Poverty is a terrible thing, and even more so when children are involved. To not be sure of where one’s own next meal is coming from or if one can pay the rent or take care of medical emergencies is bad enough but when one cannot provide those things for one’s children, it can be heartbreaking.
Children are not responsible for their economic state and so the state has a responsibility to make sure that at least that section of the population is taken care of. So the news that child poverty was cut in half in 2021 due to the enhanced child tax credit enacted during the pandemic is excellent news. It shows that government policy can do a lot ameliorate that problem.
The US child poverty rate fell by nearly half in 2021, largely thanks to enhanced child tax credits, new census data shows.
The child poverty rate fell to a low of 5.2% compared with 9.7% the year before.
Experts noted that increased child tax credits provided low-income families with much-needed resources during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Overall, US child poverty levels have been falling for decades. Child poverty has fallen by 59% since 1993 with rates declining in all 50 states, the New York Times reported.
The bad news is that that credit has expired, with efforts at renewal blocked by the usual suspects.
In March 2021, as part of the American Rescue Plan Act, child tax credits were enhanced for one year. Payments increased to $3,600 for children under six years old and $3,000 for each child between six and 17.
An extension of child tax credits failed to pass Congress, amid opposition from Republicans and the West Virginia Democratic senator Joe Manchin.
Child allowances were not included in the Democrat-led health, tax and climate bill that passed last month.
“We know how to fight poverty, and it’s not super complicated,” Elizabeth Lower-Basch, director of income and work supports at the Center for Law and Social Policy (Clasp), told CNN.
“It’s about giving people the resources they need to meet their and their families’ needs.”
If in November Democrats. can hold on to their majority in the House of Representatives and can add a couple of Senate seats so that they are no longer hostage to the big business interests of Republicans and Democratic senators Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, there is a chance of the enhanced credits being brought back.