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    A bag tax hurts the poor

    Politicians, grocers and labor honchos have conspired to take the complimentary plastic shopping bags that most families use when they are shopping, and convert them into a grocer’s profit center, or ban them entirely to force use of more costly alternatives.

    That’s not going to hurt these wealthy “one-percenters” one bit. But poor and working class families are not so lucky. For them, adding five or ten cents per bag, every time they shop, or forcing them to purchase multiple, multi-dollar alternatives, is a real and substantial harm.

    Washington, DC, which has a nickel-per-bag tax, has extracted millions of dollars per year from shoppers – even as one in four District children live in poverty.

    A bag tax (or a bag ban that forces shoppers to more expensive alternatives) is a regressive tax – it takes a higher portion of a poor family’s income than it does of the wealthy. And it does this to make supermarket executives and labor bosses even richer, and to make government even bigger.

    It’s a massive income transfer from poor and working class families to politicians, supermarkets and unions.

    No wonder special interests love bag taxes so much.

    Here’s a modest proposal: how about the politicians pass no bag taxes until they get 85% of poor children reading and doing math at grade level in the public schools. (The figure is roughly 50% currently.)

    They can’t even get their schools to teach reading and math but they have time to create new taxes that hammer the poor. These are disastrously-misplaced priorities, and it’s just plain wrong.