Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Robin Hood - Conservative

I seem to remember Democrats several years ago idealizing Robin Hood as a justification for redistributing wealth and taxing the rich. There is a problem with that analogy. Robin Hood didn't rob the rich to feed the poor. Some of the rich were already working hard to feed the poor. Robin Hood stole from the government to return the money back to the people who had been taxed into poverty and starvation.

9 comments:

WhiteEyebrows said...

excellent point.

Dennis said...

Tony,

So would this include all the money I've been taxed for to pay for the Iraqi War?

cougartex said...

I am proud of the work we are doing in Iraq. Obama says over and over that the war in Iraq has not made us safer, but that doesn't make it true. There was a time when Iraq was a recruiting boon for al-Qaeda, but now fighting the Americans is recognized as a death sentence and the local population has recognized the depravity of al-Qaeda. Now the Iraqi Army is taking the lead in operations. Unless things change (admittedly, the fog of war makes the future unknown) Obama will have no campaign issue with Iraq. We are already drawing down.

Dennis said...

Even if you are right, my question still remains, doesn't it?

Your being proud of Iraq doesn't change the issue of government spending more than another person being proud of the government spending that you are dissing?

Which makes me think that the issue is not really about government spending. It's about whether you agree with how the spending is used. I disagree on this score, in terms of Iraq.

cougartex said...

It is true that how the money is spent matters. National defence is Constitutionally required, so it is money the government should spend. (Obviously, there can be disagreements on strategy and tactics.) But, there are a LOT of things the government spends our money on it has no business dealing with.

Even some things the government has a role in, they overstep their bounds, like the Bear Stearns bail out or nationalizing airport inspections. Moves like that strike me as machiavellian. They do something because it makes people feel good, but there is nothing inherently good about what the feds do.

Dennis said...

Tony,

The Constitution reads, "The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States."

Looks like both common defense and general welfare are required, and are to be paid for by taxes. Now, I understand that there are lot of ways you can interpret what is meant by "general welfare" (same for "common defense"), but you certainly cannot restrict it to the specific things mentioned in the Constitution.

I certainly agree that the government wastes a lot of money, but I would simply add that it wastes a lot of money on defense, and the Iraq War is a supreme example. Even if you argue that the war is necessary, frugality has nonetheless gone out the window.

Regarding the government overstepping their bounds in a Machiavellian sense, in a way that makes people feel good but have no inherent worth ... one could certainly argue this about the war in Iraq. Politicians argue that it is necessary because it makes us feel better about our safety. However, whether we really are safer because of our involvement in Iraq is highly questionable. You can't simply point to the fact that there hasn't been another attack on U.S. soil -- because who knows whether there would have been without the Iraq intervention? From my experience people simply say this without a lot of evidence.

Frankly, I'm tired of people (like Mitt Romney) saying: One thing's for certain: Bush is responsible for us not having another terrorist attack. This is pure conjecture. And even if it is true, safety is not the bottom line. There are a LOT of things we can do to ensure safety in the U.S. that we shouldn't do (and which would be unconstitutional) because they infringe upon our liberties. The words of Patrick Henry come to mind.

cougartex said...

Defense spending is less than 4% of GDP. Obviously, I would like to use that money to be spent most effectively. The degree to which reconstruction money has been wasted and mishandled in Iraq is unacceptable.

You probably won't like me for this, but I tend to agree with Mitt on this (I know, you are shocked). Yes, it is conjecture, but it makes sense to me. Al-Qaeda has been focused on Iraq and, as such, has been unable to hit us at home. They also have had no luck hitting anyone else hard lately. I would far rather terrorists' attention be focused in Iraq with our best trained and best armed citizens than here at home where police and firemen have to clean up the mess. Additionally, recent intelligence reports that the top leadership of al-Qaeda has been decimated.

Dennis said...

Tony, I'm not an expert on government spending, but take a look at the Tax Policy website. Here defense spending (for 2007) is listed as 53% of discretionary spending (which is 38% of the total budget). This puts defense spending at just over 20% -- five times what you have said. This is up 4% from 2001, according to this site.

cougartex said...

Sorry, 4% of GDP, not 4% of government spending. Heaven help us if government spending ever approaches GDP.