Democrats seem poised to approve a major bailout. It will be a large package, costing nearly $ 1.9 trillion, proposed by the Biden government. However, most of these expenses will only be temporary. Americans will not receive $ 1,400 in government aid every year, unemployment benefits will not always be this generous, and we will not constantly mobilize (or at least we hope so) emergency vaccination programs. .
However, there is one aspect of the package that many progressives hope will be permanent: extending support to families, which include children. Indeed, there are overwhelming economic and social arguments for this kind of support, let alone the moral arguments.
However, most Conservatives seem to oppose the idea, although they have great difficulty explaining the reason for this opposition. And the fact that they are against helping children when there isn’t a good argument for it says a lot about the real reason they refuse to help those in need.
In retrospect, the US tax system already grants parents a deduction of up to $ 2,000 per minor child. However, a family is only entitled to a full allowance if their taxable income is sufficient. This is a major limitation. An estimated 27 million children are family members whose income is too low to receive the full $ 2,000 allowance.
The current lawsuit appears to be aimed at increasing the deduction limit for children under six to $ 3,000 and $ 3,600, respectively. The measure would also benefit parents whose income is insufficient to receive the full amount as a deduction. (You would receive the excess in cash.) The result would be a tremendous improvement in the financial situation of many troubled parents and, with it, the lives of millions of children.
So, one could imagine that compassion could be reason enough for a surge in support for families with children – help that many other wealthy countries are already offering and that is one of the reasons they are registering. Child poverty is much lower than that of the United States.
But conservatives, and even some centrists, have long argued that compassion can be counterproductive – that attempts to help less wealthy people can create perverse incentives that undermine self-sufficiency and trap people in poverty. It is therefore important to understand why these arguments do not apply to the family tax credit proposed in the current package – and why the measure, far from creating a trap, actually provides an escape route.
The usual argument against poverty reduction programs is that any form of income-related support reduces the recipient’s incentive to seek improvement, as higher-income households would lose the right to some of the support they receive. .
For example, the Medicaid health program is only available to families with incomes below a certain threshold. So if you find a job that increases family income above this threshold, it will result in loss of health benefits.
When Republicans in the House of Representatives released a report on the 50th Anniversary of the War on Poverty, they essentially argued that these perverted incentives are the main reason we have made no further progress on poverty reduction, and that poverty reduction programs are turning into poverty. “Punishing families for progress”.
There are good reasons to view these arguments with general skepticism. Relatively few people face the extreme work that Republicans like to point out. In either case, these arguments do not apply to tax benefits for families, which include children, as they would not be taken away if the family income rose.
With a little sarcasm, should we reduce the incentives for children to choose better-off parents?
In addition, there is substantial evidence that the real source of the “poverty trap” is not a lack of incentives, but a lack of adequate resources for food, health services, housing and others. Needs. As a result, helping poor children not only improves their lives in the short term, but also helps them lift them out of poverty.
A recent study of research reports found that access to child safety programs offers long-term positive benefits that lead to improved health and economic productivity with age. Adults”.
Hence, there is a compelling case for expanding child benefits – so compelling that Mitt Romney offered a similar plan even though he wants to pay for it by cutting other social security programs.
But in this as in any other matter, Romney seems to have little support within his party.
It’s no surprise that the increasingly shrunken Marco Rubio, who has asked for more help for children in the past, launched an attack on Romney’s proposal, defining it as a “protection plan”. Social “.
Perhaps more surprising is the opposition of many (but not all) right-wing intellectuals engaged in public policy. For example, the director of poverty studies at the American Enterprise Institute warned that providing extra income to families would “take us back in time” by allowing some adults to work less. Notwithstanding the fact that this effect is likely to be small, why should it undoubtedly be a bad thing to allow parents to spend more time with their children?
It seems clear that the real reason many rights are against child support is because they fear that this will lessen the despair of poor families. And the reason they hate the proposal is exactly why we should love it.
Translation by Paulo Migliacci
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