Opinion: We know how to alleviate child poverty. Why did we stop?
The Child Tax Credit was used by parents and guardians to feed, clothe and shelter kids and purchase school supplies. It made a difference
Impoverished kids live in misery, through no fault of their own. Worse, childhood poverty diminishes their life chances because poor nutrition harms their small brains, as does a home made stressful by lack of money. It all hurts their ability to learn, leaving them less likely to graduate and find good paying jobs.
Yet child poverty can be alleviated, as we learned when Republicans and Democrats joined efforts during the covid crises to ensure that each child received a child tax credit of at least $3,000. Studies found this money was used to feed, clothe and shelter kids and purchase school supplies.
But Congress failed to renew this life-affirming legislation, almost doubling the child poverty rate, according to Census Bureau data.
Some say kids shouldn’t get the child tax credit if their parents lack jobs or don’t make enough money. But should children be forced into poverty through no fault of their own?
Crime rates rise — with attendant costs for police, courts and prisons — when life-chances are squelched. Really, it’s cheaper to feed and clothe kids. Not to mention humanitarian concerns.
As budget negotiations approach I encourage our Utah delegation to expand the child tax credit to our poorest kids.