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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 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….

November 14, 2023

Did Child Poverty Really Increase Last Year?

In 2021, Democrats succeeded in temporarily expanding the child tax credit (CTC) as part of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan. Previously, the maximum CTC of $2,000 per child was available only to workers with income tax liability and who exceeded an earnings threshold. The expansion gave every family $3,000 per child—$3,600 for younger children—regardless of whether…

October 31, 2023

It Takes Two

It is indisputable that children are better off living with two nurturing parents who are in a stable, loving relationship compared to any other living situation. But it gets more contentious from there. Does “stability” require marriage? How important is it to live with two biological parents? What if one (or both) adults are not…

October 17, 2023

Understanding Poverty Measurement

COSM scholars and AEI affiliates include some of the nation’s foremost experts on poverty measurement. On October 17, COSM gathered several of these scholars to provide a primer on opportunity in the United States. Angela Rachidi began by exploring the meaning of poverty, outlining the most fundamental decisions in measuring it and describing how different…

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…

August 2, 2023

Measuring Social Capital: Can We Tell If Some Places Are Richer in Social Capital Than Others?

The concept of social capital has been inconsistently defined and described.[1]That should not be surprising, given that social capital is intangible and not easily measured. (The same is true of human capital, though researchers have defaulted to measures of educational attainment and test scores, only recently expanding the set of indicators to encompass noncognitive skills.)…

June 22, 2023

The Cost of Thriving Has Fallen: Correcting and Rejecting the American Compass Cost-of-Thriving Index

AbstractThe Cost-of-Thriving Index (COTI), developed by American Compass Executive Director Oren Cass, asks whether families can afford a middle-class lifestyle. It compares the costs of five goods and services to the income of a typical full-time male earner. Cass concludes that the cost of thriving has increased dramatically, from 40 weeks of work in 1985…

June 15, 2022

Second Time’s the Charm?

Early last year, Senator Mitt Romney proposed a new approach to family policy that exposed some significant rifts among right-leaning policy wonks who care about fighting poverty and supporting family formation. This week, Romney (together with fellow Republicans Richard Burr and Steve Daines) has offered a revised version of the idea that might just have what it takes…

July 2, 2021

Addressing the Shortcomings of the Supplemental Poverty Measure

Key Points Read the PDF. Executive Summary The US Census Bureau publishes the Supplemen­tal Poverty Measure (SPM) each year to provide important information on low-income Americans’ well-being. In early 2021, a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) panel formed to evaluate and recommend improve­ments to the SPM. To inform the NASEM panel and…