Will Biden’s Tax Plan Discourage Work? We Already Know the Answer.

“the international experience shows that a child allowance is not anti-work. The vast majority of countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development already provide an unconditional child benefit, and most have a higher labor force participation rate than the U.S. In fact, research suggests that parents receiving allowances actually work more: “After Canada enacted a national child allowance in 2006, employment rates for mothers actually increased across the board,” according to one report. In 2016, Canada increased its annual child allowance to $4,800 per young child and $4,000 per older child — and the economy added jobs.”

Mitt Romney has a plan to give parents up to $15,000 a year

“In 2019, Mitt Romney made history: he became the first Senate Republican to endorse a form of child allowance, where all low- and middle-income parents would get a cash benefit to help raise their kids, regardless of whether or not they’re able to work. At the time, the plan was modest, amounting to only $1,500 a year for kids under 6 and $1,000 for kids 6-17.

But on Thursday, Romney went even further and proposed the Family Security Act, one of the most generous child-benefit packages ever, regardless of political party. The plan completely overhauls the current child tax credit (CTC) and turns it from a once-a-year bonus to massive income support, paid out monthly by the Social Security Administration.”

“Romney’s plan would replace the CTC, currently worth up to $2,000 per child and restricted to parents with substantial income (it doesn’t fully kick in until you reach an income of over $11,000), with a flat monthly allowance paid out to all parents:

Parents of kids ages 0 to 5 would get $350 per month, or $4,200 a year
Parents of kids ages 6 to 17 would get $250 per month, or $3,000 a year
Parents with multiple kids could get a maximum of $1,250 per month or $15,000 a year; that translates to five kids between the ages of 6 and 17. Very large families would be somewhat penalized, but many families with three or four kids will get the full benefit.”

“Romney’s proposal would phase out for wealthy parents — the benefits begin phasing out for single filers with $200,000 and joint filers with $400,000 in annual income.”

“If you’re a liberal reading this and wondering if there’s a catch, there is — but it’s not necessarily a huge one. Romney doesn’t want his plan to add to the deficit, and he wants to simplify the set of child-related benefits the government currently offers. So his plan would pay for the child allowance by eliminating a number of other programs, including some that mostly benefit the poor ”

“The upside of Romney’s plan being fully paid for, however, is that it would allow Congress to make the measure permanent under budget reconciliation rules, whereas the Biden proposal that relies on deficit funding is a temporary one-year measure.”

“It’s hard to see Romney’s proposal gaining enough Republican support to get the plan above 60 votes, though I’d be thrilled to be proven wrong on that front. But it could easily, with Romney, Democrats, and maybe a few other choice Republicans on board, make it into a reconciliation package.”

What Democrats can learn from Mitt Romney

“Suppose you’re a single parent raising two kids, ages 3 and 5. You were furloughed in the spring, when the big-box store you worked at downsized. You started getting hours again in the summer, enduring substantial risk by going to work with customers who didn’t always wear masks. Child care was a mess, and you had to scrape together help from family and friends.

It was a rough year — but you stayed afloat. In total, you ended up working about 1,000 hours last year at $14 an hour, or $14,000 total — plus there were the two stimulus checks the government sent out in April and December.

Less heralded but no less important to helping you pay the bills were a couple of tax credits the government offers: You got $1,725 through the complicated child tax credit (CTC) and another $5,600 from the earned income tax credit (EITC). That came out to $7,325 — a badly needed infusion. But as is the case every year, it was also a pain — you basically have to go to a tax preparer every tax season to help you with the paperwork to claim the credits.

This week, your member of Congress, in an unprecedented act of constituent outreach, asks you to hop on a Zoom. She’s working on legislation meant to make life easier for single parents like you, including a stimulus check. But it’s the two options to reform the tax credits that she wants to ask you about.

The first option: The government will increase your CTC a ton, so you get a whopping $7,200 a year ($3,600 per child), not just $1,725. Instead of a lump sum at tax time, the government will send you the money every month or so. Under this scenario, you’d still get the $5,600 from the EITC. The downside? You’d still have to go through all that tax prep every spring.

The second option: The government will junk the CTC — and will just send you $700 per month in the mail. That’s $350 per kid under 6, every month, regardless of whether you owe taxes. Perhaps just as appealing, there’s no tax-season paperwork to prepare. That’s $8,400 per year total, even more than the CTC in option one. The downside in this scenario: Under this plan, the EITC shrinks — and your EITC goes down to $2,000.

