I have read the original article at the Atlantic. This is a horrific horrific article, written by the sympathizers and apologists of the red terror in France, Soviet regimes (China and Soviet Union). Article also says that reduction of the number of the workers was a factor increasing the income the working class and decreased inequality.
First, it casually mentions Soviet and Chinese revolutions with their confiscation and redistribution. Article fails to mention, that such changes were followed by the civil wars against peasantry and the workers, the use of chemical weapons against insurgents, massive red terror, massive incarcerations, loss of the academic, scientific, professional, business and cultural elite by both troika death sentences and emigrations. Don't try to mention this "equality measure" in Russia, for you risk to be roughed up by those who hate communism. Also, article fails to mention, that these revolutions created a super-elite class which keeps most of the wealth in these countries, basically brainy yet criminally dishonest former communist party members who got filthy rich.
Secondly the article mentions confiscatory rate as the solution. Author simply fails to mention that if a marginal rate exceeds 50% people are less likely to try to make more money, and, most importantly, marginal income tax rate does not touch the principle, which is rarely if ever taxed.
This topic of inequality has been covered ad nauseum by Austrian economists, with the one and only conclusion: it is the excessive government regulation that is causing inequality. Here are some basic examples:... medical profession is completely regulated in the USA. The number of medical school graduates is strictly regulated in order not to produce surplus professionals. Many other factors, such as regulations and, for example, requirement to a have malpractice insurance, do add up to the medical practice costs and, subsequently, to the prices. As such, even now with Obamacare in effect, healthcare is un-affordable luxury for many, and some people are suffering from lack of it. If the profession is completely unregulated, and would allow unlimited immigration of medical specialists from anywhere in the world, combined with loosened importation of medications, malpractice reform, would seriously give death blow to the healthcare industry, which does not provide a meaningful increase in the longevity of lives of Americans compared to the countries such as Costa Rica or Albania.
Finally article fails to mention that there are countries where catastrophe was not required to have exceedingly high standard for their citizens. Switzerland. Super low federal taxes, most of the decisions are done locally by the cantons, historically libertarian governmental approach by the Government. There was never a catastrophe in Switzerland, but their living standard is one of the highest in the world. Also, inequality is not considered an issue, there are plenty of rich people, who live there with many regular Swiss minding their own business and not worrying about inequality: why would they?