Robin Hood and the Miserly Philanthropist



robin-hoodThere’s an old story that many Americans grew up with and love – the story of Robin Hood. Some believe, as the story says, that the hero was stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, and seem to think that this is ok. Others see, as the story also says that the hero was stealing back what the rich had previously stolen from the poor in the first place, rather than taking what they had truly earned.

Wouldn’t it be weird though, if Robin was stealing what the rich had rightfully earned, which the greedy rich were hoarding while watching the poor suffer in misery, but then when he stole it, they applauded him: “Good work man… that carriage wheel needed replaced anyhow. And that guard, well now, not much of a guard I guess, well done with the arrows! Oh, and walking all that way will do me good!” There’s just something not right about that. Why wouldn’t he just ask them for the money?

And wouldn’t it be weird if the rich were distributing their wealth liberally, with genuine concern for the poor, and then Robin comes along and robs them anyhow so that he can be the one to make the distribution? That changes the whole dynamic of the story, to the point where Robin would no longer be a hero at all.

That is why, when the supposedly greedy rich who have supposedly made their money “off of the backs of the working class” say that they are quite happy to pay more taxes, we should think that maybe something is not right here.

The wealthy use money to gain influence and to make more money. In an economy where the Government gets stronger and more centralized, influence within the Government becomes the clearest way to ensure additional revenue. So maybe the rich are not balking about higher taxes because they know it gains them more influence in government. Or maybe there are some who are actually generous, but if that’s the case, they are more able to be generous without the Government’s “help”.

So why exactly are we talking about raising taxes on the wealthy?

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  • Karl Cassell

    I like the train of thought here, nice work!