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More than lived below the poverty line before the COVID-19 crisis and now, with months of school closures, rising food insecurity and increasing unemployment, the situation has become for low-income families.
Federal spending on children in the U.S. hasother wealthy nations for years, and the country has not done nearly enough to fight child poverty, according to , a professor of economics at the University of Maryland and a at the Brookings Institution. Kearney has a bold idea about how to turn the tide, though. If every needy youngster was given the average Social Security benefit (normally distributed to those 65 and older), we could eradicate child poverty in America – all it would require is the political will, she says.
- Kearney’s plan, which she describes as currently in the “thought experiment” phase, would cost $179 billion a year, if every child received the average Social Security payment (about $17,000 a year). However, she thinks it would be fairer to phase out the benefit as a family’s income rises, allowing children who are close to the official poverty threshold to get some assistance as well.
- A Social Security benefit program for poor kids could be funded by rolling back some of the tax cuts given to the wealthiest Americans during the 2017 tax overhaul, Kearney says. The massive social insurance program, originally introduced by President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Great Depression, has been a hugely successful anti-poverty program for seniors, she explains.
- While Kearney expects some skepticism about her idea of giving out direct cash payments to low-income parents, who might (in theory) choose not to use the money to support their children, she says of programs . She considers her proposal “a social investment” that would more than pay for itself in the long run, because the children lifted out of poverty would be much more likely to get good jobs as adults and contribute to society with their taxes, instead of needing expensive entitlement programs.
- Dive into the details of Kearney’s proposal she wrote for Brookings.
- A child allowance, available to families in several other countries, is another possible solution for alleviating child poverty, in The New York Times explains.
- President Joe Biden and Senator Mitt Romney both have new proposals to expand cash benefits for children, during the pandemic. You can about here.
- about the Moving to Opportunity program and its efforts to break cycles of childhood poverty, by moving families from low-income to high-income neighborhoods. And here’s about the benefits of using cash payments to help refugees.