The Love of money is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10 for you bible buffs). What was true a couple of thousand years ago is even truer today than ever before.
In our culture money is the yardstick for the measure of success. The more wealth one has the more successful one is deemed. But this does not have anything to do with what kind of person one is and what one’s overall contributions to society are. People have told me that this billionaire and that have contributed enormous amounts of money towards good causes. However many do this for tax write-offs and for estate planning purposes. They simply have so much money that they don’t know what to do with it so they find some tax benefits for giving it away and making themselves look charitable.
But for most of us less well endowed, giving away money is often a sacrifice to our standard of living. It means spending less on our families and ourselves so that others even less fortunate may live better lives. So even if the monetary amount of our donation is relatively small the gift comes far more from the heart since its financial impact to the giver is significant. It isn’t the amount given that should count but the motives for giving. If there is a God, I would expect a poor man who drops one dollar into a donation bowl to help other destitute like him to be looked upon much more favorable than a rich billionaire who donates $1 Billion of excess wealth to a charity. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are prime example of billionaire giving away most of their wealth because they have finally realized that they have far more than they need. But these are the good guys because there are so many billionaire who hardly donate any of their wealth to good causes.
The point is that in our culture money is the measure of success. To appear successful you must accumulate as much money and wealth as possible. This goes contrary to the teachings of Christianity and Judaism as well as most other religions for good reason. It puts the focus upon worshiping ourselves and our success often at the expense of others and rewards us for accumulating an excess of something that ultimately has no tangible value to us because of its abundance. Food on the table of a farmer who has a bumper crop and overflowing pantry has far less value than food on the table of someone unemployed and broke with no food for the next day.
Money is ultimately there to spend. A wise person should set aside a years worth of expenses for a rainy day as well as money for retirement but most of our billionaires put aside enough money and asserts to last hundreds of lifetimes and have little interest in sharing their excess wealth with anyone else unless they have something to gain. Thus we have a very small percentage of our population that controls most of the wealth of this nation. It seems wrong to use money and wealth to measure success. God-fearing people should be among the first to see this because it is biblical. If that is the way it is then perhaps we overpay people for the services they render. It seem reasonable to effectively tax people’s excess wealth at a far higher rate than those less wealthy. Perhaps an excess wealth tax, on a sliding scale, for money and assets that is not being spent on goods and services should replace income tax. This may incentivize the rich to spend more and earn ness leaving more money in circulation thus stimulating the economy. Currently it is the middle class and poor who spend a disproportionate amount of their income and save little.
People should spend money upon things that contribute to the tangible pursuit of happiness thus stimulating the economy and not accumulate wealth for no other purpose than to make them feel wealthy. Money and wealth should be the means to an end, not the end itself. It is the purchasing of goods and services by the less wealthy many that stimulates industrial and economic growth, not simply investing into industry by the wealthy few. Industry needs many customers in order to grow and prosper. The more wealth the many have the more they will spend and stimulate economic growth, not the other way around. This is simple balanced economics, keeping wealth in circulation.
Do the wealthy have a right to accumulate enormous wealth? Yes. Is is right that they do so? Not especially because it does not benefit society as a whole and has negative impacts. Man is a social animal and spreading out the wealth enhances society due to economic growth for more people. This contributes to the overall increase in the standard of living. But the present disparity between the very rich who hold the bulk of economic and political power and everyone else grows ever wider. The result is the rich get richer and everyone else becomes poorer. Ultimately we will end up with a feudal system again similar to where we started before our independence from the British Crown over two hundred years ago.