June 4, 2003
He is unapologetic about the Republicans acing out poor working families from getting a $400 bump in the child credit, which most middle class families will be enjoying.
No, for DeLay it doesn't matter that the working poor--and their twelve million children--will miss out.
He doesn't believe that these families, which make between $10,500 and $26,625, deserve a credit because they're not paying taxes, he says.
Leaving aside the question of whether poor working families deserve a boost, and I believe they do, there's the important economic point that giving these families $400 each would stimulate growth since they would be likely to spend most of it right away on vital purchases they've had to postpone until now.
But even that doesn't persuade DeLay. He said he wouldn't consider a new tax measure unless it also helped out the rich by, for instance, making permanent the repeal of the estate tax, The New York Times reports.
That's cute: Use the unfairness of the current tax law as leverage to get more money for the most affluent Americans.
And DeLay cited one other ridiculous argument. He said that legislators on the conference committee (all of them Republican, by the way) could not afford to give that credit to poor working families because the Senate insisted that the final tax bill not exceed $350 billion.
But covering these families would have cost only $3.5 billion--just 1 percent of the total.
This could easily have been made up by only slightly trimming the care packages to the rich that DeLay so ornately wrapped the first time around.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities notes that "the cost of the deleted low-income child tax credit provision . . . equal just 2.3 percent of the official cost of the capital gains/dividend tax cut and thus could have been included if the capital gains/dividend provision had been scaled back slightly."
Or, the center notes, if the decrease in the top income tax bracket "had been reduced to 35.3 percent in 2003 through 2005 . . . rather than to 35.0 percent now, the savings would have been $3.9 billion, which would have more than enough."
The center adds: "A third way that room could have been made for the child credit provision was by including in the legislation some measures to close corporate tax shelters." The Senate had passed such provisions, which "would have saved more than $25 billion. All of these provisions were dropped in conference."
Senator Blanche Lincoln, Democrat of Arkansas, who is the prime mover behind getting the child credit for poor working families, has just introduced legislation that would pay for the credit by closing some of these tax shelters.
The point is, DeLay and the other Republicans in the conference committee who hammered out the final legislation (with the connivance of Dick Cheney) made choices. And they consistently chose to reward the rich and not cover the poor.
Now for DeLay to say the $350 billion ceiling was the problem is just a joke.
And for him to obstruct the rectification of the glaring child care inequity--or to use it to extract more goodies for the country club set--is the definition of chutzpah itself.