Where’s Rick Santorum When You Need Him?

Good catch by Ezra Klein on a detail of the Tax Policy Center’s analysis of the Romney Tax Plan that didn’t get a lot of attention:

This is interesting: “Families with children currently receive 57 percent of the available tax expenditures examined in this exercise but 23 percent of the revenue reductions. Thus a reform that imposed an across-the-board reduction in tax expenditures would increase taxes much more on families with children than on childless adults.”

Despite the snarky title of this post, I would observe that one option for someone like Romney who is committed to large rate cuts would be to really hammer the working poor, and particularly the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit (that key to any work-based welfare reform, as presidents from Ronald Reagan through Bill Clinton always claimed). Romney’s plan already assumes the permanent expiration of the expanded EITC and child tax credits that were included in the 2009 economic stimulus legislation, which helped boost the ranks of Lucky Ducky Americans owing no net federal income tax liability. But given the ever-growing hostility of conservatives to refundable tax credits as “welfare,” and their more general commitment to a “flattening” of the tax burden, a reversal of “family-friendly” tax preferences, particularly those benefitting the poor, would make a lot of fiscal and political sense so long as the Christian Right goes along.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.