To be sure, some people find ways to get rich at others’ expense. Bernard Madoff most famously comes to mind. The solution here, however, is not to focus on the income distribution but to devise better regulation and oversight.
So, by delivering extraordinary performances in hit films, top stars may do more than entertain millions of moviegoers and make themselves rich in the process. They may also contribute many millions in federal taxes, and other millions in state taxes. And those millions help fund schools, police departments and national defense for the rest of us.
Unlike the superheroes of “The Avengers,” the richest 1 percent aren’t motivated by an altruistic desire to advance the public good. But, in most cases, that is precisely their effect.