President Barack Obama has amped up the debate over wealth with a new phrase. Mitt Romney’s plan to lower taxes on the wealthy, he says, amounts to “Robin Hood in reverse. It’s Romney-hood.”
It’s a clever phrase. But Obama is not the first to utter it. In fact, “Robin Hood in reverse” has a long history in American politics. It's been used and abused against Democrats and Republicans alike — as well as lobbed by the wealthy in battles over golf tournaments and yacht clubs.
It first showed up in the mainstream in 1971. George Meany, the firebrand labor leader and famed president of the AFL-CIO, was reacting to Richard Nixon’s “New Economic Policy,” which called for wage and price controls to tame inflation, as well as lifting some excise taxes to stimulate spending. Meany called the plan “Robin Hood in Reverse, robbing the poor to pay the rich.”
(Whether the plan worked is debatable.)
The cry showed up again in 1981 — amidst another recession. This time Albert Shanker, president of the American Federation of Teachers, called Ronald Reagan’s cuts to social-welfare programs “Robin Hood in reverse.”
He told the press: ''The money is going to come from those who have the least, and it's going to those who have the most.”Page 1 of 4 | Next Page