Congress: Put Families' Needs Over Corporate Greed

Remember the game, "Would you rather"? Let's play. Would you rather give CEOs even bigger bonuses or support a struggling family to put food on their table? Would you rather purchase an all-expense paid vacation for a corporation's top sales executive or help make child care affordable for a working family? Would you rather lend a hand to a company moving jobs offshore or your neighbor who just got their hours cut at their job?

To me, the choice is clear. Every single time, I would put working families' needs over corporations' wants.

This holiday season, Congress can continue giving tax breaks to the wealthy or stand with working families. Our nation has the resources to do better, we just need to help our lawmakers get their priorities straight.

Congress will soon be taking up legislation to extend more than 50 tax breaks, mostly for corporations. Congress should ensure that any such bill makes key provisions of tax credits for low-income working families permanent and that any pro-corporate measures are temporary.

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) are effective anti-poverty, pro-family, and pro-growth measures. If Congress fails to act and the improvements made in 2009 to the EITC and CTC expire, millions of low-income families will be hurt.

Parents are hit particularly hard in difficult economic times and I hear about it everyday talking with 9to5 members. These tax credits help stabilize people's lives and Congress needs to do everything within their power to continue them. Look at Alisia, a single mother to three kids who uses her EITC to pay for car repairs and her mortgage and Margaret whose EITC and CTC help her pay off debt accumulated from living paycheck to paycheck. Then, there's Valeen who uses EITC to help her buy necessities like groceries and household cleaning products.

Now that we know some of the faces of folks impacted by EITC and CTC, let's break down what these corporate tax breaks really look like. Over two years, renewing more than 50 tax breaks will cost us $96 billion, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation. About $78 billion (82%) of the costs are tax breaks to businesses and $16 billion (17%) of those are tax breaks encouraging companies to shift profits and jobs offshore.

Meanwhile over the next ten years, nearly $2.7 trillion in spending cuts are scheduled. Non-defense discretionary programs--which include education, housing, infrastructure, and research--will be cut to a smaller share of the economy than any time since the government began tracking this data in 1962. It is time to end--and reverse--the double-standard whereby tax cuts for corporations are maintained while measures that would help working families are hacked at.

That is why we are urging Congress to oppose making any corporate tax breaks permanent. The giveaway that is being contemplated is mind-boggling--$667 billion over 10 years--should the six big-ticket measures already passed by the House or the House Ways and Means Committee be approved. The merits of those tax breaks should be debated and if they are renewed they should be paid for, as part of broader corporate tax reform.

Urge your members of Congress to not be a scrooge! Ask them to make improvements to the EITC and CTC a top priority and to oppose restrictions that deny the CTC to immigrant families today. All American families deserve a little help sometimes. Let's help strengthen the middle class and make things a little easier on working families this holiday season.