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July 10, 2024

Has Income Growth between Generations of Americans Stalled?

A defining aspect of the American dream is that the economic well-being of each generation surpasses that of the previous one. However, commentators have questioned whether this holds true for the most recent generations. A 2022 Gallup poll found that only 42 percent of Americans expect today’s young people to have a better life than…

March 21, 2024

Sugary Beverage Consumption Among SNAP Recipients

The House Agriculture Committee recently failed to pass an appropriations bill that would have authorized a pilot program to test whether nutrition-based restrictions in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) could improve health outcomes for low-income households. This is just the latest rejection by Washington policymakers of proposals designed to improve nutritional outcomes for SNAP…

March 11, 2024

How Many Forms of “Wage Insurance” Do We Need, Exactly?

One of the most controversial policies included in H. R. 7024, the “Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act” that passed the House on January 31, is a provision that would expand the “lookback” to determine eligibility for the child tax credit (CTC). Under current law, adults claiming the CTC for a tax year…

March 4, 2024

Social conservatives who care about marriage should think twice about a “per-child” refundable Child Tax Credit

The United States Senate is currently debating H.R. 7024, a House-passed bill that would modify the Child Tax Credit (CTC) in several ways. One of the most consequential changes would increase the rate at which the refundable portion of the credit phases in, from the current 15% rate applied to all families to 15% times…

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 8, 2024

CTC Expansion Rooted in Desire to Roll Back Work-based Welfare

Modifications to the child tax credit (CTC) are included in H.R. 7024, the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act of 2024, which the House of Representatives approved on January 31, 2024. That legislation pairs an extension of expired business tax relief policies, generally sought by Republicans, with an expansion of the CTC, which…

February 8, 2024

Another Flawed Analysis Shows that Single Mothers are Highly Sensitive to Changes in Work Incentives

Tuesday, I published a critique of a paper by Council of Economic Advisers senior economist Jacob Bastian related to the debate over expanding the child tax credit (CTC). In that paper, Bastian sought to discredit analyses claiming that single mothers are highly sensitive to work incentives. Specifically, he argued that the “labor supply elasticities” used…

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….

October 5, 2023

Changing the Official Poverty Measure Would Help Rich States and Hurt Poor States

In this post I discuss the policy implications of declaring the Supplemental Poverty Measure the new official measure, an action that could be taken unilaterally by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget without any input from Congress. First, I report how eligibility for major means-tested programs would substantially rise in higher income…

September 15, 2023

Putting This Year’s Poverty Numbers in Context

On Tuesday, the Census Bureau released its latest income and poverty estimates covering calendar year 2022, including two assessments of poverty in America. One, called the Official Poverty Measure (OPM), focuses on earnings and cash-like government benefits, such as Social Security, unemployment, and welfare checks. A second, known as the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM), also…