Looks like Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) is shining her Tea Party shoes to prepare for a possible shot at the 2016 GOP vice presidential nomination. What else would explain her explosive, morally dubious proposal to end the Child Tax Credit for undocumented workers who pay their taxes like every other American?
Ayotte's bill would hike taxes for the families of 4 million low-income Latino kids in our country.
The bill, which was originally anti-immigrant crusader Sen. Jeff Sessions's project, would raise taxes by about $1,800 on families that earn an average of $21,000 a year. Apparently we're to understand by Ayotte's bill that the GOP's "no new taxes" pledge only applies to taxing wealthy people.
In fact, Ayotte's measure would only impact the undocumented immigrant community, a supposedly powerless, forlorn group that cannot respond to direct attacks from self-interested politicians and their right-wing sponsors.
Some years ago, Congress and the IRS set up a program called the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) that provided a legal mechanism for undocumented workers to pay taxes, even though they lacked a social security number. Millions of immigrants stepped forward and fulfilled their responsibility. Today the ITIN delivers a net multibillion-dollar gain for the federal, state and local treasuries, even when factoring in the Child Tax Credit. It is an important contributor to Social Security and Medicare as well.
In other words, these immigrant workers are adding to the U.S. economy with their labor and contributing fully to the tax system as per law.
Ayotte's bill was fished from Jeff Sessions's swamp of anti-immigrant legislative proposals as a way to "offset" the cost of renewing the unemployment insurance program that has left 1.3 million Americans in dire straits. While unemployment insurance was extended four times under President George W. Bush without any offsets, being properly categorized as emergency expenditures, the Tea Party takeover of the GOP has now driven Republicans into an abyss of reactionary policies.
The idea that you would inflate taxes for millions of poor kids living on the margins in order to pay for unemployment insurance for laid-off workers sent out in the cold by Republican ideological intransigence is nothing short of an immoral act by a political party being slowly strangled by far-right radicals hell-bent on destroying the American social contract.
Ayotte's bill will fail. Any politician running for office in 2014 has to face the stark reality that the Latino vote is growing and will be the margin of victory or loss for several Senate and congressional seats across the country.
Any current politico who signs on to Ayotte's attack on poor children will face a highly motivated, organized and increasingly well-financed Latino electorate enthusiastic to vote out the Tea Party madness that has gripped our nation.