Saturday, October 01, 2005

Child tax credits and the minimum

Study Finds Many Children Don't Benefit From Credits - New York Times:
More than a quarter of American children - and half of black children - belong to families too poor to fully qualify for the $1,000-a-year child tax credit, which President Bush signed four years ago

a family with one full-time worker at the minimum wage of $5.15 an hour receives nothing. Above that, families receive $150 for every $1,000 they earn, up to a maximum of $1,000 per child. A family with two children gets the full benefit when its earnings reach about $24,300.
The Heritage Foundation makes cockamamie argument against giving the full credit even if it means giving people a refund. Apparently it's immoral to make it possible for one parent to care for the children.

As it stands, a parent who stays home costs children not just the extra income, but the added tax benefits. That's money that could be used for better medical care, or for child care if both parents enter the workplace. It could help those kids get into a better school, have clothes that fit, live in a nicer apartment, whatever.

There's no moral argument to be made against refunding a couple hundred dollars more to the people who need it most. Despite all appearances, tax law isn't handed down on tablets from Mt. Sinai. They're set by fallible humans, often for bizarre reasons.

There are thousands of children who lost homes in No Man's Land who would benefit from this credit. There are kids in the worst slums around who would benefit from this tax credit. There's no policy basis or moral basis for cutting them off.

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