Another brilliant op-ed over at Forbes by Yaron Brook and Don Watkins of the Ayn Rand Institute:
[…] The truth is that Ryan actually proposes increasing government spending in the coming years–just at a lower rate than current projections. So why are Ryan’s critics so up in arms?
Because Ryan’s plan dares to touch (albeit, merely to scratch) the
untouchable entitlement state. Ryan’s plan would, among other things,
trim and reorganize Medicare and Medicaid and reduce federal support for
education. To the plan’s critics, this amounts to “reverse-Robin Hood
redistribution,” as former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve Alan Blinder put it.
“[A]bout two-thirds of Mr. Ryan’s so-called courageous budget cuts
would come from programs serving low- and moderate-income Americans,
while the rich would gain from copious tax cuts.”
The “reverse-Robin Hood” line suggests that Ryan’s plan robs from
“the poor” and gives to “the rich.” But cutting entitlements is not
robbery–and cutting taxes isn’t a gift.
Entitlements are essentially government handouts: the government
takes money from some people in order to finance other people’s
retirements, doctor’s visits, and whatever else the government deems
worthy. They are unearned benefits. It is shameful that in a
civilized society we have to say this, but getting less loot is not the
same thing as being robbed.
A tax cut, meanwhile, is not a government handout–it is a reduction
of how much of your income the government takes. Whether you’re a
millionaire, billionaire, or an ambitious stock boy, a tax cut means you
get to keep more of what you earn.
In this context, consider president Obama’s recent budget speech,
in which he criticized Ryan’s plan for implying that “even though we
can’t afford to care for seniors and poor children, we can somehow
afford more than $1 trillion in new tax breaks for the wealthy.” When
Obama speaks of what “we” can afford, he is obviously smuggling in the
premise that all wealth rightfully belongs to society and that the
government–as society’s representative–will dole out that wealth as it
We reject that premise. On our view, you earned your wealth and it
belongs to you, and no politician has any business talking about how
much of your money he can “afford” to let you keep.
Read the rest of It’s Time To Kill The ‘Robin Hood’ Myth.