I was amused to see an column by Mark Schmitt in this month's American Prospect about how reliant the Democratic policy apparatus has become on tax credits as an easy answer for every question:
If you start to read the policy proposals of the Democratic presidential candidates and the mainstream Democratic think tanks, you will quickly get the impression that, while Democrats see lots of problems, there's always just one solution: a tax credit.
John Edwards proposes an "American Dream Tax Credit" -- up to $1,000 a year for five years to help buy a first home. Barack Obama has a new tax credit to promote fatherhood. Outside of the candidates, competition for the tax-credit championship is fierce: The leaders are Senator Chuck Schumer's four-part "Middle-Class Opportunity Act," which has new child-tax credits, a new tax credit for college tuition, and a new credit for families caring for older parents; and the Hillary Clinton–linked group, Third Way, which offers some of the same, plus a new-baby tax credit. Everyone wants tax credits to encourage savings and energy conservation.
What's funny about this is that it is the exact same rut that Guy DiDonato, Heidi Zimmerman and Bob Maylock (?) and I got into on our Future Problem Solving team at Huntingdon Area Middle School, circa 1983.
How's that for teaching 21st Century Skills?!