Poverty is a state of life that I have been very familiar with on this planet for almost four decades. At first glance, Senator Mitt Romney’s Family Safety Act sounds like a solution to lifting 5.1 million people out of poverty. To put this into perspective, the Urban Institute reports that 29.3 million people are living in poverty in the United States due to the pandemic. The “deficit neutral” plan is paying off by coring the current lifelines that are being extended to the poor.
Under the Family Security Act, parents of children ages 0-5 are paid $ 350 per month or $ 4,200 per year. Parents of children ages 6-17 would receive $ 250 per month or $ 3,000 per year. Parents with multiple children can receive a maximum of $ 1,250 per month or $ 15,000 per year. When I read an article about Vox, I immediately wondered why the government wanted to pay child support.
To pay for the Family Security Act, Romney recommends cutting head of household status, child and care tax credit, Temporary Assistance to Needy Family Welfare Program (TANF), and state and local tax deduction (SALT) in income VAT The current Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) would be converted into a flat rate credit of up to $ 1,000 per adult employed.
The fact that I’ve been on the poverty line for most of my life shows that I’m not an economist. As a mom who raised four children as a single parent, I admit that an additional $ 1,400 per month would have made a huge difference for me. The stress of raising children on extremely limited budgets, often supplemented by government support, shouldn’t have to be borne by parents.
Even with this story, I still don’t understand. Why should someone create more incentives for people to accept their current situation, to promote and continue the cycle of poverty? Now, generations, will we continue to pay men and women to have children while encouraging them to stay below the poverty line because the flat-rate monetary solution has not created new opportunities for change?
What happens to parents who rely on government support to survive when children are eliminated from the Family Safety Act? Poverty is not just about money. What other income-based benefits will they lose with the additional income of the qualified parents? The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is income-based. How many will be excluded from this program because of their new monthly income? Will it even out and leave them in the same position? Medicaid is also based on income.
I believe we need to find out how to create more economic opportunities to fight poverty and stop shaming the poor for being born into it. The social stigmas we’ve associated with how much a person makes are shameful. The pre-COVID general partnership saw newcomers as somehow inferior because their job wasn’t glamorous, but during COVID we value and call each and every one of them essential.
I don’t have any solutions. I’m not a politician, so I don’t understand what it must be like to carry the weight of others on my conscience. Even when my life was bleak and I was playing roulette that had bills to be paid and those that could be paid in two weeks, I never wanted anyone to consistently give me money. I wanted to start a new business that had a daycare and hired single mothers with bags under their eyes. Poverty does not mean that people cannot or do not want to think for themselves, but that they have not found a way out of the circumstances into which they were born.