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June 18, 2024

Economic Opportunity and Social Mobility

Years ago, I worked at the Pew Charitable Trusts on something called the Economic Mobility Project. In 2009, we commissioned a survey covering opportunity, mobility, and the American Dream. One revealing question we asked was the following: The term American Dream means different things to different people. Here are some ways some people have described…

May 20, 2024

Indivar Dutta-Gupta and Scott Winship on the 60th Anniversary of LBJ’s “War on Poverty” on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal”

Indivar Dutta-Gupta and Scott Winship talked about the 60th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “Great Society” speech and the war on poverty.

May 16, 2024

Critiquing Bastian (2022, 2023, 2024, and forthcoming):On Child Tax Credit Reform and the Sensitivity of Single Mothers to Work Incentives

Abstract In 2021, Congress passed and President Biden signed a major, but temporary, reform to the Child Tax Credit (CTC). Among other reforms to the credit, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) made it available to non-workers on the same basis as workers. Attempts to make this reform permanent foundered, in part, due to opposition…

May 14, 2024

Understanding Trends in Worker Pay over the Past 50 years

Key Points Executive Summary Doomers on the political left and right agree that economic growth has failed to translate into higher wages for American workers, with some claiming that pay has barely risen in 50 years. Such sentiments have been buttressed by flawed analyses that, comparing apples to oranges in a variety of ways, have…

March 28, 2024

An Early Look at the Child Tax Credit Changes in the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act of 2024

Abstract The Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act of 2024, which the US House of Representatives passed on January 31, 2024, and the Senate is now considering, would make important changes to the child tax credit (CTC) if enacted. The legislation would increase CTC payments for families with lower earnings, apply a one-year…

February 27, 2024

Options for Improving the Child Tax Credit Provisions in H.R. 7024, the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act of 2024

H.R. 7024, the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act of 2024, passed the House on January 31, 2024 and now faces an uncertain fate in the Senate. The bill is intended to offer something for both Republicans and Democrats—business tax cuts and an expansion of the Child Tax Credit (CTC). But this bargain—which…

February 6, 2024

Research by a Top Biden Administration Economist Reinforces the Importance of Work Incentives in the Child Tax Credit and the Safety Net

For the past two years, economist Jacob Bastian has been the main researcher dedicated to trumpeting the virtues of a child tax credit (CTC) expansion. Writing first as an economist from academic perches at Rutgers and Princeton, later as an affiliate of moderate think tanks like the Niskanen Center and the R Street Institute, and…

January 31, 2024

The Wyden-Smith Child Tax Credit and Work: Responding to Critics

The Wyden-Smith tax bill under consideration in the House has rekindled a debate about the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and work incentives. We, along with our colleagues, Angela Rachidi and Matt Weidinger, recently released an analysis of the incentives built into one overlooked feature of the CTC reforms proposed in the bill—the so-called “look-back” provision….

January 19, 2024

The Work Incentive and Employment Effects of Eliminating the Child Tax Credit’s Annual Income Requirement

Abstract Senior House and Senate tax committee leaders agreed to a framework for modifying the Child Tax Credit on January 16, 2024. The most consequential reform would eliminate the Child Tax Credit’s annual income requirement by allowing individuals to calculate their eligibility using their current or prior year’s income, whichever year maximizes the family’s benefit….

December 11, 2023

Has Inequality Made Americans Poorer than Bulgarians, Russians, and Filipinos?

A recent column by John Burn-Murdoch in the Financial Times presents statistics side-by-side showing that “the wealthiest Americans are the richest people in the developed world, but America’s poorest are also the most likely to go hungry.” The chart buttressing the latter part of that conclusion shows that in over 12 percent of American households,…