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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…

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 12, 2024

Small-Dollar Demonstration Projects Can’t Hide That a National Guaranteed Income Program Would Cost Trillions

Abstract While some have declared that short-term guaranteed income demonstrations (patterned on universal basic income schemes) are working almost universally, such cheerleading misses a major drawback: the enormous costs that would arise if such programs operated at a national level, as proponents intend. This report reviews the costs of some recent proposals to operate such…

January 11, 2024

Tax Credit Nation — Politicians Are Casting New Spending As ‘Tax Cuts,’ Hiding Their True Cost

With the national debt soaring past $34 trillion, liberal politicians hoping to expand the federal leviathan face a conundrum. How can they convince Americans wary of the effects of runaway government spending—painfully evident in recent elevated inflation and interest rates—to nonetheless support even greater expenditures? As President Biden and others demonstrate, one way is to cast new…

January 11, 2024

To Better Promote Work, Stop Subsidizing More Benefit Collection

Never shy about lampooning government dysfunction, Ronald Reagan famously said that if you want more of something, subsidize it. But even the Gipper couldn’t have imagined today’s growing zeal to subsidize getting more people on government benefits, which undermines work and leaves too many on the sidelines of the economy. Welfare programs achieve that dubious distinction…

January 10, 2024

Even Congress’s “Tax Extenders” Are About More Benefits

Congress’s long list of unfinished business for the new year includes “tax extender” legislation, which is normally considered before lawmakers adjourn for the holidays in December. The fact that this legislation has lingered into January isn’t the only oddity. In an era of already rapidly rising spending, the more troubling anomaly is much of that supposed…

December 7, 2023

The White House Council of Economic Advisers Contradicts the President’s Poverty Talking Points

Before Thanksgiving, the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) released a blog post titled “The Anti-Poverty and Income Boosting Impacts of the Enhanced CTC.” That’s a reference to the temporary—and now expired—expansion in the child tax credit (CTC) enacted as part of Democrats’ March 2021 American Rescue Plan Act. In its FY 2024 budget proposal earlier…

December 1, 2023

Making the Child Tax Credit “Fully Refundable” Converts It into Welfare Checks

In what is becoming an annual ritual, news accounts and DC sources suggest liberals’ end-of-year legislative wish list once again includes reviving the worst part of Democrats’ partisan 2021 child tax credit (CTC) expansion. That proposal would convert the pro-work CTC into new federal welfare checks for nonworking parents, which Congress should flatly reject. Here’s how the respected Committee for a Responsible Federal…

November 21, 2023

Defining Poverty Up

Thirty years ago, the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D., N.Y.) wrote a seminal essay titled “Defining Deviancy Down.” He argued that Americans had “become accustomed to alarming levels of crime and destructive behavior” such as soaring out-of-wedlock childbearing behind increased welfare dependence. Policy-makers responded to Moynihan’s call, and the bipartisan 1994 crime bill (which Moynihan…