In the political language of today, people who want to keep what they have earned are said to be “greedy,” while those who wish to take their earnings from them and give it to others (who will vote for them in return) show “compassion.”
Tumblrs — what do you think of this quote?
There is no reason to believe that what anyone owns was “earned”. We can and do question the idea of entitlement to wealth with redistributive policy. I am uncovinced that the dubious belief that someone earned their wealth is worth the real suffering caused by vast disparities in wealth.
Mr. Callus and I are on the same page for once.
Things can get a bit tricky when a toddler learns the word “mine.” Parents get to explain that while their acquisitive nature doubtlessly promises conventional success in a capitalist world, you can’t make something yours just by grabbing off the shelf in the store and saying, “Mine.” While you do in fact possess it, that does not give you a legal or a moral claim to ownership.
"I earned this" works in about the same way. Insisting that you "earned" all the money you possess, however fleetingly, does not give you a legal or a moral claim to it. If the money is taxable, you don’t have a legal claim to it. And if you’re making ten times more than a guy putitng the same kind of time and energy into his job, the moral case is pretty tough too.