Promoting Work and Marriage Should Be One of the Goals of the Child Tax Credit
This year’s legislative year-end fever is supercharged. With Democratic control of Congress waning, many are encouraging legislators to revive President Biden’s larger child tax credit, which provided $250 per child, plus a bit extra for tiny children, to nearly all parents each month for the last half of 2021.
Progressives seek to increase the child tax credit to minimize child poverty and help parents. Unfortunately, right-wing friends instinctively oppose the child tax credit (CTC).
A Wall Street Journal op-ed called pro-family tax policy “social engineering” and the CTC “failed.” The Journal favors 1980s entitlement reform, fewer taxes, and less regulation.
That scheme fails millions of working- and middle-class families raising children. A higher child tax credit, especially for young parents, might assist working- and middle-class families build financial security.
Perhaps limited government advocates are unaware that marriage and family life are in crisis, especially in working-class communities where family stability and marriage rates have plummeted in recent decades.
Even if it doesn’t boost birth rates, meaningful family economic support suggests that government should help parents. Increased childlessness necessitates parental support.
Leftists don’t understand Biden-style credits’ downsides. Checks won’t end poverty. According to Aid to Families with Dependent Children, this can harm culture. Non-work-related child benefits can encourage two worrying tendencies.
According to AEI’s Nick Eberstadt, males without jobs have slowly increased over the decades. Giving families unconditional cash degrades males. Non-working families with generous child benefits don’t need a second parent. New research shows that Alaska’s dividend improves reproduction, mainly in unmarried women.
Before welfare reform in 1996, we offered money to unemployed families. Avoid this. Working families help children. Re-establishing a family-work divide misleads youngsters about their importance.
Federal initiatives can have unintended repercussions. Righteousness is punished by taxes and social security. A $20,000-earning single mother. Medicaid covers pregnancy and child prevention without co-pays or cost-sharing for her.
If she married her children’s father, who earned $30,000, their combined income would make the household ineligible for Medicaid, boosting health insurance premiums or forcing them to pay for medical care. That same cohabiting couple, earning $30,000 and $20,000, would pay 9% more in taxes if they married.
These marital penalties reduce low and working-class marriages. CTC expansion is pointless. Conservatives wanted the Biden administration’s 2021 child benefit extension to be pro-work and marriage.
Mitt Romney’s pro-work, pro-marriage Family Security Act is best. The Earned Income Tax Credit becomes a supplement for low-wage workers by consolidating child-related tax laws into a single benefit with a realistic income threshold. The EITC’s high marriage penalty would be eliminated by Romney’s plan.
American Compass’s Family Income Supplemental Credit would boost married couples’ social insurance by 20%. Marco Rubio and Mike Lee, the Republican caucus’ largest CTC supporters, seek to increase the credit without abandoning its pro-work elements.
These ideas improve things. Congress must urgently negotiate CTC’s future. Without action, Trump’s pro-family tax code reform will expire in 2025. Federal income tax deductions for middle-class children will decrease by $2,000.
Since lame-duck deals are unlikely, the next Congress will negotiate CTC money for working-class families. Pro-parent officials on both sides of the aisle should agree on a middle ground that combines employment and marriage to help to work- and middle-class families raise their families.