Thursday, April 21, 2011

It Takes More than $25 to Raise a Child

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton once wrote a book called, It Takes a Village, expressing her belief that raising a child is a team effort.

Even the best parents need the help of supportive communities that provide good schools, a healthy environment, public amenities such as parks and libraries, and so on. The title of Clinton's book comes from the African proverb, "It takes a village to raise a child."

How far Rick Snyder is from that vision of raising a child. He thinks it can be done for $25.

That's what he has agreed to give Michigan families who work hard but are still poor to help them raise their children -- $25. Snyder wants to eliminate the Earned Income Tax Credit that gives tax breaks to the working poor, a credit that helps people make ends meet when they are trying to live on low wages. Snyder thinks the money would be better spent by letting most businesses pay no taxes.

Even Republicans in the Legislature see the folly of Snyder's approach and have come up with a way to mitigate it. Give parents $25 a year for each child.

You can see what a pittance that amounts to by comparing its $100 million annual cost to the $374 million annual cost of the Earned Income Tax Credit Snyder wants to eliminate.

Michigan has a long history of caring for the neediest amongst us. Most Michigan residents recognize that bad things can happen to any of us, especially given the historically cyclical nature of Michigan's economy. And they recognize that real wages in the U.S. have been falling for decades.

Snyder's $25 is not an expression of that compassion. It is a slap in the face to families who try to contribute to the world by working hard to try to pay their bills and raise their families.

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