According to Experts, Removing Covid-era Payments Will Increase Child Poverty.
The US child poverty rate dropped dramatically as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, but experts warn that allowing such measures to expire could reverse these historic gains.
Even though millions of children were impacted, children’s well-being improved significantly during the pandemic.
According to forecasts, the percentage of children living in poverty will decrease from 14.2% in 2018 to less than 5.6 per cent in 2021.
Child poverty in the United States is not unavoidable.” “It is a decision,” Lisa Chamberlain, a professor of paediatrics at Stanford and co-author of a report published in the journal Jama Pediatrics on Monday, told CNN. It’s not an issue of how to do it; it’s a question of political will.
The child tax credit, which was responsible for a 40% reduction in child poverty, was the driving impetus for these changes. In July, it began sending monthly payments to families. Food, clothing, housing, utilities, and education received the lion’s share of this money.
In addition, the proposal included three stimulus checks, and eviction ban, increased unemployment benefits, as well as enhanced food and housing aid under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Snap).
According to Chamberlain, there was a “record decline in child poverty.”
As a result, according to a study, nearly one-third of all children would be poor.
Despite this, Megan Curran, policy director at Columbia University’s Center on Poverty and Social Policy, told the New York Times that the benefits “have not only prevented what could have been the worst-case scenario in terms of poverty rises but have resulted in dramatically lower poverty rates than we’ve seen in decades.”
She expects that in 2021, the child poverty rate in the United States will be even lower than in 2020, which was the lowest since the US Census Bureau began collecting data in the 1960s. “Wow, that’s a big deal.”
According to the centre’s estimates of 3.7 million children living in poverty, the number of children living in poverty increased by 41% in January after the child tax credit expired.
“There was virtually a cliff” between December 2021 and January 2022, Curran claims. For families who haven’t received their payments in the last two months, it’s been a terrible time.
Food and energy prices have risen, making it more difficult for people to buy food and pay their rent. With the loss of finances and the increase in necessities prices, it’s a double blow for them,” Curran noted.
One of the reasons Joe Manchin, a Democratic senator from West Virginia, opposed the Build Back Better bill was because of the child tax credit.
According to research, ending child poverty has a large economic impact. Poverty has many negative repercussions, including hunger, poor health, poorer educational achievement, and fewer employment options.
“Not having enough food and stable places to live,” as Chamberlain put it, has an impact on pupils’ ability to engage in school authentically. The ability of a student to actively participate in the classroom and educational process determines his or her eventual potential of being able to have a successful job and contribute.
According to the National Academy of Sciences, child poverty costs the US between $800 billion and $1.1 trillion each year due to lower adult productivity and higher healthcare and criminal-justice expenditures (NAS).
Poverty-reduction measures have strong moral and economic reasons, according to scholars.
According to Curran, child poverty costs the United States “an incredible amount every year.” Child poverty must be greatly decreased to help children and their families both personally and economically.
In contrast to what some opponents have alleged, researchers discovered no evident impact on employment as a result of credit opponents’ claims.
Using this money to pay for childcare would allow parents to work more, which would have been especially helpful during the pandemic when many informal carers, like grandparents, died or were handicapped.
“We’ve seen significant numbers of women leave the workforce because of the number of Covid incapacitations,” Chamberlain says.
The elimination of the child tax credit is a big setback.
“I wouldn’t argue that it cancels out the gains,” Chamberlain said. As a result, we are no longer able to make such gains.
It was a win-win situation for the credit recipients’ families and children: they had more food, more stable housing, and less stress.
“We’ll keep looking at it if they can keep this going.”
“It’s remarkable for a single method to show such clear and dramatic benefits,” Curran said of the program’s quick proof of concept performance.
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She declared that this “great poverty, rising poverty” is “totally changeable.” Simply put, “we’ve seen it work….we’d like to request a small favour from you. The Guardian is read by tens of millions of people every day, and we now have subscribers in 180 countries.
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