In The inequality gap — five sickening facts Lars P. Syll presents an excerpt from Oxfam. Consider the first of those five facts:
Just eight men own the same wealth as the 3.6 billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity. Although some of them have earned their fortune through talent or hard work, over half the world’s billionaires either inherited their wealth or accumulated it through industries prone to corruption and cronyism.
I saw a headline doubting the "eight men" number, but that's not the point. There is certainly some number of richest people who own the same wealth as the 3.6 billion poorest people. I'm sure it's a small number, and getting smaller.
The exact number is not really the issue. I didn't quote the "eight men" thing for the fact it presents, but for the way Oxfam understands that fact:
Although some of them have earned their fortune through talent or hard work, over half the world’s billionaires either inherited their wealth or accumulated it through industries prone to corruption and cronyism.
So, some of the nameless eight would be like Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos, earning their fortune through talent and hard work. It's the other ones that Oxfam find disturbing, like the ones who will inherit the wealth of Gates and Bezos and the ones who chose to work in industries that are "prone to corruption and cronyism".
Oh. My. God. Is that what they really think? They're relying on the waste, fraud, and corruption argument? People have been applying that one to government for several decades now, and it hasn't solved a single problem.
What I see when I look at Oxfam's story is that Oxfam doesn't have a clue. They know that things are not going the way we need things to go. But they have not the slightest idea why.
If you want less corruption, you have to make it possible for people to succeed by other means. You have to improve the economic environment. You have to provide an alternative to crime and corruption. Just like with kids in school. If you want them to do better in school, you have to make it so things will be better when they get out of school. Opportunities really have to be there. You can't do it with hope and bullshit.
In other words, you have to fix the economy.
Oh -- and the inheritance thing? That's the way the world works, bud. If you're born into the right family you can inherit England. You're not going to solve the inheritance problem by banning inheritances. You can only solve it by making sure inheritances are less massive. That means you have to make sure that the "good" rich guys (the "talent and hard work" crew) are not so damn successful.
By design, the business income tax favors bigness. The biggest businesses get the biggest tax deductions. Talent and hard work? Sure. Talent, hard work, and a tax structure that favors the big and the lucky.