If only Bernie Sanders understood even the merest hint of economics. But then, obviously enough, if Bernie Sanders understood any economics then he’d not be Bernie Sanders, would he? His latest idea is that American companies should be fined, or at least taxed more, if they hire low income workers. A casual thought or two about this would tell us that this isn’t likely to have a good outcome for low income workers but Bernie is proposing it all the same.
More evidence that Bernie’s not got the first clue about economics then. The headline seems to be gaining some sympathetic press:
Thousands of Amazon workers receive food stamps. Now Bernie Sanders wants Amazon to pay up. https://t.co/K2rCUBkXZq
— Michelle Singletary (@SingletaryM) August 24, 2018
A very slightly more detailed examination shows that the idea is a real, real, dud:
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is amping up his battle against large corporations like Amazon with a new bill set to be introduced on Sept. 5.
According to the senator’s office, the legislation would create a 100-percent tax on large employers equal to the amount of federal benefits that the employers’ low-wage workers receive.
For instance, if an Amazon employee gets $300 in food stamps, Amazon would be taxed $300.
This is drivel, obviously. Actually, it’s dribble. Anyone who doesn’t grasp this immediately needs a remedial class in basic logic, stat.
Ah, sorry, OK, didn’t spot you over there you delightful snowflake you. So, to explain.
Some people get low wages, they most assuredly do. Thus we top up low wages from our pockets, us the taxpayers. Hey, it’s we the taxpayers who insist that people should be getting more money than their employers think they’re worth so it should be us taxpayers coughing up to give them more money. But perhaps you don’t find that logic appealing. OK, so, who is it that gets food stamps? Well, in near all of America (eligibility rules vary by State at least a little bit) it’s not the single adult that does. It’s people part of families – food stamps are really aimed at children more than anyone else.
OK. So, here’s Amazon or any other plutocratic, capitalist and thus hard hearted employer. There’s the single male looking for a job at $10 an hour. There’s the single mother looking for a job at $10 an hour. Currently they both cost the employer the same amount of money, $10 an hour. However, we out here, society, we say the single mother needs $600 a month (just to entirely invent a number but not far off reality) to feed her three children. On top of her wages. We do this because the children shouldn’t go hungry.
Now Bernie Sanders brings in his thoroughly sensible and well thought out plan. Amazon must pay a $600 a month tax for hiring the single mother. Amazon pays no tax for hiring the single male.
Who gets the job?
Well, one of them costs Amazon $10 an hour plus nothing, the other $10 an hour plus $600. It’s not going to be Ms. $600 extra who gets hired, is it?
Now do this again with all of the varied benefits that the American welfare state offers. Section 8 vouchers, the EITC, hey, maybe Bernie’s going to include Medicaid in this plan, who knows? Now think of what actually happens out there in that labour market.
Anyone eligible for any form of welfare benefit is now at the back of the line to get hired, those eligible for none of them at the front. As that system works, those with children are at the back, those without at the front.
Bernie Sanders is proposing this to make life better for the poor children of America, is he?
“At a time of massive wealth and income inequality, the gap between the very rich and everyone else continues to grow wider,” Sanders said in a statement.
“[Amazon CEO] Jeff Bezos, the wealthiest person on earth, has become a symbol of that inequality and greed,” the statement continued. “While Mr. Bezos is worth $155 billion and while his wealth has increased $260 million every single day this year, he continues to pay many Amazon employees wages that are so low that they are forced to depend on taxpayer funded programs such as food stamps, Medicaid and subsidized housing just to get by.”
He might well be including Medicaid. Meaning that someone with a sick child simply never will get a job, will they?
Look, this idea is garbage. And now do you understand why economists think Bernie Sanders has no answers to any of our economic ailments? Insist that he’s somewhere between a know nothing* and a bad joke?
Seriously, Bernie Sanders has just, in the name of making life better for America’s poor, proposed that no one hire poor people with children, most especially a sick child. This is going to make things better? Or Bernie hasn’t a clue?
Your choice there but there’s a fairly obvious answer available to you.
*American political history’s a bit hazy for me but weren’t the Know Nothings more like proto-Republicans?