To recap: Both give you more money than you get now. Option one gives you more money than option two. But option two makes your life much easier logistically. You get big regular monthly payments whose amount doesn’t vary. And you would no longer be in a desperate rush every spring to get your tax return in for your big refund.

Option one above is what Democrats in Congress and the Biden administration want to do to tackle child poverty. Option two is Republican Sen. Mitt Romney’s plan to enact a new, simplified child allowance.”

“If you make $14,000 a year, there are a bunch of state and federal programs out there to help you. And by “a bunch,” I mean a bunch.

Depending on the state you’re in, you may qualify for Medicaid. It’s not so simple, though — you’re eligible in every state that did the Obamacare expansion, but a bunch of states (Texas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Mississippi) set the eligibility cutoff much lower. In Texas, single parents have to make less than $277 a month to qualify, so in this scenario, you’d be way too “rich.” (And getting your kids covered through Medicaid or S-CHIP is a whole other can of worms.)

Need housing? You can apply for a housing choice voucher under the Section 8 program, but it’s underfunded so you will have to navigate years or decades of waitlists.

Need help with child care and early education? There’s Head Start and Early Head Start. In addition, there’s the federal Child Care and Development Block Grant — but you probably won’t get it; only about 15 percent of income-eligible families do, and depending on your state, you might have to be enrolled in a formal welfare-to-work program.

Speaking of which, you might get some money from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). But, again, most don’t, and for those who do it’s strictly time-limited and requires tedious “work reports” to prove you’re not too “lazy” to deserve it.

In the winter, if you need help with heat, there’s the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) — but only 20 percent of eligible families get it.

You’ll probably be able to get Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, or food stamps, to help with groceries. If you have an infant, you can probably get aid from the nutrition program for women, infants, and children. There are probably some other programs I’m forgetting.

Conservatives and libertarians sometimes see this laundry list and think, “Look at how much we do for poor people!” I see it and think, “Look at how ridiculously complicated the system we make poor people navigate is.””

“Romney’s child allowance plan is generous. The Democrats’ plan is even more so. But Romney’s plan has one edge: It simplifies things for the people it’s supposed to benefit.”

Biden rescinds Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy that enabled family separation

“The Biden administration has ended former President Donald Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy, which provided the underpinnings for family separation by seeking to prosecute every migrant who crossed the border without authorization.

A federal judge ordered the Trump administration to stop the separations in 2018 — after more than 5,000 families were separated. Attorneys still can’t find the parents of more than 600 children; many of the parents were deported back to their home countries, while others are believed to be in the US. Biden has promised to create a task force to work on family reunification, and an announcement is expected later this week.

The Department of Justice issued a memo on Tuesday night rescinding the policy, which was implemented in April 2018 under then-US Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Acting US Attorney General Monty Wilkinson wrote Tuesday that the policy was “inconsistent” with the DOJ’s mandate to consider individual circumstances — including criminal history, the seriousness of the offense and the potential sentence or other consequences of conviction — when making decisions to charge people with the crime of crossing the border without authorization.

Trump officials claimed that they had no choice under the zero-tolerance policy but to prosecute and detain the adults while sending the children to other facilities designed to administer their care. But the officials ignored the possibility of releasing the families from detention together, as prior administrations had done.”

“The Trump administration started separating families in immigration detention back in 2017, beginning with a pilot program in El Paso, Texas. The practice was later expanded along the border in the spring of 2018, when Sessions announced the zero-tolerance policy.

Parents were sent to immigration detention to await deportation proceedings. Their children, meanwhile, were sent to separate facilities designed to hold children and, in some cases, released to other family members in the US or to foster homes. Previous administrations, in most cases, would have simply released the families from detention together if there was insufficient room in family detention facilities.”

The Trump administration knew exactly what it was doing with family separations

“Trump administration officials have repeatedly denied that they pursued a policy of intentionally separating immigrant families arriving at the southern border in 2018 — depicting the separation of parents from their children as a side effect of a “zero tolerance” policy of prosecuting all border crossers.

A new draft report from a government watchdog obtained by the New York Times shows they were lying.

“We need to take away children,” then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions reportedly told five US attorneys on the border during a meeting in May 2018 (to the lawyers’ alarm), adding that if parents care about their children, they shouldn’t bring them to the US in order to seek “amnesty.””

“While former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has largely taken the blame for the policy publicly, it turns out that Sessions and his deputy Rod Rosenstein were much more directly involved in pushing for family separations than previously known.”

