What kind of coun­try do you want?

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary -

Through­out the ages, Robin Hood has car­ried a very pos­i­tive im­age: a dash­ing hero who steals from a cor­rupt king­dom and dis­trib­utes the loot to the poor. Er­rol Flynn was among the first to bring Robin to life in the movies, and more re­cently, Rus­sell Crowe ad­vanced the le­gend.

Pres­i­dent Obama, I be­lieve, sees him­self as the no­ble Robin. Cer­tainly, his tax-the-rich mantra and health care give­aways demon­strate a strong de­sire to re­dis­tribute in­come from the af­flu­ent to the poor in Amer­ica.

How is that play­ing in Peoria? A new Gallup poll tells us.

The ques­tion was sim­ple: “Do you think our gov­ern­ment should or should not re­dis­tribute wealth by heavy taxes on the rich?” Most Amer­i­cans said no. Forty-nine per­cent do not sup­port Obama’s vi­sion, in­clud­ing 69 per­cent of Repub­li­cans and 53 per­cent of in­de­pen­dents. But 47 per­cent of Amer­i­cans do want to be shown the money, in­clud­ing a whop­ping 71 per­cent of Democrats.

The de­mo­graphic break­down is in­struc­tive: Fifty-two per­cent of women but just 42 per­cent of men sup­port wealth re­dis­tri­bu­tion. But the real gap is be­tween whites and non­whites. Here, 64 per­cent of non­white Amer­i­cans want fed­eral money given to those who have not, while just 41 per­cent of whites want the same.

Gallup con­cludes that most Amer­i­cans do sup­port the wealthy pay­ing more in or­der to solve spe­cific prob­lems (like So­cial Se­cu­rity), but Amer­i­cans are not “anti-rich.” A ma­jor­ity be­lieves the USA does not have “too many” rich folks.

For Obama, the call is easy. His core con­stituency fer­vently be­lieves that a “just so­ci­ety” takes from the rich and gives to the poor. The prob­lem is that the Found­ing Fathers did not be­lieve that. So in­sti­tut­ing leg­is­la­tion man­dat­ing the re­dis­tri­bu­tion of pri­vate wealth runs up against a va­ri­ety of con­sti­tu­tional is­sues. That’s why the Supreme Court will have to de­cide on Oba­macare.

Madi­son, Jef­fer­son, Franklin and the boys did not want a strong fed­eral gov­ern­ment med­dling in eco­nomic af­fairs or much else for that mat­ter.

They did not im­pose a fed­eral in­come tax (that first ar­rived dur­ing the Civil War), and they did not sup­port gov­ern­ment in­tru­sion on the free mar­ket­place.

In the lat­ter part of the 18th cen­tury, the colonists were ab­so­lutely fed up with King Ge­orge in­trud­ing upon their eco­nomic lives. That anger drove the revo­lu­tion. Those of us who ac­tu­ally stud­ied his­tory re­mem­ber the war cry: “No tax­a­tion with­out rep­re­sen­ta­tion!”

But to­day the Found­ing Fathers are con­sid­ered ob­so­lete by some on the left who want to join West­ern Europe in the cra­dle-to-grave en­ti­tle­ment zone. Never mind that coun­tries like Greece and Spain are go­ing un­der eco­nom­i­cally be­cause of their nanny state spend­ing. Lib­eral doc­trine re­quires “shar­ing the wealth,” con­se­quences be damned.

With the coun­try al­most evenly di­vided over wealth re­dis­tri­bu­tion, the next pres­i­den­tial elec­tion re­ally be­comes a ref­er­en­dum on that con­cept. Things were never this com­pli­cated in Sher­wood For­est.

Bill O’Reilly is au­thor of the book “Pin­heads and Pa­tri­ots: Where You Stand in the Age of Obama”.

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