The rationale for redistribution

Taragi, Kumamoto

In his Sept. 14 article, “Ruinous GOP tax fantasies,” writer Kevin Rafferty asserts that income redistribution is self-evidently moral. On what principles does he base this assertion?

I suspect the reason is that most redistributionalists believe that exploitation or disenfranchisement are at the root of all income disparity. Unequal results must be caused by unequal opportunity.

I am not setting up a straw man, so to those who disagree, please explain the principled rationale that obliges the government to take the earnings of a worker who earned his or her wage by legal means, and give it to another worker whose wage is lower.

Also, is there any limiting principle? Is it OK for Rafferty to make twice or three times more than the man who makes his fast-food lunch, but not OK for the CEO of the fast-food restaurant to make 50 or a 100 times more than the fast-food employee? If so, why?

To take the analogy further, a barber makes less than a doctor. Is this fair? Should your doctor have to share his or her salary with your barber so that they are both paid the same? If this was actually the case, would medical care improve or suffer? These are the questions I would like the redistributionalists to address.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

joseph jaworski