Under Obama's plan, if the tax credit is for $2,000, but the taxpayer would otherwise only pay $300 in taxes, the government would write a check to the taxpayer for $1,700. If the taxpayer pays nothing in federal income taxes, the government would pay him the whole $2,000. When the amount you give back to a tax filer is in excess of the total they've paid, it's a handout - also known as "welfare."
Of course the campaign of Sen. John McCain jumped all over this, since it resonates with many voters.
In response to the traction the McCain campaign was getting on the issue, the Obama campaign has added a 'work requirement' to one of the components of their tax credit policy.
"They started saying this was welfare," said Obama adviser Austan Goolsbee. "So, just so they would absolutely not be able to say that, we decided that for the last two percent we'll simply add a work requirement."
So there you have it: to make our redistribution of wealth more palatable, we'll require some sort of work in order to be eligible .... never mind that other people are also working but will be expected to pay more so someone else can pay less - or get a handout. But this is not socialism....