When did Robin Hood replace Uncle Sam as our national icon?

By Phil Erwin

My title refers to an analogous reference to the penchant of Democrats in general, and our current President in particular, to think that Robin Hood’s semi-mythical approach to solving economic problems – that is, robbing from the rich to give to the poor (a process now re-branded by Democrats as “wealth redistribution,” or “correcting income inequality – is actually the Yellow Brick Road leading to economic Oz.”

robinhood Tax_1

Now, I thought up that analogy between the Knave of Sherwood Forest and the Knave of the White House all on my own. But I am hardly the only one to whom this direct comparison makes sense. Consider the words of Irwin Kellner, PhD., a respected economist and Distinguished Professor who has served as Chief Economist for various organizations over the years. Writing for Marketwatch in response to Obama’s most recent SOTU address, Kellner observes:

“He [President Obama] must fancy himself as today’s Robin Hood, since he wants to take from the rich and give to the poor. How else can you explain what the president calls ‘middle-class economics’? He wants Congress to adopt a series of measures that would redistribute income… [But] the president forgets one thing: Unequal distribution of income and wealth is an inevitable result of the workings of our capitalist system. Interfering with it by raising taxes on the rich to give to others is like throwing a monkey wrench into the gears that turn our economic engine.”

Can you say, “Affordable Care Act”?

That particular piece of legislative monstrosity is more akin to throwing the wrench, the sledgehammer, some bolt cutters, the whole toolbox and a few sticks of dynamite into our used-to-be-powerhouse economic engine. Recent jury-rigged economic “statistics” aside, the economy is still sputtering and complaining six years after the so-called “Great Recession” – a barely-there recovery which by any and all historic standards is an abject and absolute failure. Truth to tell, we are now entering the phase where an economic pullback should be expected, as there are precious few historical examples of recoveries lasting longer than 5 years without pause.

I know, I know… The Government says that Unemployment is below 6%. That’s great, isn’t it?

Well, as you may or may not yet know, the advertised Unemployment Rate deliberately ignores anyone not actively seeking a job. So the millions of people who’ve given up looking – whether that decision is a permanent one (i.e., early retirement) or just temporary, until things actually start looking up – are specifically excluded from the calculation. The real unemployment rate is probably about what economists call the “U-6” rate, which currently stands above 11%.

If you can believe the statistics published by the government’s Bureau of Labor, the labor participation rate (the percentage of working-age, work-desiring adults who are actually working) was below 63% seven months ago, a dismal level and the lowest in 35 years. Any way you cut the statistical cards, there are still millions of Americans without the jobs they want and need.

You call that a “recovery”?

And here’s the thing: All previous recoveries from deep recessions have been sharp, strong and meaningful. So, given that our most recent Recession was severe enough to be labeled “Great,” it is historically reasonable to expect that we would have seen an economic rebound of lightning speed and enormous scale.

 We should have been sitting pretty way before the 2012 elections.

And yet here we are, now a full six years into a slogging, paltry, barely-there recovery. Oh, and by-the-by, also six years into an Obama-led, Democrat-policy-guided “recovery.”

I don’t think it’s unreasonable to suggest that there may be some meaningful connection between those two coincident facts.

The published Unemployment Rate may appear to be dropping; but the amount of money available to families has been dropping, as well. Median household income is still below pre-Recession levels, and shows little sign of improving. And everybody knows that food costs more now than it did six years ago. If it weren’t for the sudden, dramatic drop in gasoline prices (a direct result of “fracking” shale wells to increase production,) Americans would be in increasingly-dire straits.

Is it any wonder that the public perception of their economic reality is in the toilet? Government statistics and Obama-led cheerleading aside, Americans know the truth. They feel it.

It’s fairly easy to see the broad-stokes connection between the Administration’s Robin-Hood policies and the real decline in America’s fortunes. Here’s the right way to look at our economy:

  1. People get money for doing jobs. It’s called employment.
  2. People make jobs by investing their “spare” money. It’s what rich people do that poor people cannot (because they don’t have any money to spare.)
  3. When rich people make jobs, poor people get jobs.
  4. When as many jobs are made by rich people as there are people to “fill” (take) the jobs, that is called “full employment.” It’s a good thing.
  5. When you don’t have “full employment,” you need more jobs. That means you need more rich people to make them – not fewer rich people.
  6. If you take money away from rich people (known as “taxing”), they have less money left over, and will therefore make fewer jobs.
  7. If the rich make fewer jobs, there will be fewer people working. That is called “un-employment.”

Therefore, having Robin Hood as President, deliberately working to tax the rich in order to give to (subsidize) the poor just naturally leads to fewer jobs, and fewer people working.

According to a careful analysis of BOL statistics done by the Heritage Foundation, as of 2013 there were about 11 million fewer Americans working than at the beginning of the Great Recession.*

And that is what “Robin Hood” calls a “recovery.”

Just remember that number, the next time you hear someone talking about the “Obama Recovery.”

Eleven million Americans wondering what’s become of their lives.

Meanwhile, where are those twelve million “undocumented non-Americans” hanging out?

Oh, yeah. They’re down at the border, welcoming across the latest trainloads of “immigrants.”

Anybody need a Birth Certificate? Driver’s License?

The lines form here…

* The much-ballyhooed “Unemployment Rate” is a statistical feint, deliberately designed to mask the true number of unemployed people. If you give up looking for work because there aren’t any jobs, you are no longer considered “unemployed.”


Phil Erwin is an author, IT administrator and registered Independent living in Newbury Park. He sometimes wishes he could support Democrat ideals, but he has a visceral hatred for Lies and Damn Lies, and is none too fond of Statistics. If his writing depresses you, he recommends you visit Chip Bok’s site for a more lighthearted perspective.

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Unemployment rate?