Human Events Blog

The legend of Romney Hood

President Obama has taken to calling rival Mitt Romney’s tax reform plans “Robin Hood in reverse” and “Romney Hood” at his endless big-bucks re-election fundraisers.  (Remember, Obama never takes questions from the press any more.  He most recently brought up the “Romney Hood” line at the Connecticut fundraiser that shut down public beaches to enable the President to raise money from Hollywood millionaires.)  Obama claims Romney wants to “ask the middle class to pay more taxes so that he could give another $250,000 tax cut to people making more than $3 million a year.”

The President cites a widely discredited report from the Tax Policy Center when he makes these claims.  Technically the Tax Policy Center is “non-partisan,” but they’re actually a class-warfare group whose entire mission is opposing tax cuts.  Their “report” literally invents things about Romney’s plans, after expressly conceding that they don’t actually have enough information to evaluate it.

As the editors of the Wall Street Journal explained, after noting that Romney’s proposal actually includes a 20 percent rate reduction for everyone who pays taxes, combined with the elimination of unspecified tax deductions that would primarily affect higher tax brackets:

The class warriors at the Tax Policy Center add all of this up and issue the headline-grabbing opinion that it is “mathematically impossible” to reduce tax rates and close loopholes in a way that raises the same amount of revenue. They do so in part by arbitrarily claiming that Mr. Romney would never eliminate certain loopholes (such as for municipal bond interest), though the candidate has said no such thing.

Based on this invention, they then postulate that Mr. Romney would have to do something he also doesn’t propose—which is raise taxes on those earning less than $200,000. In the Obama campaign’s political alchemy, this becomes “Romney Hood” and a $2,000 tax increase.

It’s all very silly, but so is the argument that has effectively been used to keep middle-class tax serfs on the Big Government plantation for decades: You don’t want a tax cut if someone who makes more money than you would benefit from it as well.  People really do fall for stupid crap like that. No burden placed upon their back by socialists is too great, as long as they think some faceless rich guy will be given an even greater burden to carry.  Thanks to Obama’s long years of devastating unemployment, more people are realizing that those “even greater burdens” are being dropped on those who otherwise would invest their money and create jobs.

The Journal goes on to note that tax receipts invariably rise when rates are lowered, within the range described by the Laffer Curve; that Romney is making essentially the same assumptions about GDP growth that Obama does, with a much greater chance of actually achieving 4 percent growth; and that Romney’s recommended tax rates track closely with the recommendations of the blue-ribbon Simpson-Bowles deficit commission that Obama made a great show of convening, and then resolutely ignored.  In fact, Romney’s plan is a modification of Simpson-Bowles expressly designed to avoid middle class tax increases.

This is all par for the course for a President that would sit idly by while his surrogates fabricate a disgusting ad accusing Romney of murder.  The other interesting things about Obama’s “Romney Hood” mythology is how culturally illiterate it is, and how it fits into his “you didn’t build that” collectivist theories.

Obama is hardly the first socialist to misrepresent the Robin Hood legend – in which the famed bandit of Sherwood Forest was stealing from the government, not wealthy private citizens.  The money he recovered for the poor was literally taken from them, by tax collectors.  Robin Hood was not a thug who pillaged prosperous, honest tradesmen of their hard-earned coin.

The system Robin Hood opposed bore little resemblance to modern free-market capitalism, because the upper echelons of the wealthy were, almost inevitably, also members of the feudal government.  Actually, that bears more resemblance to Obama-style “crony capitalism” than actual capitalism.  If Robin Hood were around today, he’d be robbing from General Motors and Solyndra, so he could return the money to taxpayers.

This is not a trivial point, because the socialist re-imagining of Robin Hood as an agent of wealth redistribution for the private sector is part of the mythology they love to program into our children.  Kids are meant to grow up thinking that robbing from rich people to redistribute their wealth is heroic, because the accumulation of great wealth is always theft.

And that’s exactly what Obama was saying in Roanoke, when he delivered his famous “you didn’t build that” speech.  The entire point of the speech – diluted not a bit by absurd leftist attempts to claim Obama doesn’t speak English very well, and actually meant to say “you didn’t build that roads and bridges” – is that successful people who refuse to “give back” as much money as Obama thinks they “owe” are stealing from the public.

Obama’s voice dripped with contempt when he said, “Look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own.  You didn’t get there on your own.  I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart.  There are a lot of smart people out there.  It must be because I worked harder than everybody else.  Let me tell you something: there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.”

He went on to list what he sees as the public resources unfairly plundered by these “smart people,” including teachers, roads, bridges, the Internet, and “this unbelievable American system” in general.  As if the problem facing America is that our tiny, impoverished government isn’t spending enough money on those things, or that Obama would use every nickel of the new taxes he desires for those purposes!

And all of this was said in the context of justifying government’s limitless claim upon private wealth, because the President began this passage from his speech as follows: “But you know what, I’m not going to see us gut the investments that grow our economy to give tax breaks to me or Mr. Romney or folks who don’t need them.  So I’m going to reduce the deficit in a balanced way.  We’ve already made a trillion dollars’ worth of cuts.  We can make another trillion or trillion-two, and what we then do is ask for the wealthy to pay a little bit more.  And, by the way, we’ve tried that before – a guy named Bill Clinton did it.  We created 23 million new jobs, turned a deficit into a surplus, and rich people did just fine.  We created a lot of millionaires.”

Leaving aside the fact that Obama clearly believes his audience is filled with imbeciles who don’t remember the tech bubble of the 90s, the point behind this entire passage of the speech was to paint Obama as the socialist fairy-tale version of Robin Hood.  He’s going to take what “the rich” rightfully “owe” to the people, whose communal resources they have “stolen,” by profiting unfairly from them.  And the very notion of the Evil Rich objecting to this – because they arrogantly believe they’re responsible for the success of their own enterprises – is beneath contempt in Obama’s view.  Robin Hood shouldn’t even have to put an arrow into anyone’s money bag.  The refusal of Obama’s preferred revenue targets to meekly hand over the loot is damning, and he wants his audience to hate them for it.

Class warfare is founded on hatred, mistrust, and contempt.  They are links in the chains socialist expect their subjects to don willingly, accepting a death spiral of public debt and private-sector collapse because the alternative would be a rising tide that lifts all boats… including yachts.  If Obama were forced to concede his beloved Tax Policy Center study was hogwash, he’d move on to the argument he made in Roanoke: the private sector must be made smaller through higher taxation, because the government is rightfully entitled to all of the wealth created with the use of public “infrastructure,” so lowering the tax burden on the rich – even if every taxpayer enjoys the same rate reductions – is equivalent to stealing from the dependent poor.  And thanks to policies like ObamaCare, the “dependent poor” increasingly includes a sizable portion of what we used to call the “middle class.”  That’s what Obama really means by “Robin Hood in reverse.”

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