The Corner

Also in The Journal

A strong editorial on the flimflam surrounding the child tax credit this week (although I can’t quite figure out why the Journal is so intent on labeling low-income workers “lucky duckies” just because they have no income-tax liability). The chief argument for making tax credits available to people who don’t pay income taxes seems to be that they do pay payroll taxes. But the earned income tax credit already exists to offset these taxes. Moreover, the payroll tax is supposedly designed to finance people’s retirement and disability benefits; it’s not supposed to finance the general operations of the government. If people get a credit against the payroll tax, can we cut their retirement benefits too? It would be one thing to say that the payroll tax-Social Security link is a pretense that should be abandoned and to fold the funding of Social Security into the income tax. But liberals want to have it both ways on the payroll tax.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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