GEE AND URSULA

Should the child tax credit be made permanent?

Jan 3, 2022, 1:40 PM
child tax credit...
(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

The child tax credit is ending this month as the omicron variant is surging. Should the benefit be  permanent, or are you OK with it ending?

The child tax credit started in July 2021 as part of the American Rescue Plan. It’s already paid out $80 billion, according to The New York Times. Always meant to be temporary, the credit gives each family $300 per child per month — up to $3,600 per child. Couples who earn as much as $150,000 a year could receive the full credit.

Some economists say ending the credit could cool an economic recovery and could mean serious trouble for millions of families that are already teetering on the brink of poverty.

Others say making the child tax credit permanent will discourage many people from returning to work.

So which is it?

“How is $3,600 for a year going to discourage someone from work,” Gee asked. I’m really bothered by this child tax credit thing. I believe it should be back on the table for people who have children. It’s interesting though because a lot of people are against Medicare for all. A lot of people are against student loan debt forgiveness. A lot of people are against universal basic income and don’t want an extension of a child tax credit. They’re against paid family leave, against the wealth tax, against an increase of the minimum wage … In this country, I am tired of the lack of empathy.

I would like for more people to be able to make it.

Researchers at Columbia University estimate the credit kept 3.8 million children out of poverty in November. That’s a 30% reduction in the child poverty rate.

I know the other side of this is people saying what about those making $150K a year? If you want to have a conversation about that, sure. But there seems to be more conversation about if someone is making $100K a year and getting a child tax credit than someone making millions a year and increased tax cuts that they get.

Ursula reminded Gee that he had said that it was time to end extended unemployment benefits. And also, at what point do you say enough is enough?

Ursula: I’m in favor of the child tax benefit for those families that need it. I think it needs to be adjusted, though, because if I still had kids young enough to qualify for this and they’re living in my home, I wouldn’t want to get it. It would be something I’d use to buy a new TV or something. I wouldn’t need it.

It should be adjusted so that it continues to go to those families that need it.

Gee says he’s fine with an adjustment. He points out that the Columbia University study found that the majority of recipients spent the money on food, clothing, and other necessities. Some used it to pay down their debt.

“This might also be an opportunity for that second parent to not have to go get a second job,” he said.

Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Should the child tax credit be made permanent?