Saturday, August 22, 2015

Tax Break Conversations?

"The EITC and CTC prevent more people from falling into poverty than any other program outside of Social Security."  EITC is the earned-income tax credit.  CTC is the child tax credit.  These two tax credits are designed specifically to benefit low-income working families, of which we have many in this country.

The U.S. Senate Finance Committee discussed expired tax benefits for two hours on July 21.  Amelia Kegan, deputy director of government relations at Bread for the World, describes what happened in her report here.  Read the whole thing; it's only one page.

We the people support tax credits for all sorts of things, and we subsidize all sorts of industries, from oil exploration to cotton farming.  Not all recipients need or require tax credits or subsidies all the time.  Subsidies have their own pros and cons.  Farm subsidies, for example, can lift up farmers in a bad growing year, but can also exert a negative effect on the environment.

Unfortunately, most tax credits and subsidies are buried in complex legislation that, it seems, relies on its own immensity to hide the details from the view of the average person.  The latest Farm Bill, for example, is like that.  In fact, President Obama likened it to a Swiss Army knife:

Not all of that has anything to do with farming.  So read Kegan's column.  Wonder why tax reform is such a difficult topic for elected officials to wrestle with.  Consider asking your own elected officials what's up with that.  It will be an interesting conversation.