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Wealth Redistribution: The Ethical Question

Redistribution and socialist ideas seem to be gaining popularity lately. Much of this could be blamed on poor education; especially in regard to history. But ponder this: “is it ethical or not… to take something from someone and give it to another?

In order to address this in a manner most logical, one must remove the emotional side and look purely at the root of what is occurring. I would encourage you to watch the video of an October 19, 1998 conference at Loyola University, were Barack Obama spoke about the need to “pool resources and hence facilitate some redistribution because I actually believe in redistribution.” (cruz, 2012). Or better yet, review some of what Bernie Sanders is suggesting in regard to taxation.

According to definition; redistribution in this context is an economic theory, policy, or practice of lessening or reducing inequalities in income through such measures as progressive income taxation and antipoverty programs (, 2013). Of course, this model requires that someone merely take from those who have, and give to those who have not. But let’s look at this from a more primal point of view.

Let’s say that I desire the money from my neighbors safe because he has more than I do. Let’s say he has a lot. So I hire someone to go acquire this money in order to give it to me. I give a cut to the local officer to allow it happen. I provide a cut to the person who retrieved it, for his efforts. What has just occurred (according to most court systems), is basic theft, burglary or worse – and it is now a standard practice in our country. It is a fairly basic concept. Taking from someone who did not provide consent to do so, is theft. The courts rule on similar things all the time. So we have precedent for what I demonstrate here today.

Theft is defined as stealing. Stealing is to take (the property of another) without right or permission. As you can see, no matter how you approach this, taking something from someone without their consent or approval is wrong and unethical. This is especially true when consider the word “right“.

Taking it a step further, the average person, who acquires any abundance of cash, did so by the sweat of his/her brow. In other words, they traded their labor/ideas/skills/etc in exchange for said cash. And while the courts remain drastically divided on the matter, the 5th Amendment to the United States Constitution states quite clearly that no one will be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation (The constitution of the United States). So the question then becomes “is money private property”?

At your job, you trade your labor for cash. With this cash, you exchange for goods. These goods are considered your private property. Goods are the private property of the individual who bought them because it is land or belongings owned by a person or group and kept for their exclusive use (Collins, 2003). Therefore, cash and property are one in the same. If they were not, then everything you purchased with cash would technically be owned by the provider of the cash. For instance, if cash were owned by government, then all goods purchased with cash would then be property of the government. By extension, this idea would negate the 5th all together and render it moot. Of course, you could also consider that our Founders made it clear that government was not supposed to take from a man’s labor (income tax) for the very same reason; being most viewed such “tax” as improper confiscation of the rightful rewards that labor had earned.

As you can clearly see, by definition, basic logic, and Occam’s Razor, taking money from one to give to another without consent or right is not only unethical but is also legally, Constitutionally, and morally wrong, regardless of who tries to say it is good or “just”. I challenge you to remember this moving forward, because this principle applies to more than just taxes. It applies to almost everything.

With that being said; it is true (or can at least be argued) that some funds must be gathered for certain elements of the common good. However, if a community or state as a whole decides that such redistribution is necessary (for any reason), then any redistribution should be apportioned (divided and allocated) equally by way of equal percentage, among and to the people and regardless of income or status. This is not currently the situation we are in and as we have seen, it has created a mess and divided us along class lines. Eliminating the unfair elements of this scheme seems prudent, along with the elimination of the invasive income tax administration element. If you seek something truly fair and well researched in regard to taxation, and if you truly want a solid solution that will not graduate into more unconstitutional behavior and perks for the rich, then let me recommend the “Fairtax“.


Collins. (2003). Private property. Retrieved from property
(2009). The constitution of the united states, with index, and the declaration of independence. (2nd ed.). National Center for Constitutional Studies. Retrieved from (2013). Redistribution. Retrieved from
Cruz, N. (2012, September 18). Obama in 1998: “i actually believe in redistribution” . Retrieved from


The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author and are not not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

David Robertson

David Robertson is a researcher, a writer and more. His passions and writings include the subjects of health, leadership, history, politics and the controversial theology based "Trinion Contradictions". A life-long student of many disciplines; David holds a Master's of Science in Leadership, he graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in both Leadership and Security Management, and has acquired a variety of educational and professional certificates. Be sure to check out his books at - Check out his Podcast at iTunes + - Google Play + - PlayerFM + - Stitcher +

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