Thanks to the stimulus bill, child allowances are here to stay. But we have to pay for them.

Mar 14, 2021

The sheer magnitude of the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill masks its many components, but one of the most significant parts is an expanded child allowance. For the next year, American families will receive $300 monthly for every child younger than 6 years of age and $250 for every child age 17 or under, phasing out for couples earning more than $150,000.

Second, I think payments should be concentrated toward the truly needy families and not diluted up the income ladder. It’s not clear to me why a high-earning couple would receive the same payment as someone at the poverty line, given we are in an environment of really having to worry about how each additional federal dollar is spent. I’d move the maximum income cap down.

And I’m sympathetic to the argument from Oren Cass at American Compass that there’s some sort of benefit floor. That at least one person in the household needs to be working and earning the amount the family is claiming in benefits — a good faith effort to participate in the social contract. But I don’t think this makes or breaks the program.

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