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Research Archive

February 14, 2024

Debate: The Future of Family Policy

A new bill is making its way through Congress, aiming to expand the existing Child Tax Credit (CTC) policy. As part of a Dispatch debate series, associate editor Luis Parrales moderates a debate between Kevin Corinth of the American Enterprise Institute and Patrick T. Brown of the Ethics and Public Policy Center on the merits of the proposal. What are the tradeoffs of a work requirement? Should…

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 26, 2024

Please Congress: Make Fiscal Sanity a Priority

Sometimes I don’t understand Republicans in the House of Representatives. When they are threatening government shutdowns, they make a great show of saying their highest priority is getting a handle on out-of-control federal spending, reducing the deficit, and bringing down our national debt. And yet, when an obvious opportunity falls in their lap to reduce…

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

Tax Extenders Package Would Cut the Child Tax Credit’s Annual Work Requirement in Half

One of the bills Congress punted to the new year is a package of “tax extenders” normally considered at year’s end when temporary tax laws are about to expire. But the agreement announced yesterday by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R-MO) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) is notable for far more than its timing. On the plus side, and to the negotiators’ credit, it’s a…

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…

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 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…

January 9, 2024

Let’s Expand the Child Tax Credit a Little Bit

A bipartisan group of senators is trying to hash out a deal on extending some of the Republican tax cuts from 2017. If Congress does nothing, the child tax credit will drop down to $1,000 per child from its current level of $2,000. Some lawmakers want to expand the child tax credit massively. Others don’t. There’s a middle course that involves moderately growing…