WASHINGTON, DC — Recent proposals to provide new family benefits focus on using unconditional cash payments to combat poverty and compensate parents for their work, ideas that have met with understandable resistance from the right-of-center. A new proposal from American Compass provides a conservative case for a benefit to working families that functions as a form of reciprocal social insurance. Unlike other proposals, it avoids discouraging work, commodifying parenting, or reducing vital safety-net programs for non-working households. The plan builds on the results of the second part of the American Compass Home Building Survey, which finds overwhelming support for greater government support to families and a preference in particular for direct, monthly cash benefits.
The Family Income Supplemental Credit, or Fisc, is a monthly supplement paid to working families, with the following parameters.
- Supplement: $800/mo. to pregnant women beginning in fifth month of pregnancy, $400/mo. from birth until the child’s 6th birthday, and then $250/mo. until the child’s 18th birthday.
- Work requirement: Annual household payments capped at level of total income earned in prior year; TANF preserved and expanded for families ineligible to receive the supplement.
- Phase out: Supplement declines by $100 per $1,000 of income beginning at $100K (single) or $200K (joint).
- Marriage bonus: Married parents receive a 20% boost in their supplement.
- Administration: Spending program through SSA, not tax credit through IRS.
- Funding: Two-thirds of funding from existing programs; one-third from tax increase.
This design is informed both by conservative principles and recent results from the American Compass Home Building Survey on family preferences for work, childcare, and government support. Click here to view the survey results.