Leftists get the story of Robin Hood all wrong. The claim is often made that Robin Hood and his merry men stole from the rich to give to the poor and that somehow if we empower people through government to do the same thing then they will be equally right and righteous. Trillions of dollars have been taken from income earners over the years in an attempt to help the poor. Now we have more poor people dependent on the government for income than we’ve ever had, and the Democrats are calling for more subsidies. When you subsidize a behavior, you get more of that behavior.

I was listening to a comedy routine by Bob Newhart. He told how he once worked for the government unemployment office where he made $60 each week. Those coming in to receive their unemployment checks were making $55 each week. It didn’t take him long to figure out that working 40 hours for $60 was a lot less than spending around two hours (traveling and standing in line) to make $55.

Taxing corporations and high-income earners disproportionately does not grow the economy so more people can enter the labor force. Like an increase in the cost of electricity, rent, and salaries, the added fees and taxes will be added to the expense ledger and will be paid by all who do business with banks and corporations. Those calling for the new tax are only asking for a tax on themselves.

It’s not enough to free the economy from envy and theft. We must also remove the favoritism that often accompanies subsidies to individuals in the name of social justice. Thomas Woods, Jr., senior fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute and New York Times bestselling author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History, reveals the real problem:

The last thing we need is a larger, more centralized version of what we have now. Our problem isn’t greedy people or bad personnel. Every society and every period of world history have had those. The problem is the system itself.

An excellent moral case can be made for a genuinely free economy, one not subject to the cronyism and manipulation at the heart of the present system. The chief obstacle in the way of such an outcome is the central bank, the anomalous central planning agency at the heart of a free economy. We’ve been assured that the central bank has found a shortcut to prosperity by managing the economy with its highly touted macro tools and by second-guessing the interest rates to which the free interactions of individuals give rise. The result has been bubble after bubble and—contrary to popular belief—far more banking and currency crises and overall instability than was ever seen in the oft-misunderstood era that preceded the age of central banking.

The argument that greed and envy are the sole domain of the rich is misplaced and somehow politicians are immune to these sins. They aren’t. The following short clip of Milton Friedman, author of Free to Choose, being interviewed in 1979 by Phil Donahue is a good introduction to how no one is immune from greed and no one is good enough to make economic decisions for others:

The best and most righteous economic system is “Let’s make a deal.”

But back to Robin Hood. The TV-show ballad still rings in my head:

Robin Hood! Robin Hood! Riding through the glen!
Robin Hood! Robin Hood! With his band of men!
Feared by the bad! Loved by the good!

Who were the “bad” that feared Robin and his Merry Men? Who were those cheating the people? Who were the corrupt? It wasn’t the capitalists; it was the government officials and their cronies. Robin Hood took back from the political powers of the day (and in some traditions of the story from corrupt clergymen) what had been taken from the people by the government. In the 1938 film The Adventures of Robin Hood, starring Earl Flynn, Claude Rains, and Basil Rathbone, the archer fought against the political tyrants of his day, most notably Prince John, Sir Guy of Gisbourne, and the sheriffs who extracted taxes from the common people to pay the king so he and his cronies could retain their political positions.

The fictional story of Zorro is similar to Robin Hood. He fights against political corruption. The peons are oppressed by the local government and his enforcer. Tyrone Power in the 1940 film The Mark of Zorro, is not dueling with a capitalist:

If a Robin Hood movie were being cast today, Joe Biden would be cast as Prince John. The producers would have their pick of securing a supporting cast for Prince John’s court of governmental thieves by any number of Congressmen and Senators from both major political parties.