The Myth That Success Is Unearned
Instead of denying that pay motivates people to earn their success—a concession that undermines the case for income redistribution—many advocates of redistribution deny that success is earned. If income is unearned, then we can redistribute it without slowing growth or reducing middle- and working-class incomes, even if incentives motivate effort, risk-taking, investment, and innovation. If pay is unearned, it’s fair to take it away.
Pay may be unearned for a variety of reasons. The price of talent—the wages of the successful—may rise for no other reason than talent is in short supply and cannot expand to meet the growing demand for it. In that case, a shortage merely redistributes pay from the rest of the economy to talent without talent doing anything more to earn its increased pay. If talent has done nothing to earn their increased pay, then taking away the increase will similarly have no effect on their behaviors. – READ MORE