Congress should make the new child tax credit permanent


Susanna Keiserman, Contributing Writer

The American Rescue Plan passed in March 2021 allowed for the expansion of the child tax credit.  It increased this year’s payments for single parents who make less than $75,000, “heads of household” who make less than $112,500, and couples who make less than $150,000 per year.  This year, families that have children under six will receive $3,600 per child (increased from $3,000) and families with children ages 6-17 will receive $3,000 per child (increased from $2,000).  The expansion also decided to include 17 year-olds for the first time.  The 2018 child tax credit brought 5.5 million children across the nation out of poverty, and the recent boost is projected to bring another 4.1 million children over the federal poverty line.


 “I think the government has a responsibility to help disadvantaged children in this country, and these payments could really do that,” said junior Montana Moon.


Biden is hoping to continue this increase through 2025; however, some Democratic representatives rightfully argue it should be made permanent.  It is clear that this plan, which is projected to decrease national child poverty by 40%, will greatly benefit American families and must be made permanent.  Stronger income assistance has been shown to reduce substance abuse, increase academic success, and increase the overall quality of life for children including their future financial prospects.


“I think it’s incredibly important for families that may be struggling with money to be given payments that could help stabilize their living circumstances, especially if that money is coming from wealthier Americans who have engaged in tax evasion,” said junior Juliet Minadeo.


The plan also seeks to crack down on tax evasion committed by financial institutions and wealthy Americans who may be failing to report sources and quantity of income.


 If Biden wants to keep his campaign promises and goals for the middle class, with his idea that “when the middle class does well, everyone does well,” then he needs to make sure that the legislation he passes stays in effect well after his presidency.  The plan shouldn’t be put at risk of not being expanded if Democrats lose congressional seats in midterm elections or if the next president wants to discontinue the credits.


“Although there would be a significant increase in taxes on the wealthy, overall, the tax law would greatly benefit the people who need that slight bit of help.  Also, this increase in taxes won’t bankrupt someone who already is very well off,” said senior Terry McGinty.


 According to Forbes and the US Census Bureau, people across the nation who made a gross income of $538,926 were included in the top 1% in 2020.  A 39.6% income tax on this would result in an income of $325,511, which is still $257,990 above what median household income was in 2020.  The wealthiest Americans can afford to be taxed an extra 2.6% and arguably have a moral responsibility to pay more in order to benefit the rest of the country.  In fact, in addition to increasing the quality of life for individuals, creating more stable economies in individual homes would reduce the damage of future economic recessions and make for a stronger economy for everyone.


 The increased tax credit will also be helpful to reduce the impact that systemic racism has played in the unequal distribution of wealth; half of all Black and Latino children are set to be included in the expansion.


“I really don’t get the argument that this increase in credits should be temporary.  It’s obviously beneficial to impoverished families and helps fight systemic racism while promoting social mobility,” said junior Mareks Woodside.


On the campaign trail, Biden promised to “deal with systemic racism and advance racial equity in our economy.”  In order to support his intentions, establishing the child tax credits to become permanent would significantly help empower those who are people of color, especially those who are in the middle class.  No child should be restricted by the situation they are born into.  So, Biden and Congress must take steps to make the new child tax credit permanent to provide equal economic and welfare opportunity to all American children and families now and in the future.