Government & Politics

The Prince of Thieves

Some may call Obama Robin Hood, but that's misrepresenting his policies.

Jan. 21, 2015

During his lame-duck term, Barack Obama intends to pursue what he calls “middle-class economics,” i.e., proposals to reduce income inequality through taxation. Apparently a one-trick pony, Obama is back to raising taxes on the rich.

In last night’s State of the Union Address, Obama explained “middle-class economics” as “the idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share, everyone plays by the same set of rules. We don’t just want everyone to share in America’s success, we want everyone to contribute to our success.”

Except his policies don’t give everyone a fair shot, or set the same rules for everyone. And only a few at the top “contribute to our success.”

The Hill calls him Robin Hood, taking from the rich and giving to the poor and middle class. But that’s misrepresenting his theft. The idea of Obama’s “giving” anything to the American middle class, for whom his enmity is all but palpable, is ridiculous, but the notion of his playing Robin Hood insults our intelligence. During the Obama era, both the middle class and the poor have lost more ground economically than during any time in the last four decades, yet suddenly along comes Robin Hood to right the wrongs of his first six years.

As Rush Limbaugh astutely explained Monday, Robin Hood did not steal from the rich to give to the poor. According to legend, Robin Hood reclaimed the excessive taxes extorted by the sheriff of Nottingham from the commoners in his shire. In modern parlance, Obama is the sheriff, not the woodsman.

Yet Obama’s appeal to those who believe the wealthy steal from the rest of society has served him well. Rush alluded to exit polls in the 2012 presidential election that showed 81% said they voted for Obama because he “cares about people like me.” For decades, the Left has sweetly whispered into the ears of the unhappy, the aggrieved and the gullible, telling them the rich have stolen everyone else’s wealth. If only the playing field could be equalized, if only everyone had an equal share, all would be peachy.

The socialist utopian dream just will not die because there is always wealth to be redistributed. Obama claims tax hikes will help balance wealth distribution, but not a dime will ever reach a single productive person. Ironically, much of what’s not swallowed by the gaping maw of government will likely go to Obama’s buddies in Big Business, purportedly the Left’s most hated foe.

The Left has seized upon a recent study by two neo-socialist economists, who claim the top 1% (written “0.01” to increase its impact) hold 80% of the wealth in the United States. But like all lefties in good standing, they leave out relevant facts. In this case, they ignore the wealthiest sector of the nation: the United States government.

The federal government forcibly extracted more than $3 trillion from American citizens in 2014 – the first time it crossed that threshold. The study’s authors complain about billionaires but say not a word about the trillionaire in the room. And according to the latest Forbes list of worldwide billionaires, the aggregate wealth of them all totals only $6.4 trillion, barely enough to finance the U.S. government for a year-and-a-half. It’s also less than a third of federal debt. Added to the federal government, the states have their own billionaire club, particularly California, which has one of the largest economies (and hence, governments) in the world.

Enhancing its rather extravagant income, the federal government owns vast swaths of real estate inside our borders (including 87% of the land in the West), an asset of enormous value. So in comparison, the wealthy in our country, two-thirds of whom according to Forbes earned their wealth, could be among the lowest 1% when compared to government.

The authors conclude that the “public will favor more progressive taxation only if it is convinced that top income gains are detrimental to the 99%.” So keep feeding them class envy.

We don’t mean to be apologists for wealthy corporatists, some of whom – such as George Soros and Tom Steyer – use their wealth to buy our political system. (This while leftists hypocritically attack the Koch brothers or other conservative financiers, whose contributions are dwarfed by leftists.) Of course, others are admirable people who’ve made a fortune by grit and guts. This nation’s founding principles guarantee every person the right to the fruits of his labor. Since the Sixteenth Amendment passed, however, that principle has been turned on its head by busybody activists and government officials – hypocritical officials, we might add.

Inside the most exclusive club in the world, congressmen and women “earn” more than several average families combined – on average, just one of them surpasses 18 families’ incomes. And the Redistributionist in Chief lives the life of royalty on a scale never before witnessed, jetting around in the world’s most expensive plane with entourages of hundreds in tow. Where does he – the laughable “savior” of the 99% – get off demanding higher taxes from a “10% family” earning 225,000 badly devalued dollars?

Unfortunately, as long as Democrats can buy votes with taxpayer money, the class warfare of “middle-class economics” will live on. All Obama did Tuesday night was preview the central message of the 2016 presidential campaign.

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