I know that he just didn’t have a whole lot of time to actually spend on legislation while he served North Carolinians in the U.S. Senate, but did John Edwards do anything to try dismantling the federal agricultural programs that raise the cost of food for everyone? Did he try to lower tariffs on low-cost apparel so that the poor would not need to spend so much of their income on clothing?

I don’t think so.

On the other hand, we are told that he’s a real champion for the poor because he wanted to raise the minimum wage. But as virtually any economist will tell you, raising the minimum wage mainly benefits non-poor teenagers and second-income workers who do most of the minimum wage jobs, while making it harder for the very badly educated or handicapped to compete for their first jobs. Tampering with the price system in the labor market is an atrocious idea — economically.

But it’s pretty good for a politician who wants to bask in headlines about his supposed compassion and never has to actually confront the damage he does to real people.