Thursday, November 26 , 2015, 6:49 pm | Fair 54º

Michelle Malkin: Robin Hood vs. the Wall Street Occupiers

The "1%" that protesters seek to punish wouldn't be the only ones to bear the costs of a soak-the-rich tax

By Michelle Malkin | @michellemalkin |

We have entered a new phase of the endless Occupy Wall Street sleepover. Not working is hard work. After a month of tying up the police, generating mounds of trash, railing against Jews while holding up “Nazi Bankers” signs, grappling with pervs, rapists and thieves in their ranks, communing with avowed communists, and hobnobbing with 1 percenter celebrities donning 99 percenter costumes (phew!), the Occupiers are rallying around a new mascot: Robin Hood.

The crime-plagued Carnival of 1,001 Demands is now focused on one unified agenda item: a soak-the-rich tax on financial transactions worldwide. The corporate-bashing Canadian magazine Adbusters (funded by left-wing Wall Street trader Robert Halper) initiated the Occupy Wall Street siege last summer and published a new online manifesto explaining the call for an Oct. 29 “Robin Hood march”:

“Across the globe the 99 percent are marching! ... It’s now time to amp up the edgy theatrics ... deviant pranks, subversive performances and playful detournements of all kinds.” There’s been no shortage of deviance, unfortunately, what with protesters defecating on police cars, urinating on each other’s tents, stealing food and phones, and exposing themselves to children. But I digress. As the movement “matures,” the leaders overseeing an unruly mob in Guido Fawkes masks exhorted the masses to “occupy the core of our global system.”

Oct. 29 is the eve of the G20 Leaders Summit in France, you see, and that’s the date on which Adbusters wants its followers to “rise up and demand that our G20 leaders immediately impose a 1 percent ROBIN HOOD tax on all financial transactions and currency trades.” The money, say longtime champions of the tax, would go to “fund crucial action against climate change.” The Occupiers’ message? “We want you to slow down some of that $1.3 trillion easy money that’s sloshing around the global casino each day — enough cash to fund every social program and environmental initiative in the world.”

Say what? Panicked governments forked over trillions of dollars to rescue politically connected, basket-case banks, and the solution is ... punishing individual investors, creating less efficient capital markets, and spreading the wealth around to global-warming zealots and welfare-state overlords?

Rest assured, the text of the Robin Hood tax manifesto will be chanted in ignorant zombie unison — using the “human microphone” method of call and drone — in dingy occupier camps from NYC to San Francisco and every blue dot in between. Showcasing their economic illiteracy, the Occupiers remain clueless about the real-world consequences of their redistributionist claptrap. And they’re ridiculously oblivious to the irony of adopting anti-tax crusader “Robin Hood” as their hero.

The ostensible intent of the anti-“greed” mob may be to reduce volatility in the market by punishing rapacious “banksters.” But the ultimate outcome would be less economic growth, bigger government and more punitive costs imposed on the decidedly non-rich. A European Union commission report on the impact of such a tax shows that it would reduce GDP by 0.5 percent. U.S. economist Kenneth Rogoff explained further in a recent analysis that “the declining volume of trades would shrink the tax base precipitously. As a result, the ultimate revenue gains are likely to prove disappointing, as Sweden discovered when it attempted to tax financial transactions two decades ago.”

The Association for Financial Markets in Europe found that 60 percent of trading volume in Sweden escaped to London after Sweden temporarily raised equity tax rates in the 1980s, and that the country experienced an 85 percent drop in bond trading volume, according to Financial News. The outcome was not simply less volatile trading. It was less trading, period.

The demon millionaires and billionaires whom the Occupiers seek to punish would not be the only ones to bear the costs. Over time, the burden of the Robin Hood tax would shift. Rogoff observed: “Higher transactions taxes increase the cost of capital, ultimately lowering investment. With a lower capital stock, output would trend downward, reducing government revenues and substantially offsetting the direct gain from the tax. In the long run, wages would fall, and ordinary workers would end up bearing a significant share of the cost.”

The original Robin Hood tales of the Middle Ages celebrated a renegade who rose up against property rights violations and taxation abuses. His archenemies were not private traders or bankers, but the local government tax collector, the Sheriff of Nottingham and the power-grabbing ruler, Prince John. Robin Hood, in other words, was far more Tea Party than flea party.

In any case, if the Occupiers insist on celebrating outright theft from the haves in the name of the have-nots, perhaps they should stop complaining about the pickpockets and looters infesting their camps. Live by “social justice” nursery rhymes. Die by “social justice” crimes.

Michelle Malkin is author of Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies. Click here for more information. She can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow her on Twitter: @michellemalkin.

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» on 10.24.11 @ 02:48 PM

The reason this will succeed is we on the right, the defenders of private capital and capitalism, minimal government and maximum personal responsibility and the denouncers of nanny coddling, public economies like socialism and communism, fail miserably to see the finance industry, banking, investing, speculating, services, law and the majority of economic activity as nothing more than the another form of wealth transfer. Until the distinction is made between activities that add more value than they consume and those that consume value transferring it from one entity to another, then we will continue to see the protest grow. We as conservatives can call the protesters every name in the book but the socialism they call for is no different than the financial system the protesters are angry at.

They blame capitalism, largely because they don’t know what it means and confuse it with greed a human behavior. Capitalism is the private ownership of property and the means of production and distribution of goods and services. It has nothing to do with an individual’s behavior, like being greedy. They fail to see that income redistribution, the kind they associate with socialism, is wealth transfer which is what the financial industry already does. Sure they want to transfer wealth from the few to the many and banks transfer from the many to the few, but neither actually produces new wealth and both consume more than their value adds. Wealth transfer is just that, robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Those of us on the right that recognize the value of making more wealth than you consume, like Steve Job’s Apple, Bill Gates’ Microsoft, Intel, US Steel, Exxon/Mobil, the Koch brothers, and other such wealth producers and distinguish them from wealth consumers like government, banks, brokers, sales, retail, law and other necessities that are net wealth consumers, need desperately to voice that distinction and very loudly. If we don’t we will ensure the commies and socialists and other bitter, jealous, envious class warfare mongers will throw the baby out with the bathwater to all humanities demise.

If the old commie tyrants ruling China can figure this out and indeed capitalize on it why in the hell can’t we? Are we so disinterested in wealth production because its easier to just sit on our fat lard asses and collect the rewards of other’s hard work that we just don’t give a crap anymore? Or are we that ignorant of how wealth is actually produced that we confuse wealth accumulation with wealth production. Think about that folks. Because commie, socialist, hippy, banker, broker, factory worker, politician or anything else, if we ain’t making wealth we are redistributing a shrinking pie and in the end rich or poor we all end up poor.

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