RECOMMENDED READING
Family Feud: Child Allowance Edition
Family Financial Security: Senator Mitt Romney on the Right’s Fight to Support Our Most Important Institution
American Institutions and the American Family: A Conversation with Yuval Levin

The American Rescue Plan, which President Joe Biden signed into law today, contains a provision that represents a qualitative break from the welfare-to-work policies that have been in place since the 1990s. The change is also scrambling party politics — especially on the Republican side — in a way that could have lasting implications.

Oren Cass at American Compass, a conservative economic think tank, offers an alternative plan that, like Romney’s, begins by supporting parents even before their children are born. The crucial difference is that support in any given year is capped by the amount the family earned in the previous year. In essence, under Cass’s plan the government would be willing to double the income of poor families — so long as the parents work.

This approach has been pilloried by commentators across the political spectrum for penalizing poor children whose parents don’t work. But the proposal deserves to be taken seriously.

Its central points are that unconditional cash payments treat children as if they were distinct from the family, and the family as if it were distinct from a larger society that values work. Families that don’t buy into the values of a work-centric society would not only undermine popular support for cash payments, according to Cass, but they would also leave their children ill-prepared join that society.

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Recommended Reading
Family Feud: Child Allowance Edition

The Niskanen Center’s Samuel Hammond and the American Enterprise Institute’s Scott Winship debate the case for a “child allowance.”

Family Financial Security: Senator Mitt Romney on the Right’s Fight to Support Our Most Important Institution

A conversation with Senator Mitt Romney about the future of family benefits in the U.S. and what it means for the right-of-center’s future.

American Institutions and the American Family: A Conversation with Yuval Levin

A robust discussion of how well American institutions are fostering the flourishing of American families, hosted by American Compass and Capita.