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Helping the poor
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, December 21, 2006

The road to hell is paved with good intentions and ignorance:
During the campaign, [James] Webb often spoke about the growing divide between the rich and the poor, a divide he said risks tearing American society apart. He said Tuesday he hopes to begin addressing the problem through measures such as increasing the minimum wage and examining the fairness of corporate tax breaks.
We've talked, ad nauseum, about who in reality benefits from minimum wage increases (hint: it isn't the poor).

Concerning the "fairness of corporate tax breaks", tell me again who actually pays corporate taxes (hint: it isn't corporations)?

A heck of a one-two punch. Unfortunately neither will do a single thing for "fairness" or the poor. Great plan, Mr. Webb.

Want to really do something for the poor? Consider changing this:
In the summer of 2003, shoppers in Southern California began getting a break on the price of milk.

A maverick dairyman named Hein Hettinga started bottling his own milk and selling it for as much as 20 cents a gallon less than the competition, exercising his right to work outside the rigid system that has controlled U.S. milk production for almost 70 years. Soon the effects were rippling through the state, helping to hold down retail prices at supermarkets and warehouse stores.

That was when a coalition of giant milk companies and dairies, along with their congressional allies, decided to crush Hettinga's initiative. For three years, the milk lobby spent millions of dollars on lobbying and campaign contributions and made deals with lawmakers, including incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.).

Last March, Congress passed a law reshaping the Western milk market and essentially ending Hettinga's experiment — all without a single congressional hearing.

"They wanted to make sure there would be no more Heins," said Mary Keough Ledman, a dairy economist who observed the battle.
Of course you'll have to take on your new boss, Harry Reid. But if you really want to see the poor get a fair shake, things like cheaper milk seem a natural, don't you think?

We also have the Farm Bill heading to the Senate early next year. Another opportunity to drastically cut spending going mostly to agricultural corporations which simply don't need the money. If all your talk about the poor and helping them isn't just a bunch of fluff you'll be all over this.

Then there are the various tariffs and quotas. It's like a tax on the poor when you keep good, cheap and plentiful imports that would actually benefit the poor and enhance their buying power from making it to our markets. Why not stand up for ending those?

Yup, plenty of opportunities to help the poor. The minimum wage and corporate taxes are red herrings, Mr. Webb. If you're actually serious about helping the poor in this country, then set your sites a heck of a lot higher than you are with those two issues. And be prepared to fight an entrenched and powerful constituency which is represented in your party as well as the other.

And good luck. I won't be holding my breath.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Well, nobody ever said Webb was the brightest candle on the menorah...
Written By: D
URL: http://
Tom Sowell once opined that the problem with modern liberalism is that it is mostly concerned with replacing what works with what sounds good. Here’s two classic examples.

Add in Webb’s paleoconservatism on trade and immigration, and voila! You have a recipe for disaster, all wrapped up in a single Senator!!!
Written By: Sean
Concerning the "fairness of corporate tax breaks", tell me again who actually pays corporate taxes (hint: it isn’t corporations)?
Probably not who you think, either. To the extent that it is corporate income tax we are talking about, it’s a tax on profits, not an increase in the cost of producing the good. The immediate consequences are to the shareholders, in the form of artificially small dividends when the company is profitable, and no impact at all when it is not. The secondary consequences are to consumers, but only to the extent that the corporate tax results in less investment in stocks, and that in turn results in widgets being manufactured. In markets that are highly competitive despite the corporate income tax, the difference in supply with or without the corporate tax is probably negligible.
Written By: Xrlq
Not quite right, Xrlq. While the corporate tax does impact shareholders (many of whom are working class investors, too), the majority of the burden is borne by labor. Recent research indicates that a bit more than 70% of the burden of corporate taxes on domestic corporations is borne by domestic labor. A bit more than 30% is borne by the owners of capital, and a small benefit is obtained by land owners.
Written By: Jon Henke
"To the extent that it is corporate income tax we are talking about, it’s a tax on profits, not an increase in the cost of producing the good"

Corporations must maintain a certain level of profit, else noone invests in the company, and they cannot sell stocks or bonds. If taxes lower the profit, prices go up and/or costs(jobs) are cut to maintain the profit.
Written By: timactual
URL: http://

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