Mitt Romney, meet Ronald Reagan. The Romney-Ryan campaign labels the 47 percent of people who don’t pay federal income taxes as “takers.” But to President Reagan, the godfather of today’s conservatives, anyone who worked for a living was a maker, whether he or she paid taxes or not.
Reagan strongly supported the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which sends checks to Americans who work but earn less than around $46,000 a year, depending on family size. Recipients of the credit are among those who don’t pay income tax, but Reagan never regarded that as a problem. His administration estimated that the 1986 reform of the tax code would remove 6 million working poor from the tax rolls. Reagan called the reform a “sweeping victory for fairness” and “perhaps the biggest antipoverty program in our history.”