I've heard TV interviewers and commentators, one after another, suggest that the purpose of progressive tax brackets is to support redistribution of wealth. Untrue. Progressive tax brackets allow for disproportionate taxation to obtain adequate financing for the necessary functions of government. Most of us accept this a reasonable policy. Redistributionists believe, also, that taking money from the rich (or even slightly better off) to improve the lifestyle of the poor is a responsibility of government.
Many of us believe that support beyond subsistence will be an ever-moving target. Currently, essentials have been defined to include anything that might level the playing field of life: Head Start (even though impartial research has repeatedly shown any difference disappears by third grade), TV with cable, computers and internet, subsidized child care in some communities. The more liberal extremes are now seriously proposing that government mandate a "living wage" to everyone. Their only exception would be for entry-level workers with no dependents. (Maybe that would be a good change from unlimited subsidized children...)
Did we vote on any of this? How much effort was spent considering other ways to achieve these ends? When did we move from subsidized public housing to government-assisted single family housing?
Is it lost on the podium speakers that they repeatedly share their rags to riches stories experienced under the current system while pushing for significant add-ons so that others can succeed in the future?