By Kevin Drum
Mitt Romney's complaint that lots of people pay no federal income tax has become a familiar conservative lament over the past few years. But how did this become such a staple of tea party conservatism? Here's a case study that gives us a clue.
The main target of Republican ire on the zero-tax front isn't the elderly or the temporarily unemployed. It's poor people. And one of the reasons that so many poor people pay no income tax is the Earned Income Tax Credit, which can reduce your tax bill to zero or less. To qualify, though, you need a minimum income (i.e., you need to have a job), which makes the EITC an incentive to work—and this is why it's an anti-poverty program that Republicans used to support. Reihan Salam tries to figure out why they don't anymore…
Keep reading: Republicans and the 47 Percent: A Case Study | Mother Jones.