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Failing to Earn Credit

by on February 3, 2010

The one thing that’s better than making money is being handed some.  That’s why anyone who doubts the Earned Income Tax Credit is the most wondrous gift our benevolent government has ever bestowed upon us should read The Buffalo News.

In particular, their January 31 take on the subject, helpfully titled “Earned Income Tax Credit can be a bonanza,” points out everything fantastic about the program, namely, well, everything about it.  Remarkably, it also seems as if there are no drawbacks to blessing particular citizens with financial gifts:

“The EITC is one of the largest and most effective anti-poverty programs in the government,” David R. Williams, the IRS’ director of electronic tax administration and refundable credits, said on a media call last week. “It can make a significant difference in the lives of lower-income taxpayers, basically because it’s a credit that’s there for people who work but don’t make a lot of money.”

In other words, your government has decided that people who don’t earn much deserve more.  As a result, they’re essentially donating other people’s money to charity.  Oh, and they don’t bother to put the gift in anyone’s name, either.

The story points out that recipients get a credit even though they haven’t technically earned one.  For the beneficiary, that’s even better than finding a bursting sack adorned with a dollar sign on the sidewalk:

The EITC is a refundable credit for working individuals and families who do not earn high incomes. Like other tax credits, it is applied against taxes first, but can result in a refund.

And it helps the economy, at least in a theoretical, stimulus-didn’t-actually-cause-more-unemployment sort of way:

That allows qualifying taxpayers to keep more of what they earn, so they can save money or spend it locally in their communities. In turn, that not only helps lift recipients, but provides an economic development benefit. It has no effect on certain welfare benefits, and usually won’t affect eligibility for other government programs.

Wow: David Axelrod could have written that paragraph.  Hell, it sounds uncannily similar to the usual empty leftist schlock our president reads off his magical scrolling-word screen.  Reporter Jonathan D. Epstein should apply for White House work if the newspaper business ever gets boring.

On a related note, the article devotes exactly, whoops, zero space to dissent.  Markedly, the correspondent devotes ample paragraphs to an appreciative recipient of the policy’s cash.  He shamelessly notes that the subject plans to use the money to start a college fund for his daughter.  Even you diabolical conservatives couldn’t be against a child’s education, could you?  That’s quite heartless, and probably bigoted for some reason, too.

That said, perhaps those on the right could calmly point out the argument for the currency shift comes down to “getting a check is good.”  Oh yeah, and conservatives will also note that the bonus money is taken from others.  Class warfare is in session, but only those who skip off deserve credit.

Yet the rag’s editorial staff neglected to find anyone who thinks the wealth transfer is detrimental to both the economy on the whole and ultimately to its recipients.  After all, the reallocated money would assuredly have been spent or invested by those from whom it was seized; that would be good news for retailers or other companies, respectively.  But the present administration and its dwindling army of sycophants quite obviously are loath to acknowledge that we all profit when greedy fat cats buy things with the ample money they’ve made.

In fact, many hold that this form of mandatory wealth sharing is at worst rife with fraud and at best a tax refund for people who don’t pay taxes.  Somehow, none of them were contacted by a News reporter or editor looking for even cursory balance.

The EITC is an entitlement that demonstrates why getting free money is always a bad deal.  Every word of the name is fraudulent: the cash doled out is not earned, income, or a tax credit.  Those who want to redistribute income should at least be upfront about it.

Additionally, the reporter could have taken the time to let readers know the price of these currency gifts.  Specifically, the EITC will cost nearly $50 freaking billion this year.  Of course, noting the onerous price wouldn’t fit with the paper’s cheery social democratic narrative.

It goes without saying that everyone is entitled to disagree that the checks from Washington in question amount to a welfare payment.  What’s not okay is to forget that there might actually be opponents of the Robin Hood approach to taxation.  By willfully or obliviously overlooking them, the city’s newspaper has once again disgracefully tried to pass off opinion as reporting.  The numerous left-minded columnists at The News should revolt: they don’t need in-house competition.

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