In Part 2 of this series, we considered a question: What is the moral logic that justifies Robin Hood government? We determined that logic has little to do with Robin Hood government. In this installment, we consider a second question.
What Are The Consequences Of Accepting The Logical Argument For Robin Hood Government?
As we noted in the last post, the basic argument for Robin Hood government seems simple. When poor people need something, charitable government officials can just take what those poor people need from the “rich”. Then those charitable government officials redistribute the wealth, and the poor will have what they need. Since none of us want to see the poor suffer and few of us think of ourselves as “rich”, Robin Hood government provides a temptingly simple solution to poverty.
So what is the problem? It seems that redistributing the wealth requires a far more powerful government.
Defining Poor And Rich
When our government gets into the business of redistributing the wealth, somebody has to decide who to take the wealth from and who to give the wealth to. Who exactly are the poor? Who are the rich? How much wealth defines one as “rich”?
Whose “rights” deserves special protection? Who gets to pay the bill?
What Do The Poor Need?
Presumably, nobody wants to be poor. Everyone must be willing to work. So the theory goes that the poor must lack the capacity to work productively. Therefore, Robin Hood’s Merry Men have a solution for poverty, “fix” the poor. That is, government needs to provide the poor all the things they need to be productive citizens.
- The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation.
- The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation.
- The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living.
- The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad.
- The right of every family to a decent home.
- The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health.
- The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment.
- The right to a good education.
With the list above, Roosevelt confirmed the supposed goals of the New Deal. Since Roosevelt was president, our government has added many new “rights”. Here is the rationale. If justice requires that we can be divided by our economic class, then justice can also be used as an excuse to divide us by our race, our sex, our creed, our age, our handicaps, our occupations, and so forth. In fact, Robin Hood’s Merry Men often abuse the word justice with certain expressions, expressions like “social justice” and “economic justice”.
CHRISTIANITY AND SOCIALISM — PART 1 explains how fans of Capitalism define ”social justice” and “economic justice”.
How Does Government Take The Rich’s Wealth?
Once government has defined who is poor and who is rich and what the poor need, government must get what the poor need. Yet government produces no wealth of its own. So what’s the solution? Tax the rich. Unfortunately, that solution comes with a little problem. Because they produced it, the rich think they have the right to use their wealth as they think proper. Therefore, government officials must use force or the threat of force to separate rich people from their earnings. That requires that government use part of the revenues they extract from the rich to set up a nasty bureaucracy, one with officials empowered to threaten and punish uncooperative taxpayers.
How Does The Government Redistribute The Wealth?
Once the government has acquired the wealth of the rich, government officials must use part of that wealth to properly redistribute the rest of it. That is because government officials need dozens more bureaucratic agencies. Various agencies distribute food, clothing and shelter. Many more educate, and some give money to nonprofits. The biggest government agencies pay for the retirement and medical care of the aged. Why? Old folks vote.
To get the most “rights”, the most of other people’s money, you must belong to the right identity group, and you must vote for the right politicians. Consider the example of the old. In the naive belief that they were paying for their retirement and old age medical care when they paid their payroll taxes (Robin Hood’s Merry Men spent that money faster than the U.S. Treasury could count it.), old people now vote for the “right” politicians. Because they believe they have earned the right to Social Security and Medicare, old people finance these scams by voting to rob their children and grandchildren.
So What Is The Net Result?
Because of Robin Hood government, Robin Hood’s Merry Men gain immense power.
- They define the “rights” of the people, they give those they choose their “rights”. That is, they decide who gets gifts from the government and who gets taxed to pay for those gifts.
- They acquire a constituency they empower either to take the property of the rich or to protect that property.
- They acquire a constituency they empower to satisfy the “needs” of the poor.
- They gain control over trillions of dollars. They acquire all they need to buy the votes of the people with the people’s own money.
What Is To Come?
In the next post we will consider how Robin Hood government conflicts with traditional wisdom.