Turns out a lot of US politicians don’t mind kids going hungry | Arwa Mahdawi
This simple trick will help lift children out of poverty
Child poverty is bad. I think we can all agree on that, can’t we? Americans are divided on many issues, but it’s safe to assume that no matter where someone is on the political spectrum, they want kids to have enough to eat. To the right?
Bad. It turns out that a very large number of politicians have no problem with hungry children. Last year, the federal government raised millions American children lifted out of poverty with the stroke of a pen when he expanded the Child Tax Credit (CTC) as part of the US stimulus package. This policy was not particularly revolutionary: many rich countries provide a version of a universal child benefit. But, while not globally revolutionary, the CLC transformed the United States: monthly child poverty was reduced by about 30%. Around 3.7 million children have seen their lives improve. And then, at the end of 2021, the CLC expired and congress failed to extend it. These 3.7 million children hungry again; a February study found that child poverty increased by 41% after the program expires. In short: a hugely successful policy that has improved the lives of millions of people has simply been dismissed.
The Republicans — the party that likes to loudly proclaim how “pro-life” they are and how much they care about family values — are largely responsible for the CTC’s expiration. Every Republican in Congress has opposed the CTC expansion. Joe Manchin, a supposed Democrat, also helped kill the program; he allegedly told his colleagues that he feared that the parents would waste the money they were given on drugs. Did he have proof of this? No of course not. In reality, studies show that 91% of households earning less than $35,000 a year used this money to pay for food, housing, clothing and other necessities.
While the Republicans and the Mandchins bear the bulk of the blame for CTC sabotage, there is plenty of blame to blame. The fact that much of the media insists on calling Manchin a “moderate,” for example, doesn’t help matters. Terminology like this helps promote the idea that pandering to corporate interests is “soft” while helping to lift children out of poverty is “radical”; it’s easier for people like Manchin to pretend they’re sane instead of just being selfish. And the Democrats aren’t blameless either. They are absurdly bad at messaging and often seem more concerned with compromising with their colleagues across the way than fighting for ordinary Americans.
The short-lived CTC exposes one of the big lies in politics: the idea that it’s far too difficult to do anything about big problems like poverty. As the brief success of the CTC demonstrates, simply giving families a little more money pays huge dividends. We know how to improve people’s lives, we simply lack the political will to do so.
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