Income-tax code a welfare system? We should be proud Income-tax code a welfare system? We should be proud

“Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.”

The Census Bureau reported recently that the percentage of poor children dropped during the 1990s. It’s no coincidence that the working poor benefited from two Clinton administration policies during that time: an increase in the minimum wage and the expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit.

That’s strange. I thought that correlation without any sort of mechanism to explain causation was coincidence. Hmm.

“Poverty” is defined by gross income. As in, “not net.” That knocks the EITC out of the equation.

Most Republicans turned into Chicken Littles, predicting gloom and doom, but the economy simply kept growing. Growing despite a modest tax hike for the richest 2 percent of Americans and a hand up, through tax and wage policies, that brought living wages to workers in low-skill jobs.

She seems to have a problem using words correctly. Instead of “despite”, she should have said “in spite of”.

Those two policies, which the majority of Republicans rejected, coupled with welfare reform and a strong economy, did more to nudge people out of poverty than any trickle-down theory ever imagined. That rubs the GOP the wrong way.

I like that little aside, “coupled with”. When it is her pet policy, “it is no coincidence”, even if there is no way the pet policy had any impact at all. When it is a policy she isn’t fond of, it is “coupled with” her pet program.

Even though I like welfare reform, I really don’t think that it had much to do with it. It hasn’t been around long enough for the effects to show fully. It is the strong economy, stupid.

If you want to talk about rubbing people the wrong way, how about this one: it takes 8 to 10 years for government policy to translate into economic effects. That means that the Clinton boom was really the Reagan-Bush boom. That means that the Bush2 slump is really the Clinton slump. The economy is pulling out now, and that is due to the welfare reforms that the Republican congress forced through in spite of the Clinton administration.

Alabama Republican Rep. Spencer Bachus says the earned income tax credit is a scam that turns “our income tax code into a welfare system.”

He’s right. We should be proud of that. We are rewarding people who work with a tax code that gives back to the rich and gives a little extra to the poorest, too, because they deserve it, too.

She is having problems with sentence structure, now. She says “gives a little extra to the poorest,” but she seems to have mistakenly connected it to the “gives back” phrase. Surely she doesn’t mean to imply that the welfare payment she is advocating gives back to the poorest, since they never paid anything in the first place. You can’t give back what hasn’t already been given.

Either she has a problem forming coherent, logical sentences, or she is deliberately lying to you.

Today, 40 million Americans qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit. In Florida, one in five children lives in poverty and one in three in a single-parent home. What does that tell you about our low-paying service economy and the strains it puts on children’s well-being?

How many of those children in poverty are living in single parent homes? She tries to make it sound like maybe half (notice that she doesn’t say how many of that 5 lives in that 3.)

The other thing to remember is that the poverty line isn’t anything but an arbitrary line adjusted for inflation. It doesn’t relate to anything. Don’t take my word for it. Look it up.

The political leadership’s answer is ever more tax breaks for the richest because they pay most of the taxes. Well, yes, they also pay peanuts, as a percentage of their income, for housing, food and their manicured lawns.

Millionaires can sleep soundly in their mansions. This fight over the EITC isn’t class warfare that seeks to punish the rich. It’s about fairness.

There we go. That’s her pop-shot. “Millionaires can sleep soundly in their mansions.” I hate to break to you — no, actually, it fills me with glee to break it to you. Most millionaires don’t live in mansions. Most millionaires drive old cars and live in regular suburban houses. Rich people don’t stay rich by living like Jed Clampett. They stay rich by living like you and me, and putting a little away every month. No one ever got rich by spending money.

Fairness. If that means a millionaire must give up a little of his take on the tax cut so that a family of four, with both working parents earning less than $26,000, can buy a refrigerator or fix the car, then, who would object?

This one is too easy. The millionaire. Does his vote count for less? If anything, I think that someone who has managed to build up a million and keep it should have a little more voice than some idiot who manages to rack up not one but two kids on less than $26,000 a year.

This concludes our fisking.

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