The scheme of the progressive tax (and the consumption tax on luxury goods) indeed is used as a means to redistribute wealth, as it takes money away from the rich and gives it to the poor (in terms of welfare programs). In philosophy, three reactions are available towards the wealth-tax scheme.
The Entitlement Principle
One is the libertarian response by Robert Nozick who argues that the wealth-tax scheme is immoral. The assumption for Nozick is that, insofar as the market satisfies the conditions of just acquisition and exchange, the outcomes of the voluntary exchange of the goods by individuals are just. If I voluntarily paid $100 to watch LeBron James' game, which resulted in him being $100 richer and me being $100 poorer, no injustice is done. To Nozick, it is immoral for the government to try to impose the wealth tax on LeBron James. LeBron James owns his body and hence his talents. He is fully entitled to own the fruits of his labor and talents. For this reason, to Nozick, the wealth tax on LeBron James is like stealing his fruits of labor, which further implies that his body is owned by the government, and thus by those untalented and unsuccessful. Nozick asserts that the wealth-tax scheme amounts to treating talented people as a mere means, and thus violates Kant's maxim.
The Difference Principle
The second response is an egalitarian response, suggested by John Rawls. Rawls worries that a system of absolute equality would lead to stagnancy in economic growth and breeds inefficiency, and thus needed is the Adam Smithian market, where self-interested, talented indiviiduals freely carry out their personal projects and their entrepreneur ambitions, and are handsomely rewarded for their efforts. This incentive structure of the market, however has the effect of widening economic inequality among people. Rawls aims to strike a balance between equality and efficiency with his difference principle: the difference in wealth among people are morally justified as long as the poor benefit when the talented make money (when a rising tide lifts especially the poor boats). The wealth tax allows the govt to realize the just goal of egalitarianism, and thus the tax is moral.
The Equality Principle
The third response is suggested by G.A.Cohen, by way of his criticism of Rawls' difference principle. To Cohen, the market incentive system where the talented get to be paid more than the untalented is unfair. It is already lucky enough to get to be LeBron James: people admire him for his talent. He would play even without monetary compensation for his love of basketball and for his zeal to perfect his talent. Given this, rewarding him with money for his talent is not called for. Cohen believes that Rawls is wrong to think that justice and egalitarian principles apply only to the social structure, and not to individuals. To Cohen, a society is just when its people as well as its institutions are guided by egalitarian principles. Cohen's just society will not display incentive-generated inequality. LeBron James will work hard in his game without demanding or receiving the incentive pay.
For this reason, the society envisioned by Cohen will have economic equality as well as economic growth (and efficiency). Naturally, to Cohen, egalitarian justice is achieved without the scheme of the wealth tax.