Austerity Robin Hood: a billionaire who takes from "scroungers" and gives to "hardworking people"

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Does anyone actually think of these people as Robin Hoods, even in the privacy of their own minds? Or is the journalist just making shit up in order to create a hook for his article about how rotten some people are?

I’m not saying it’s impossible to twist the “Take from the rich, give to the poor” that is the elevator pitch of the Robin Hood myth to the point that everyone on welfare is better off than them, even when there are people sleeping rough on empty lots and busking for change on street corners visible for all to see. But are the New Merry Men how Cameron got a second term, or was that not just down to a bunch of less generous folk who nonetheless have enough self-awareness to know that they aren’t Robin Hood?


In the U.S., a lot of people really do think Trump is a hero because like so many others on the right, he claims Big Government is the people’s enemy (never Big Government Run by Big Corporations and Wall Street). Yes, people do think that Trump, and other billionaires getting elected around the country, are their saviors; they believe their claims that the big enemy is Big, Wasteful, Over-taxing Government. They also fail to see that destroying government regulations, and govt-funded services, is actually the billionaires’ goal, all for the purpose of THEM making even more money from the very people they’re claiming they want to help.


That’s because there is an essential disconnect between handouts and not - I recall a time in my life where I crossed that threshold. I made just enough that everything suddenly got way more expensive. I lost my tax refund and had to pay.

I did the calculations and came to the realization that I could take a pay cut - and have more in pocket money by taking assistance. I have way more ‘in pocket’ money now because I worked my ass off - but that line is out there. For instance if my wife and I made around 10k less per year I could qualify for a nice house with programs that would set me up for about half my current rent - but I cross an invisible line that puts it outside my ability to save for at the moment.

Stuff like that hurts - but if you offer the same ‘assistance’ to everyone people feel it’s unfair. But then they get upset when they see others ‘getting’ stuff they don’t have. It’s really the argument for a ‘standard income’ that everyone just gets. Then no matter what you make you are better off - and the harder you work the better off you become. But ‘why would people work’ - yup - because if you are always better off by working (and not just cut out of the system) you have incentive. Honestly if someone is so lazy they are content with ‘just getting by’ having them not work (and half ass it) would be better for us collectively. Also I think people would be shocked to find out what it would take to hire someone working in fast food if they didn’t need it to survive. Outside of high paying jobs it would cut down on a ton of douchbaggary they teach for micro-managing people into miserable jobs on the low end (because they can get away with it due to people’s need to gain an income).

/shrug - it’s a long road to get there - but it’s an idea that will hit eventually when the amount of things we need people to do is so small compared to the amount of people. We certainly have enough wealth in the world to ensure people actually are fed and taken care of. You could argue the US is already past that point if you look at the unemployment numbers of people who have stopped looking for work, along with the number of less than full time jobs (because the labor pool is so deep you can hire 10 people for 3 spots and just give them all crap hours) - and the number of temp positions - and the number of people who have more than one job to get by. Shrink all that so that people get full time hours and you’d get rid of millions of jobs.

That’s really scary.


May I suggest the Myths Retold take on Robin Hood? It’s classy.

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I don’t think trashing gatsos goes with all of these other statements. It’s a charming and quaint pastime for the locals and is one of the reasons I still have hope for England.

They seem to have taken down that one site that had all the pictures of vandalized gatsos on it though. Probably government censorship at work, there.

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That song’s going to be in my head for hours now. Gah!


Apropos of nothing, but interesting, I went to a seminar about cultural memory and exemplary figures once, and the speaker spent a lot of time talking about Robin Hood as kind of the model for what she was studying. Something that stuck with me was that (as far as I remember) that the association of Robin Hood and “steals from rich/gives to poor” (along with a number of other elements that we think of as essential to Robin Hoods) were additions to the tradition attributable to a satirical version of the story written in the very early 19th century.


“dumb dumb dumb!”


I’ve heard the memes referred to from the mouths of real people. Robin Hood would be a step too far as an unironic meme because it makes these resentments ludicrous, which makes appropriate its use as a reframing device.


Sometimes, it does help, to actually read the article you are commenting on. James Meek is not some journalist, but by far, the most astute observer and commentator on the State of the Union (this side of the Atlantic). His argument on the rhetoric of austerity and scam of privatisation, the dismantling of public networks (i.e. infrastructure) is impeccably researched, sophisticated and nuanced and definitely worth a read, if you can be bothered to step back and reassess the political reality we are being spoon fed.

His book on the subject is called Private Island and is a must read. Just a thought.

EDIT: bcs I wrote spoon fed not spooned you silly spell checker.


Well, where’s the fun in that? :wink: Thanks for the book recommendation; I’ll add it to my ever-growing list of to-reads.

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