Do Renewable Portfolio Standards Reverse the Robin Hood Concept
by Taking from the Poor and Giving to the Rich?
English literature has the legend of Robin Hood, who “stole from the rich and gave to the poor.” Some people liken the graduated income tax as a government Robin Hood program to achieve some of this wealth transfer from the rich to the poor, a form of income redistribution. In contrast, renewable portfolio standards seem to have the opposite effect of concentrating money in the hands of the few at the expense of the entire community, including the poor.
Most government programs serve a Robin Hood function, taking money from the rich and middle class and providing services to the poor or to the general public. The Solyndra nightmare is different in that the money is going to the rich, not to the poor or the general public. The Solyndra nightmare will serve to concentrate the wealth in the country, giving money to a relatively few people. Given that the money is coming from the general taxes raised by the government, the Solyndra nightmare will concentrate the wealth to a few rich people at the expense of other rich people and the middle class. The large number of people who don’t earn enough to pay income taxes avoid the wealth concentration aspects of the Solyndra nightmare.
Renewable Portfolio Standards are different. Everyone pays for electricity, either directly to the utility or indirectly in the form of rent. The money associated with Renewable Portfolio Standards is paid to a few individuals, often people with ties to the legislators who voted to enact the Renewable Portfolio Standards. Thus, money is coming out of the pockets of everyone, including the poor who were supported by Robin Hood, and goes into the pockets of the rich, the people who own the projects mandated by Renewable Portfolio Standards, the people whom Robin Hood supposedly robbed.
So, should Renewable Portfolio Standards be considered to be a reverse of the Robin Hood concept? Do Renewable Portfolio Standards take from the poor and give to the rich?