April 15, 2004

On the dole  

Did my taxes in record time last night, in part thanks to technology, but mostly just because I had almost no income this year. In fact, in my last full year as a grad student, I made so little that for the first time ever I qualified for the EITC. Let me tell you, as someone who knows: it feels good to be on the receiving end of a government program.

Before someone mistakes my glee for sarcasm or willful free-riding, I should say that my enthusiasm is for the program, not for the tiny check that will pay for about 12 minutes of my political strategy class on Monday. EITC is probably the second most successful poverty reduction program in American history (after Social Security). It's the only thing that allows our tax code to even approach fairness, since as a percentage of income so much more of the tax burden is shouldered by the working poor these days. Not only does it redress the built in inequities of FICA and sales tax, but it does so inconspicuously, in a way that doesn't offend one's pride and dignity. That is, unless one blogs about it.


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