New Article: Baby Steps in the War on Child Poverty

Posted by Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity on May 10, 2022

In this Spotlight Exclusive, Samuel Hammond, director of Poverty and Welfare Policy at the Niskanen Center, asserts the critical need for a bipartisan expansion of the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and other impactful child poverty prevention measures. Hammond stresses that child poverty is expensive – researchers have quantified the social cost at over $1 trillion – and notes that in 2021 when the CTC was expanded, nearly four million children were lifted out of poverty, the most significant reduction in modern U.S. history. He also cites a study from the Quarterly Journal of Economics that found that increased EITC funds for families with a newborn led to persistent increases in family income that would ultimately contribute to positive outcomes for the children. And despite criticism of monthly CTC payments, Hammond believes that prioritizing a monthly benefit for families of young children and infants is a worthy cause. “While critics latched onto monthly payments as reminiscent of traditional welfare, ensuring resources arrive when households need them most is a policy innovation worth defending – if only in a more circumscribed form.”

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