The idea of our representatives redistributing wealth in order to establish fairness is one of the most egregiously wrong practices I can think of. The government takes the results of all transaction made through mutual agreement within the market and decides who has too much and how much needs to be redistributed. It boggles my mind that we've allowed this.
One idea from the justice as fairness crowd that has bothered me is that wealth is primarily a matter of advantage, lucky genetics, being born to the right family, being white, male and connected and so forth. It disregards the millions who have achieved in spite of great odds. There might a woman who wasn't born with good looks, isn't particularly a genius, came from a family of modest means, or even poverty, yet she had ambition to learn, to work hard, to be persistent, spent years in college studying when others were partying, got a job in a high tech company working from the bottom, learned things about her job always one or two steps above, never gave up and succeeded, then started her own company which became wildly successful and entered the ranks of the wealthy. This story, with different details, has come about many, many times. It's the American Dream for those who have ambition to succeed, and their hard work pays off -- only to be disparaged by some in our society, seen as unfair, something that needs to be re-adjusted and redistributed.
But this is just one side. There seems to be an envious fixation on wealth that reveals a hidden jealousy, although the stated position is a non-materialistic proposition of social responsibility and community involvement. What about the person who is truly non-materialistic and has no ambition to climb a corporate ladder or run a company and is happily satisfied with the basics of life? She is seen as a victim of the materialistic, ambitious go-getter with a Porsche and diamond necklace, someone who must be assisted by the representatives whose wisdom is greater than the individual life-choices of mere citizens.
This is not to say that living at or below the poverty line is always a choice, but for many who fall into the category of "poverty", it is -- many people simply have no desire to achieve wealth. Those who are disadvantaged and live in poverty and suffer through no choice of their own are a different story. This is why charity through the private sector is preferrable to government programs which are infected with political motives and ideological aversion to wealth in the form of statists against capitalists. The private sector would not have the power to create laws which punish people because they've been arbitrarily placed in a group. Wealth and poverty is an individual matter, not a group matter.
There are many reasons why the wealthy shouldn't be punished for success, but the main reason is that it is simply no one's business if an individual is wealthy or not. When taken on an individual basis we'd find many reasons why people become wealthy, but none of the reasons justify government policies to redistribute what the achievers have earned or what they've been given. You would also find many reasons among people who don't have a lot of money and are hunky-dory with it, and you'd find many people satisfied with what they are, although to a politician looking for another dependent voter, they'd be seen as victims.
Charity through the private sector could evaluate each request according to true need, and those who are fine with their station in life would not make a request. The wealthy who choose to give to others could make donations rather than be forced to give to programs which are failing and of which they have no control. I believe what we'd find by moving government programs to "battle poverty" to the private sector, money would flow much more efficiently and effectively to those with real needs and the problems would be handled more reasonably on a individual, case-by-case basis. There would be no motive to swell the roles to protect the bureaucracy and receive more funding. A private organiztion would be judged on performance and results, not an expansion of "need".
Poverty, as such, is not something living and breathing we can battle. Individuals with individual needs are living and breathing and many go into poverty, then out. The "poor" are not a static group which needs to be held in the arms of Big Brother and protected from that other static group the "rich". This whole mindset of rich and poor needs to be transformed to recognition of individuals of varying needs, wants, desires, motivations, values, etc.