The full House next week will consider the Ways and Means Committee's recently passed Child Tax Credit bill. A recent Tax Policy Center analysis confirms our previous critical assessments of the proposal, finding that it would make many relatively affluent people better off while making low-income working families poorer.
To the extent that the Obama budget is intended as a "campaign blueprint" -- to signal to working families that Obama cares about them and to force the Republicans to cast difficult votes -- it is a very small step in the right direction. But it probably will sway a few voters, because it doesn't make enough of a difference. Obama is being branded a populist by the establishment press and irresponsible by Republicans for what is really a very tame program. He should at least earn these adjectives and get the public's attention. As it is, he might as well be hanged for a sheep. He might as well come out for policies that would make a real difference. That would actually be worthy of the terms "populist" and "campaign blueprint."