Bush administration is attacking the poor say Christians
Christian campaigners in the USA are claiming that proposed regulations by the Bush administration regarding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) amounts to an ìattackî the poor.
The IRS has been asked to require low-income working people who claim the tax credit to provide ìexhaustive proofî of eligibility.
Even though the EITC has long had bipartisan support as one of the most effective anti-poverty programs ever - three-quarters of the people who claim it have incomes of ,000 a year or less ñ the proposals could potentially undo much of the progress made in helping families escape poverty say campaigners against the reforms.
The filing process for the EITC is already complex. But the Sojourners community based in Washington DC say the new measures would set standards of proof so high that any taxpayer would have trouble meeting them.
Increasing the burden on poor families by requiring them to produce documentation that in some cases is unavailable or difficult to secure, faces the challenge of being unjust. If the IRS proposal is implemented, it is suggested, many families will be unable obtain the EITC money for which they are eligible simply because they cannot ìjump through more hoopsî.
The Bush administration has said that the new proposals are designed to target the tax credit most effectively. The IRS has pointed out that in 1998, EITC filers who were not entitled to the credit received between .5 and billion.
In response campaigners say that the amount of money that might be saved through the proposal is not worth the loss of food, medicine, and other basic needs that the poor will experience if EITC money is withheld.
It is already widely acknowledged that many errors made in the filing process are not fraudulent, but are simple mistakes because of the complexity of the system. The instruction booklet alone for filing for EITC amounts to 54 pages.
In a message to supporters the community said the proposals are both ìimmoralî and ìinconsistentî with Christian values.
ìFunding for programs that assist those who Jesus called 'the least of these' is being cutî the message states.
ìAs military spending increases and politicians argue for expensive tax cuts that benefit the wealthy, the needs of poor people are being ignored.î
ìThe President is not just ignoring poor people - he is targeting them.î