Obamanomics has been described as Robin Hood economics, taking from the rich to give to the poor. Actually, Robin Hood took back from the king (and in some traditions of the story from corrupt clergymen) what had been taken from the people by the government. In terms of popular culture’s understanding of Robin Hood, mostly through the Robin Hood movies and TV series (too many to list here but see the 1938 Adventures of Robin Hood starring Errol Flynn, Claude Rains, and Basil Rathbone; also see here and order here), the archer in green tights was 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 they could retain their political positions.
If a Robin Hood movie were being cast today, Barak Obama 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. These Obamacists believe that passing a law can overturn the law of supply and demand. Given enough time, I believe we will see the day when politicians will pass a law that states that no one will die in an automobile crash because Congress has so decreed.
Consider the oil companies, the favorite target of the tax and spenders. “In addition to making hefty profits,” a CNNMoney article reports, “Exxon also had a hefty tax bill. Worldwide, the company paid $10.5 billion in income taxes in the second quarter, $9.5 billion in sales taxes, and over $12 billion in what it called ‘other taxes.’”
Actually, Exxon didn’t pay a penny in taxes. We consumers paid all of it! Of course, this is true of all corporate taxation. A tax is considered a business expense. As an expense it’s passed on to consumers, and there is no law that will change this reality. Any company forced to eat the cost of taxation will go out of business or be subsidized by the State. Once again, a subsidy is an extraction of capital from workers, either in taxes paid to the State for the subsidy or by inflation (increasing the money supply).
Since most Americans don’t know much about economics, they serve as cheerleaders for “tax the rich” rhetoric and economic policy and vote the Prince Johns into office, all the while blaming poor economic conditions on those under the thumb of the Sheriff of Nottingham.
The oil companies are easy targets for the politics of envy because their profits seem so extreme. But what other industry offers such a service so trouble free by locating its commodity in easily accessible filling stations up and down highways all across the United States open nearly 24 hours a day, every day of the week?
And don’t forget that it’s Prince John who is charging you and me about fifty cents on every gallon of gasoline we buy. And here’s the kicker: Prince John is making the oil companies play the role of the Sheriff of Nottingham by making them collect the tax and giving the impression to consumers that the added fifty cents goes to the oil companies.
Here’s what the oil companies should do: Post the price of gas as a list of costs with the tax consumers pay clearly designated. So if a gallon of gas costs $3.50, the sign would read $3.00 + .50 cents tax = $3.50 total
The oil companies also should make available at every pump how much profit is being made on each gallon as compared to ALL the taxes that are paid. The oil companies need a new public relations department. I would like to apply for the director’s job.