My family of six gets a big monthly child tax credit check – and it’s a problem
The fifth check is probably in the mail, or it will be soon. It will be the same as the last four – $ 804. We’re getting the new child tax credit that President Joe Biden and the Congressional Democrats created in March, which they are now trying to extend to at least next year in their multibillion-dollar spending bill. But it would be better for us, and for America, if these controls stopped.
My wife and I know the reasons for these controls: Raising children is difficult, so the government wants to try to make things a little easier. It’s true that parenting is a chore – we have four kids, aged 7, 5, 3 and 6 months old, and each day is somehow crazier than the last. But does that really mean that Americans need Washington to pay us up to $ 3,600 for each child up to age 6 and $ 3,000 per child age 6 to 17? As nice as it sounds, the child tax credit is riddled with problems, as a growing number of Congressional Democrats are starting to find out.
Destroy the independence of the middle class
Historically, federal support was designed for the less fortunate and most vulnerable, but the child tax credit targets low- and middle-income families.
The families of nearly 60 million children receive these monthly checks, including families with well-paying jobs. Families like mine will quickly come to demand for taxpayer funded checks. Worse, we will come to depend on money.
It doesn’t matter who you are: you start by not needing the money to find out you need it, the moment you spend it. Maybe you bought a new minivan. Maybe you’ve subscribed to a bunch of streaming services. Maybe you put that money into a bigger mortgage on a better house. Regardless of how they use it, families are already spending the money as if it had always been there and always will be there. The name for this is addiction.
Some Democrats are realizing this fact. West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, the deciding vote in the Senate, is pushing to cap checks to families earning about $ 60,000 a year or less, according to Axios. Other party members – including Rep. Jared Golden from Maine and Senator Sherrod Brown from Ohio – have also suggested they support lowering the annual income threshold so that richer families do not receive it. .
However, even if the enhanced tax credit is limited to low-income families, it will still suffer from major problems, in particular its lack of connection with work.
Normally I have to work hard for $ 800, but that money came no matter how hard I put it. While my wife and I recognize that raising children is its own form of work, it is a labor of love, not a day at the office. I can’t help but feel that my job is somehow diminished and even unnecessary.
For me, it’s just a feeling. But for many families, it will become a constraint. The new child tax credit is paid whether or not parents are working. Study shows 1.5 million parents may be leaving the workforce, relying solely on checks and other government programs.
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Manchin appears to be the only Democrat who understands this to be wrong. It demanded a work requirement, consistent with virtually every other federal family support program in the past 30 years. It is not known if he will succeed because the rest of the group is pressuring him to give in and agree to an extension. But he’s right to ask why we need a policy that pushes people out of the economy instead of keeping them in the game.
Huge costs will hurt our children
Many lawmakers are also responding to the huge costs of benefits such as the child tax credit. Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema tried to cut costs from the broader spending bill.
A one-year extension would cost $ 100 billion, but you’d better believe it’s a floor, not a ceiling. The duties are virtually impossible to cancel, and over 10 years the credit would cost $ 1.6 trillion.
And that assumes it won’t become more generous over time – something other than the rights often do. My children, who got us the checks, will have to pay down the huge accumulated national debt. And unlike the child tax credit, this debt comes with an interest rate, so my kids will have to pay more than what we get each month.
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The checks are on track to end in December, with final payment when my wife and I file our taxes in April. We hope this will be the last we hear about it, because if the child tax credit does not expire, the monthly divorced labor checks will take root in homes like ours. It is not known if Congress has the votes to extend it. But it’s increasingly clear that lawmakers shouldn’t be doing this.
Nick Adolphsen is Director of State Government Affairs at the Foundation for Government Accountability.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Addiction, Debt Are By-Products Of Child Tax Credit Audits