Democrats seem ready to enact major economic relief legislation. The package will be big, with a price tag probably close to the Biden administration’s proposed $1.9 trillion. But the bulk of this spending will clearly be temporary. Americans won’t be getting $1,400 checks every year, unemployment benefits won’t always be this generous, we won’t constantly be mobilizing for emergency vaccination programs (or at least we hope not).
There is, however, one piece of the package many progressives hope will become permanent: enhanced aid to families with children. Indeed, there’s an overwhelming economic and social case for providing such aid, in addition to the moral case.
Yet most conservatives seem to be opposed, even though they’re having a notably hard time explaining why. And the fact that they’re against helping children despite their lack of good arguments tells you a lot about why they really oppose aid to those in need.
Some background: The current U.S. tax system already gives parents a credit of up to $2,000 for each child. However, families can claim the full amount only if they have a sufficiently large taxable income. This is a major limitation: An estimated 27 million children live in families with incomes too low to get the full $2,000.