Mitt Romney has distanced himself from his remarks lamenting the nearly 47 percent of Americans who do not owe federal income taxes, but his fellow Republicans helped engineer the very tax breaks that have put many in that category. And little change is expected soon.Economist: ‘There is some degree of disconnect between complaining about the 47% and yet supporting the policies that brought it about’
A key reason: The breaks in question – the earned income tax credit and the child tax credit – are based on core Republican philosophies of encouraging work to lift people out of poverty, Republican aides and many conservatives say.
The number of Americans not owing federal income taxes has been growing since the mid-1980s, and the increase largely stems from expansion of these two tax credits – championed by Republicans from conservative economist Milton Friedman to former President Ronald Reagan.
“It is absolutely true – there is some degree of disconnect between complaining about the 47 percent and yet supporting the policies that brought it about,” said economist Alan Viard of the conservative-leaning American Enterprise Institute.
The income credit began under Republican President Gerald Ford and was significantly expanded by Reagan. The child credit doubled to $1,000 under Republican President George W. Bush.