[The distribution of market income] is not at all what people are worried about in most inequality circles. The concern that income inequality hurts the living standards of the poor and middle class is not implicitly about inequality produced by markets. The concern is that high disposable income inequality (relative to other countries) is strong suggestive evidence that the bottom and middle could be made better off by increasing taxes and transfers. That is to say, where disposable income inequality is high, that suggests there is money out there going to the rich that could be hoovered up and shot out to the non-rich.It doesn't get much more plain-spoken than this, with an approach that can essentially be boiled down to "these people have a lot of money, these other people don't have that much, so we should take from this group and give to that group." In fact, it's not terribly far removed from certain Marxist dogma.
The concern about inequality has very little to do with the market distribution itself (the market is, after all, just a creature of policy, a government program like any other). Rather, the concern is that high and rising inequality signals that we are throwing away opportunities to relieve the want and humiliation of the bottom (and to a lesser extent, the middle), and are opting instead to shovel more and more of the national income to the rich for no good reason.
- The market is a government program, apparently because it is subject to government policy. By the same logic, since our lives are also subject to government policy then life itself can be considered to be one big government program.
- It is desirable to relieve the want of the bottom (which for most humans is almost endless). We've seemingly moved beyond needs -- a tacit admission that they have largely been satisfied?
- Apparently money is not earned by people nor has much to do with things like effort and individual decision-making, but rather is obtained by luck or the operation of a great cosmic shovel which allocates large amounts of money to some people but not others on a mysterious basis.
- There is no good reason for the rich to gain additional money. The fact that they may have that money because of contributions made to society via products, services and/or investments is left unexplored.