Losing child tax credit would have ‘devastating impact’
Sophie Collierresearch director at Columbia University Center on Poverty and Social Policyspoke with the new yorker on the implications of cut the child tax credit and what impact it would have on many Low-income American families.
“We found that 3.7 million additional children are living in poverty as a result of the Child Tax Credit reduction between December and January. A very interesting aspect of the CTC program is that it is cash-based. So many social policies and social programs in the United States consist of in-kind transfers (housing subsidies, food stamps) and they are rarely cash. But with that, you’ve seen families get paid in cash, and money is fungible. In one month you might need it to fill a food budget, but for the next month it could be used to fix a car. Another month could help with child care. This flexibility is also evident in the data, with families using it to meet varying needs from month to month.
“I think policy makers know right now that they have a lever in their hands that, if pulled, would lift millions of children out of poverty. I think the pandemic has also revealed overall how point a policy can be effective in stabilizing family income. We didn’t see a big increase in the poverty rate in 2020, and I don’t think anyone thought that would be the case in March 2020. Every family has experienced a lot financial hardship, but it also revealed that policies can be effective unless they prevent people from falling into poverty,” she concluded.