Joe Manchin and Child Poverty

Democrats are in re-domination mode after passing their trillion-dollar spending bill, and one dishonest story is that West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin is being callous about it. poverty in children. For months, Mr. Manchin and these columns have raised genuine concerns about monthly cash payments to families that Democrats have never bothered to address.

“Perhaps Senator Manchin can explain to the millions of children who have been lifted out of poverty, in part due to the Child Tax Credit, why he wants to end a program that is helping to reach this important milestone. this — we can’t,” the White House said. To paraphrase a line from the left-wing political favorite, “The West Wing”: This is not an exact Dale Carnegie page.

The Child Benefit — now a grant more than a tax credit — this year offers $3,600 for children under 6 and $3,000 for older children. Part of that is paid by monthly check, including to parents who don’t owe income tax. Build Back Better was supposed to extend the cash back for another year, but now the tax credit is set back to its old $2,000 still generous a kid.

The impact of larger subsidies on poverty has been magnified because structured benefits will crush incentives to work. Traditionally, someone needed $2,500 in income to claim the child credit, which becomes more generous as one earns more to incentivize a promotion. This is an extremely modest income, and Democrats have crossed it with the sole purpose of sending large checks to people who don’t work.

University of Chicago economists earlier this year estimates that 1.5 million parents will leave the workforce as a result of the expansion. “The reduction in employment and loss of income means that child poverty will fall by only 22 percent, and profound child poverty will not,” the authors write.

Mr Manchin was also daring to wonder if parents making $400,000 would need government child support. The supercharged credit starts to taper off at around $150,000 for married people, but the $2,000 benefit will still be available even for high earners.

That’s because removing the credit at lower income levels would violate President Biden’s pledge not to raise taxes on anyone earning less than $400,000. The Biden crowd claimed they were worried about child poverty but gave little thought to the incentive effects. Their real political goal is to entice more families by transferring income from the government, whatever the consequences.

Manchin also dared to point out that progressives have buried the cost of their extended credit by extending the benefit for just one year. This deception allowed the Congressional Budget Office to record a cost of $185 billion over 10 years, allowing progressives to use a budget adjustment and pass it with just 51 Senate votes. But Democrats have made it clear that their plan is to renew the benefits every year. The CBO said a 10-year extension would cost about $1.6 trillion.

Newspaper headlines are warning of families on the brink of peril if monthly payments are not renewed, but the vast federal and state social safety net — food stamps, Medicaid, subsidized housing, school lunches, Head Start, childcare assistance, and more — will cease to exist on January 1. Neither of these programs is supposed to eliminate the status quo. poor children?

Democrats want people to forget that some of the biggest recent reductions in child poverty occurred amid healthy growth in the Trump administration in the pre-pandemic years. The Pew Research Center in November 2020 reported that the percentage of American children in poverty hit a record low in the months leading up to the pandemic.

Child poverty fell to 14% of children under 18 in 2019, down from 22% in 2010 not long after the Great Recession. In nine years, child poverty rates have fallen by nearly a third among blacks and 40% among Hispanics. The eternal truth is that faster economic growth creates jobs and raises incomes by far the best anti-poverty program.

Democrats have tried to get Construction Better Back into law without debate or policy compromise. The left thinks they can do so by knocking the “living bastard” away from Mr Manchin, as he said in a recent interview. He has no reason to apologize for asking for a bill that transforms America to be subject to regular orders from Congress.

Report of the Journal Editor: A year that started with victory but went downhill. Image: Getty Images Synthesis: Mark Kelly

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