Awaiting Bernie’s plan to help poor

(My Clovis News Journal column for June 3, 2016)

It’s a rare thing for me to agree with a presidential candidate– and rarer still for me to agree with an avowed socialist.

Bernie Sanders recently said it is “unacceptable” that nearly 47 million Americans live in poverty. Assuming his numbers are right– not that it matters even if he’s off by an order of magnitude or two– that’s too many. I agree with him. It is completely unacceptable.

So, does Bernie have an actual plan to fix it, or does he believe he can magically lift the poor by bringing down everyone else with taxes and regulations?

If one is honest about finding poverty unacceptable, one will support the steps required to solve it.

So, is Sanders ready to end taxation? To allow everyone, rich and poor, to keep all their money? To end all business taxes? Every corporate tax ends up being paid by the customer, because that’s the economic reality of taxing businesses. Any business which doesn’t figure every expense, including all taxes and government fees, into the final price the customer pays, will go out of business. No more jobs; no more of the benefits the business brings to society, including to you and the poor. Taxation is not the price we pay for a civilized society; civilized society is what we sometimes manage in spite of taxation. The poor can’t afford taxation, and neither can you.

It’s a necessary first step, but there are more.

The best way to lift someone out of poverty is to stop preventing them from earning money. Is Mr. Sanders willing to advocate for ending licensing requirements and business permits? Wealthy people can afford to pay those ridiculous fees, but a poor person wanting to start her own business probably can’t. If they dare to do business anyway, their business will be stolen from them by government employees “just doing my job”, and they will be fined or jailed. All under the claim of “protecting society”. Is he willing to end the criminalization of acts of free enterprise between consenting parties?

The poor are being “protected” into poverty, and kept there by red tape, regulations, and laws.

Widespread poverty should be a solved problem.

Or does Bernie plan to keep doing more of the same to trap those who are already impoverished in their current circumstances and make others join them; preventing both from helping themselves? Because that’s been the standard government tactic for a century or so, and it isn’t helping anyone but politicians.

If you get any value from my labors, consider rewarding me with your financial support. This blog is in its 10th year now. If you believe I have contributed anything to the conversation regarding liberty during these ten years, and believe I have more to contribute, help me stay online.
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One Response to “Awaiting Bernie’s plan to help poor”

  1. Tahn Says:

    Very fine article Kent and a great question for any statist. Thanks!

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