"This hidden, double burden on parents isn't offset anywhere else in the system, and so true conservative tax reform needs to account for it. ... Our proposal would account for this and level the playing field for working parents by augmenting the current child tax credit of $1,000 with an additional $2,500 credit, applicable against income taxes and payroll taxes -- i.e., the taxes that most burden lower- and middle-income families. The credit would not phase out, and would be refundable against income tax and employer and employee payroll tax liability."
Accounting for the financial burden borne by parents is a good way to address the problems faced by middle-income families, and allowing the new, larger credit both to count against payroll taxes and to be refundable ensures that low- and middle-income families will actually see the money in their pockets. There's also a very sound outline of a plan to rework the Earned Income Tax Credit so that it dovetails better with income-based welfare benefits so that those workers don't face effective marginal tax rates
as high as
some multimillionaire professional athletes face.
Some more details would be helpful -- it's an op-ed, not a white paper -- but all in all it's the kind of direction Lee and others have been talking about for months now. It's the kind of proposal that, if embraced by more Senate Republicans, would give them a major policy position to offer voters in this midterm election, and a centerpiece for a governing agenda in 2015-2016 should they win a majority.