In a video released this week by Mother Jones, Mitt Romney explained how, in his view, the 47 percent of Americans who don’t have any federal tax liability “believe that they are victims.” ” I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives,” Romney added.
Of course, those 47 percent do pay other taxes, at rates higher than Romney himself. But Romney not only derided those too old or poor to pay federal income taxes; he also turned his beliefs into concrete aspects of his tax plan.
As the Center for American Progress Action Fund’s Michael Linden, Seth Hanlon, Jennifer Erickson, Gadi Dechter, Adam Hersh, and Karla Walter noted in a recent report, Romney’s tax plan calls for the reduction of two key credits that help those at the bottom of the income scale lower (or eliminate) their tax bill:
– Reduce the Earned Income Tax Credit for larger families: The Earned Income Tax Credit supplements the earnings of low-income families, rewarding work while offsetting payroll and other taxes. Prior to 2009 families with three or more children received the same tax benefit from the Earned Income Tax Credit as families with two children despite a higher cost of living. A provision enacted in 2009 made such families eligible for an additional benefit, but Gov. Romney’s plan would let that provision, along with another improvement to the credit signed in 2009, expire. A two-parent family raising three children on $30,000 of earnings would lose $1,076 a year.
– Lower the Child Tax Credit for low-income families: The Child Tax Credit also rewards work while defraying child rearing expenses. Only families with earned income can benefit. The credit is generally $1,000 per child, but families at low-income levels can often claim only a partial credit. President Obama’s 2009 reforms allowed low-income families to claim more of the credit. Gov. Romney’s tax plan would repeal those reforms, resulting in a smaller credit or no credit for the families of 15.8 million children.
These credits have garnered bipartisan support for years. But now Romney wants to cut them back while providing huge, new tax cuts for the richest Americans.