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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 29, 2024

Per-Child Benefit in Wyden-Smith Child Tax Credit Bill Would Discourage Full-Time Work for Families with Multiple Children

The Wyden-Smith proposed tax legislation would make four changes to the Child Tax Credit (CTC). First, it would increase the cap on the refundable portion of the CTC, eventually to the same amount as the maximum non-refundable CTC. Second, it would begin indexing the maximum non-refundable CTC with inflation. Third, it would apply a one-year lookback for…

January 29, 2024

Let’s Not Turn the Child Tax Credit Into Welfare

A renewed effort to expand the child tax credit (CTC) is currently making its way through Congress. The proposed policy would increase benefits for low-income families—especially those with multiple children—automatically grow the credit with inflation, and most contentiously, eliminate the work requirement for families who had earnings in the prior year. In debating these changes and even…

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….

January 17, 2024

Congress, Don’t Legislate a Takeover of the Nation’s Rental Housing Market

It is an election year and Congress will soon consider two bipartisan bills to address high rental costs for many renters. The first is the Workforce Housing Tax Credit (WFHTC) and the second would be an expansion of the existing Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC).  The WFHTC would extend eligibility for subsidized units tenants earning below the area median….

January 12, 2024

Congress Shouldn’t Expand Welfare in Return for Corporate Tax Cuts

Bipartisan negotiations to revive the Democrat-favored 2021 Child Tax Credit in return for Republican-favored business-tax cuts are heating up. The business-tax cuts could be helpful in principle — if they focus on encouraging future investment and don’t add to the deficit. But under no circumstance should Republicans agree to turn the Child Tax Credit into a welfare…

December 21, 2023

Our Policies to Address Homelessness Are Failing

Official data released last Friday show that 2023 was the worst year ever recorded for homelessness, and it’s not even close. The 12 percent rise in homelessness quadrupled the previous record for a single-year increase. Our homeless population is now the largest it has ever been. Policy-makers must wake up to this national crisis. Our…

November 30, 2023

Evaluating the Success of the War on Poverty since 1963 Using an Absolute Full-Income Poverty Measure

Abstract We evaluate progress in the War on Poverty as President Lyndon B. Johnson defined it, which established a 20% baseline poverty rate and adopted an absolute standard. While the official poverty rate fell from 19.5% in 1963 to 10.5% in 2019, our absolute full-income poverty measure—which uses a fuller income measure and updates thresholds…

October 30, 2023

The Effect of Elevating the Supplemental Poverty Measure on Government Program Eligibility and Spending

Abstract A recent National Academy of Sciences report recommends elevating the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) to the “nation’s headline poverty statistic.” I project how making the SPM the official poverty measure would affect eligibility for government assistance programs whose eligibility thresholds are tied to the official poverty line. Making the SPM the official poverty measure…