The iron-board tax: who knew it was even up for discussion? Matt Yglesias,
for one. The Washington Post ran a piece Tuesday on the last American
factory making ironing boards, and how it survives only due to a heavy
tax on Chinese imported boards. The liberal blogger
points out that, despite the benefits of the tax, it's still, ultimately, a tax, and "it results in more expensive ironing boards."
specifically, he thinks, as do many opposed to such taxes, that
protecting "the $15/hour jobs of 200 factory workers along with the
profits of Chicago-based Home Products International ... is a bad
reason to impose extra costs on those of us who iron things from time
to time." If you ditch the tax, you wind up creating those jobs
elsewhere, as consumers "spend less money on ironing boards and will
either spend more money on other things."
So why does the tax persist? With such high unemployment, he explains, "it's really hard for anyone to say
with a straight face that if the
factory closes down the employees will be able to find new jobs." As a
result, " the longer elevated unemployment persists, the more random
trade barriers we're going to see."
Want to add to this story? Let us know in comments
or send an email to the author at
hhorn at theatlantic dot com.
You can share ideas for stories on the Open Wire.