Here's the conclusion to George Will's article: "Government: the redistributionist behemoth"
Try a thought experiment suggested decades ago by University of Chicago law professors Walter Blum and Harry Kalven in their 1952 essay “The Uneasy Case for Progressive Taxation,” published in their university’s law review. Suppose society’s wealth trebled overnight without any change in the relative distribution among individuals. Would the unchanged inequality at higher levels of affluence decrease concern about inequality?The populist/class war mindset just escapes me. There are some people who have done very well, no doubt, and many if not most deserve their success. In what way do I - or anyone - have a right to a portion of that success? If these people have come into money in some illegal fashion (e.g. Bernie Madoff) then of course they should be punished. But punished (e.g. "millionaire's surtax") for success? Why would we want to demonize and de-incentivize that?
Surely not: The issue of inequality has become more salient as affluence has increased. Which suggests two conclusions:
People are less dissatisfied by what they lack than by what others have. And when government engages in redistribution in order to maximize the happiness of citizens who become more envious as they become more comfortable, government becomes increasingly frenzied and futile.
I just finished reading Keith Richard's autobiography "Life" and somewhere in the middle he wrote that Great Britain imposed a 95% millionaire's tax (something like that - I had to give the borrowed book back). Keith and Mick essentially fled the country and the Stones recorded "Exile on Main Street." Long story short: Keith, Mick and the rest of the band are now "non-citizens" of England in that, to escape the tax bite, they can only spend three months a year in their homeland. Keith Richards now lives in Connecticut.
In other words: somewhere along the way Richards' taxes moved from "onerous" to "punitive" so now England gets none of it.