Working Poor Catch a Break

Citizen Wealth Community Organizing Town Hall

120607amt_mayaWashington It’s hard to make everyone happy around the nation’s capitol these days.  I was reading a column in the Washington Examiner that rued the fact that a koffee-klatch meeting with friends and interested Citizen Wealth readers in the Baltimore basement of SEIU 1199 wasn’t some kind of arena rock venue and where the columnist contributed the penetrating fashion commentary my “downtrodden chic” clothes, and I was wondering what kind of world this was, when I saw an item in the hometown, Washington Post with a complaint of a different sort.  An earnest looking woman with the so-called Committee for a Responsible Budget was complaining that the “working poor” had gotten a tax benefit from the stimulus package.  I smiled and sighed, thinking this might finally be some good news on the citizen wealth front.

This whine was about a $9 billion dollar expenditure over the next 10 years was about the extension the child care credit and some needed tinkering with the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for lower income working families.  In these days of trillion dollar bank giveaways, it almost seems miserly to hear anyone resent that working families at the bottom of the ladder managed to get a small taste of the stimulus package.

The child care credit will now extend to families earning $3000 per year where it was previously available to no family making less than $12000 per year.  Since such families have no real tax bill, the great thing about this credit, which no doubt is producing the scowls here, is that the credit is a direct income transfer to the poor family.  In other words here a tax credit is not just another perk or giveaway to the rich that was the Bush specialty, but something putting real money in the hands of the poor and actually a poverty reduction strategy.

Who says there’s no good news in the papers these days?  Depending on which paper you read, you can either get tips on my wardrobe, which has never set a fashion standard, or inadvertently be reminded that at least 1% of the $850 billion stimulus bill included a real bonus for working families at the bottom of the labor market.  No contest!