The Earned Income Tax Credit: Antipoverty Effectiveness and by Saul D. Hoffman

By Saul D. Hoffman

E-book by means of Hoffman, Saul D., Seidman, Laurence S.

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By Saul D. Hoffman

E-book by means of Hoffman, Saul D., Seidman, Laurence S.

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Additional resources for The Earned Income Tax Credit: Antipoverty Effectiveness and Labor Market Effects

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A modified EIC would adjust the benefits it provides to the Page 3 size of the family and/or the age of children. Although the 1990 EIC does not adjust benefits in this way, both the Senate and the House of Representatives approved legislation in the 101st Congress that would include such a provision. The EIC currently enjoys broad support across the political spectrum because it is consistent with the basic principles of both a "liberal" and a "conservative" antipoverty strategy. Let's consider the role of the EIC in each strategy.

The key reason for this broad support is its unique design. It helps an important segment of low-income householdsthose who work and earn. Page 22 Chapter 1 Appendix: The Algebra of the Earned Income Tax Credit We begin with the simpler case where adjusted gross income (AGI) equals labor earnings (E). Then we consider the case where AGI differs from E. Finally, we consider the interaction of the credit with the income tax schedule. AGI Equals E Em = earnings at which the phase-in range ends and the credit reaches its maximum, Cm Eb = earnings at which the phase-out begins Ee = earnings at which the phase-out ends as the credit reaches zero pi = phase-in rate po = phase-out rate The credit C for a household with labor earnings E is given by: To obtain Ee, set C=Cm-po(E-Eb)=0 and solve for E to obtain: AGI Differs from E Note that although AGI is usually greater than or equal to E, it is possible for AGI to be smaller than E due to items that may be subtracted in computing AGI.

But the liberal recognizes that conservative citizens who are unwilling to support welfare or a high minimum wage may be willing to support the EIC. Thus, it seems sensible to try to obtain as much conservative support as possible for the EIC, while at the same time resisting cuts in welfare and pressing for a higher minimum wage. Conservatives, on the other hand, envision the EIC as a replacement for welfare for nonelderly, able-bodied people. They believe that the working poor are generally more worthy and deserving than the nonworking, nonelderly, able-bodied poor, and that government assistance should be targeted on them rather than those who do not work.

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