Romney tax plan won't help the poor

September 22, 2012

As The Sun recently observed, Mitt Romney has done little to explain how his policy of cutting taxes for wealthy individuals and corporations will benefit the middle class and the poor ("President for the rich?" Sept. 19).

Poverty is caused by a number of issues, primary among them lack of income due to unemployment or low-wage employment. The "working poor" often labor long hours at two or more jobs just to make ends meet. This is contrary to the popular stereotype of the "welfare queen" and her lazy, drug-dealer pimp.

Welfare reform, begun during the Clinton administration, made work mandatory. This was desirable except that the jobs people could find often paid only subsistence-level wages.

If work is a requirement for welfare benefits, in order to be effective it should translate to jobs for anyone willing to work, jobs that pay fair wages enabling a worker or family to meet basic needs — housing, clothing, food and health care.

If for whatever reason an employer cannot or will not pay a fair wage, then the earned income tax credit, also known as the negative income tax, takes effect to provide a living wage, giving the worker dignity and the means to support a family.

President Obama has focused on small businesses and their need for customers — who necessarily have to have steady income to purchase goods and services.

That one in five children in the U.S. is living in poverty is a statistic ignored by Mitt Romney, but it should be unacceptable in the richest nation in the world.

Lee Lears, Annapolis

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