John Ross makes a valid point in his Aug. 13 letter (“Consider supplementing low wages with assistance money”) in recommending that local, state and federal assistance should be used “to supplement the low wages paid for entry-level or lower-skilled jobs.”

Toward this end, we should consider eliminating the federal Earned Income Tax Credit program and forwarding the funding ($56 billion in 2012) for this program directly to the states in the form of block grants that could be used for assistance to low-income workers and families with children.

The EITC program should be eliminated because it:

 Is fraught with fraud and abuse. (Just ask the Internal Revenue Service!)

 Is expensive and time-consuming for the individual and/or family to apply for as part of their annual income tax filing, when many would not otherwise need to file an income tax return.

 Provides a single lump-sum payment to low-income workers rather than spreading the assistance over a 12-month period, which would allow our tax dollars to be used more effectively to help those who need assistance.

It is ironic that we have made the IRS into one of the major welfare agencies in our country – $56 billion in 2012, with 20 percent to 25 percent of it going to ineligible recipients. It is time to remove this responsibility from the IRS and allow it to concentrate on its main function of collecting taxes.

If we are going to supplement the low wages of workers and families with children rather than increase the minimum wage, and indirectly subsidize minimum-wage employers, let’s be honest about it and do it in a transparent, efficient and effective manner.

Harold Parks


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