Robin Hood (not Mr. Smith) goes to Washington


In fictional tales, the folk hero “Robin Hood” sees injustice in the land created by an oppressive lord and enforced by his sheriff minion.

The “poor” are under a repressive tax burden, imposed by the lord, while the “rich” enjoy every luxury available. Robin’s practical answer is a redistribution of wealth simply stated as “steal from the rich, give to the poor.” And so Robin Hood rights the wrongs and brings justice to the land.

In more recent history, we have additional examples of redistribution of wealth as a means of correcting apparent social imbalance and social injustice.

“From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” was the simple explanation of a communist system envisioned by Karl Marx. Rather than resort to illegal activity to assure equal distribution of wealth, Marx would have government make the determinations and distributions. We also have exceptional examples of the success of Marx’s economic system in the absolute failure of communist societies.

Today we appear to be embarked on a new endeavor to explore a combination of Robin Hood and Karl Marx. We shall call our new system “Karl Hood” because of the way it embodies some of each process. Under our new system, distribution to the “poor” is assured by government. “Poor” also is defined by government to include those who have made poor life decisions, who have seriously overreached their fiscal means, and those who have found solace in a social welfare system that provides for them. The actual “poor,” those who have contributed every day to the best of their ability and who continuously strive for self-improvement, are minimized in the redefinition.

Under the “Karl Hood” system, government will meet the needs of the poor by taking from the “rich” not through theft, but through taxation. After all, it is common knowledge that “rich” people gained their wealth on the backs of the “poor” and they lead lives of excess and greed. Some how, government has determined that earning a set amount makes a person “rich” and those riches should be shared. Is there any doubt that as the stream of revenue from the “rich” dwindles, the definition of rich will be adjusted downward to make sure we can always care for the “poor”? I wonder what we will do when we use up all the money the rich have and the “poor” become “rich”?

And so we have come full circle with a major twist. Once again we have a system of taking from the rich to give to the poor. This time it isn’t fiction. This time the “hero” is our government.

Where is the Constitution when we need it most?

Jack Hamilton can be reached at gradiver@wavecable.com.

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