive. It is used to imply that income equality is the norm and anything else is abnormal and harmful to society.”  Income Inequality and Legal Plunder

“Equality alone is not enough to justify income redistribution. Proponents of income redistribution have failed to provide a real world impact of income inequality that would justify such “legal plunder,” to use the phrase of Frédéric Bastiat.”

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Bert Perry's picture

I am currently using the reality of income inequality to illustrate to my eight year old son why he needs to learn to read well and enjoy it--noting that if he doesn't do so, he's going to be stuck in a series of dead end jobs.  So count me as a huge fan of some degree of income inequality--it can and does act as an incentive to do the right thing.  To apply my example to a different situation, it is not an accident that historically literate people like Jews (and to a lesser degree, Protestants in the Puritan/Separationist churches) tend to do very well economically and in society.  

But to my point more directly, I do not think people object to inequality of income as much as they object to the idea that the game is rigged.  Do I mind the fact that the Mayo brothers got rich by saving lives, that the Fords got rich making cars, or that Michael Jordan got rich with what he could do with a basketball?  No way.   I owe my life, at least three times, to the advances in surgery the Mayos and others pioneered, drive a reliable vehicle every day that still owes a lot to Ford, and had great joy in watching the poetry in motion that was Mr. Jordan on the basketball court.

What I object to is the idea that government will--overtly through subsidies or quietly through regulation--favor certain players in the market over others.  I think that Christians can, and ought to, object to these places where the game truly is rigged.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.