Income redistribution

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(Redirected from Redistribution of wealth)

Income redistribution or redistribution of wealth is a political policy usually promoted by members of the political left, and opposed by members of the political right.

The basic premise of the belief is that money should be more equally distributed so it favors all members of society, and that the rich should be obligated to assist the poor. Thus, money should be redistributed from the rich to the poor, creating a more financially egalitarian society. Often, proponents of redistribution argue that the rich are exploiting the poor or otherwise gaining unfair benefits, and therefore redistributive practices are necessary in order to redress the balance.

Today, income redistribution occurs in some form in most democratic countries, most commonly through income-adjusted taxes (in which the amount of tax paid is directly connected to one's income), some of which goes to fund welfare programs to assist the poor.

Opponents of this measure argue that it punishes good economic activity whilst rewarding poor economic activity, resulting in an inefficient economy, and that it infringes on one's right to enjoy the fruit of one's labour. They also argue that such measures will result in a brain drain and lead to a state where the middle class have to support a large population of unemployed with an ever-increasing percentage of their income (because, they argue, a slowdown in economic activity will result in higher taxes unless spending is curtailed).

Proponents of this measure may point to the fact that capitalism does not inherantly distribute wealth fairly, with the rich receiving more than they deserve; for example the three richest people possess more financial assets than the poorest 10% of the world's population combined. They also argue that economic inequality contributes to crime, and potentially revolution (which it is in the interest of the rich to prevent). There is also the issue of equal opportunity, for example in the case of providing education or healthcare for children, who are unable to pay for such services themselves, and are not responsible for their parents' income. Also the law of diminishing marginal returns could be cited as an example of the fact that people with a higher income tend to have a higher percentage of that in disposable income, and can thus afford a greater tax burden. It could also be argued that the rich benefit more from tax income than the poor, since they have more assets (protected by a tax-funded legal system which is highly protective of property) and, in the case of large corporations, may receive significant subsidy.

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