RedistributionofWealthAre you a fan of redistribution? Do you think those with more money should willingly or unwillingly spread the wealth? Do you believe the government should step in and help with the redistribution process? Well, economist Donald Boudreaux has a few questions for you.

    • Do you teach your children to envy what other children have? Do you encourage your children to form gangs with their playmates to “redistribute” toys away from richer kids on the schoolyard toward kids not so rich? If not, what reason have you to suppose that envy and “redistribution” become acceptable when carried out on a large scale by government?

  • Do you not worry that creating government power today to take from Smith and give to Jones — simply because Smith has more material wealth than Jones — might eventually be abused so that tomorrow, government takes from Jones and gives to Smith simply because Smith is more politically influential than Jones?
  • You allege that great differences in incomes are psychologically harmful to poor people even if these poor people are, by historical standards, quite wealthy. So how do you explain the great demand of very poor immigrants to come to America — where these immigrants are relatively much poorer than they are in their native lands?
  • Would you prefer to live in a society in which everyone’s annual income is $50,000 or in a society with an average annual income of $75,000 but in which annual incomes range from $10,000 to $1 million? And regardless of the choice you would make, do you think others who choose differently are in error?

Read more questions at “Questions for redistribution’s proponents” at TribLive.com.

 

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  • Bill Hickman

    “If not, what reason have you to suppose that envy and “redistribution” become acceptable when carried out on a large scale by government?”

    I think this is an odd question. Does Boudreaux think changing property law from arrangement A to arrangement B is akin to theft? By that logic, then isn’t creating property law arrangement A an act of theft in the first place?

    “Would you prefer to live in a society in which everyone’s annual income is $50,000 or in a society with an average annual income of $75,000 but in which annual incomes range from $10,000 to $1 million?”

    These two examples seem highly arbitrary. Why is there no third choice in which everyone earns $1 million and owns 10 acres? But I would choose the second option, as long as it came with national health care, a robust public education system, a universal basic income, a progressive income tax, and a land tax.

    • Enrico Sanna

      In a free world, property is the outcome of production, not arrangement, nor theft.
      How can you have national health care, robust education system and basic income, whatever that means, if not through theft? What is an income tax and a land tax if not theft?

  • Enrico Sanna

    From the Evangelii Gaudium:

    “204. We can no longer trust in the unseen forces and the invisible hand of the market. Growth in justice requires more than economic growth, while presupposing such growth: it requires decisions, programmes, mechanisms and processes specifically geared to a better distribution of income, the creation of sources of employment and an integral promotion of the poor which goes beyond a simple welfare mentality. I am far from proposing an irresponsible populism, but the economy can no longer turn to remedies that are a new poison, such as attempting to increase profits by reducing the work force and thereby adding to the ranks of the excluded.
    “205. I ask God to give us more politicians capable of sincere and effective dialogue aimed at healing the deepest roots – and not simply the appearances – of the evils in our world! Politics, though often denigrated, remains a lofty vocation and one of the highest forms of charity, inasmuch as it seeks the common good.”

    At this point, either the Acton Institute reflects Lord Acton’s thought or it reflects the Pope’s. It can’t do both.

    Enrico

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  • Enrico Sanna

    This is what Lord Acton wrote about Pope Borromeo:

    “Let me propose a crux whereby to part
    apologetic history from what I should like to call conscientious history: an
    Italian government was induced by the Pope to set a good round price on the
    heads of certain of its subjects, presumably Protestants, who had got away.
    Nobody came to claim the reward. A papal minister wrote to the government in
    question to say that the Holy Father was getting impatient, and hoped to hear
    soon of some brave deed of authentic and remunerated homicide. The writer of
    that letter lies in the most splendid mausoleum that exists on earth; he has
    been canonized by the lawful, the grateful, the congenial authority of Rome;
    his statue, in the attitude of blessing, looks down from the Alps upon the
    plain of Lombardy; his likeness is in our churches; his name is upon our
    altars; his works are in our schools. His editor specially commends the letter
    I have quoted; and Newman celebrates him as a glorious Saint.” (Acton-Creighton Correspondence. http://oll.libertyfund.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1354)