From a stock broker -
Some people believe that worldwide equality of income and wealth is a desirable goal. I do not. What incentive would there be to get out bed in the morning and strive to be better, if we lived in a society where everyone was paid the same, and where it was illegal to save for one's retirement and family's future?
So, I am definitively in favour of both wealth and income inequality. I don't mind that some people are richer than me. Well done to them!
If you read left-leaning journals and blogs online, you would think that wealth inequality was a very bad thing, and that the state should tax it out of existence. The idea that governments are corrupt and inefficient, and run by narcissist goons is never contemplated. Somehow, their theory is that democracy would be stronger if everyone was the same. They don't seem to worry about individual liberty. Didn't these people read Animal Farm by George Orwell when they were at school? Have they not heard how bad it was to live in the Soviet Union between 1917 and 1990?
Two leading lights in this "wealth is evil" brigade are academics Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, who wrote a book called The Triumph of Injustice: How the Rich Dodge Taxes and How to Make Them Pay. They moan that the very top earners, like CEOs of major corporates, and the 1% of most wealthy persons in the world seem to have a lower effective tax rate than lower middle-class persons.
Of course, that is not true. When you adjust for the fact that lower middle-class taxpayers are net beneficiaries of state spending, whereas rich people almost always pay their own way (private schools, security, healthcare), the picture looks very different. Also, tax rates are only one part of the equation. A small group of rich people and high earners contribute the overwhelming majority of money actually collected in absolute terms (Dollars or Rands) to the fiscus.
Smart people striving to be wealthy is the engine of the capitalist economy. Aggressive wealth taxes of the sort advocated by lefty academics like Saez and Zucman would have a disastrous impact on society. Keep in mind too that politicians who want to grab rich people's savings, like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Jeremy Corbyn, Ace Magashule or Julius Malema, really just want more power and influence for themselves. They dress their ideas up as being solely in the interests of the poor, but when they lie in their beds at night they dream of being the ones who get to decide how to spend all that money.