Alstott offers an evaluation of the significance of the credit and, in a historical spirit, hark back to an earlier, critical perspective on the earned income tax credit (EITC)--a perspective rarely heard in recent years. She argues that these concerns remain apt, despite the expansion of the EITC and oft-repeated praise for its importance as an antipoverty program. Moreover, she highlights three features of U.S. law that constrain the effectiveness of the EITC in improving the wellbeing of low-income workers and their children: labor and employment laws that structure markets that produce low wages and harsh working conditions, laws that condition access to primary goods on market earnings, and a social safety net with gaps through which low-income workers often fall. Furthermore, she suggests the importance of reforms in the laws governing labor markets, consumption opportunities, and the social safety net.
Anne L. Alstott,
Why the EITC Doesn’t Make Work Pay,
73 Law and Contemporary Problems
Available at: http://scholarship.law.duke.edu/lcp/vol73/iss1/10