“Rosenstein also emphasized the policy, telling the US attorneys that no children were too young to be separated from their parents. One of the prosecutors, John Bash, decided not to prosecute two cases involving families in which the children were just babies, and Rosenstein told him he should have gone ahead.

Bash later told his staff that the cases should not have been declined: “Per the A.G.’s policy, we should NOT be categorically declining immigration prosecutions of adults in family units because of the age of a child,” he said.”

” for the duration of the zero-tolerance policy, prosecutors actually had a harder time enforcing the law in serious felony cases because they were overwhelmed in trying to prosecute every person who crossed the border without authorization. According to the report, a Texas prosecutor informed the DOJ in 2018 that “sex offenders” were consequently freed from custody. The US Marshals Service was also unprepared for the implementation of the zero-tolerance policy, meaning that it had to divert resources from serving warrants in other cases, the report said.”

“Senior Trump administration officials, including Nielsen, have repeatedly denied that they pursued a policy of family separation”

“It was later revealed that she had, in fact, signed a memo greenlighting the practice, which clearly stated that DHS could “permissibly direct the separation of parents or legal guardians and minors held in immigration detention so that the parent or legal guardian can be prosecuted.””

The case for more — many more — Americans

“If you survey Americans about how many children they want, on average they say about 2.5. That includes the ones like me who want six and the ones who want zero. But while people want 2.5 kids on average, in practice they have fewer — about 1.72 in 2018, the book says. Increasing America’s population needn’t involve regression from modern liberal ideas. It would just require making it possible for people to get the thing that they already want.

The book’s proposed policy changes are mostly changes at the margins — more immigration but not open borders, an expansion of public education to also provide free preschool and day care, subsidies and tax credits for parents, fixes to our housing and transportation policy so the cost of living isn’t intolerable.

Despite its simplicity — maybe because of its simplicity — it’s compelling. Matt Yglesias thinks America is good and it’d be good if everyone who’d benefit the country was allowed to live here and everyone who lived here was able to have their ideal family size. And while that simple vision elides a lot of challenges — some of which are beyond its scope — its vision of America is at least worth rooting for.”

DHS is holding migrant children in secret hotel locations and rapidly expelling them

“The Trump administration is holding unaccompanied migrant children in hotels before rapidly expelling them from the US under a new policy that allows officials to turn away anyone who poses a risk of spreading coronavirus — even if they show no symptoms and are seeking asylum.”

“It’s just the latest in a long line of Trump administration policies designed to gut the asylum system on the southern border. Before the pandemic, officials were turning away tens of thousands of migrants at the southern border through the “Remain in Mexico” program, under which asylum seekers were forced to wait in Mexico, often for months at a time, for their immigration court hearings in the US. The new expulsion policy has largely replaced that program as a mechanism for keeping migrants out.
According to court documents, the administration had expelled about 2,000 unaccompanied children under the policy as of June. Though the government has not released more recent data on unaccompanied children specifically, CBP reported expelling more than 105,000 migrants total under the policy by the end of July.

“They’re coming here because they have legitimate claims for humanitarian protection,” Steven Kang, an attorney for the ACLU, said Friday. “For this country turn them right around is not only wrong — it’s not what Congress wanted. This whole shadow deportation scheme bypasses and ignores all the important rights that Congress gave them.””

“Though overcrowding of such facilities was a concern at the outset of the pandemic, HHS shelters are now operating at 5-to-10-percent capacity — well below normal, Kang said. That suggests that there is plenty of room to safely enforce social distancing and quarantine anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 or develops symptoms.
The lawsuit also argues that children have the right to an attorney and a full immigration court hearing to determine whether they are entitled to protections that would allow them to stay in the US, which is required by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPRA).

The government has argued that it has the authority to reject any migrant who poses a risk of spreading communicable disease under Title 42, a federal public health provision. Mark Morgan, the acting CBP commissioner, said earlier this month that the policy helps mitigate the risk of spreading the virus to anyone the migrants might come into contact with while being processed and in HHS shelters.”

The strong economy is an opportunity for progressives

“Even as the labor market has gotten steadily healthier in recent years, the American birth rate continues to fall from its recession-era highs.

Women tell pollsters that’s not because the number of kids they’d ideally like to have has fallen. Instead, the No. 1 most-cited reason is the high cost of child care. Child care doesn’t get more affordable just because the unemployment rate is low. If anything, it’s the opposite — child care is extremely labor-intensive, and the prospects for introducing labor-saving technology into the mix look bad. To make child care broadly affordable would require government action; it’s just not going to happen in a free market, which doesn’t magically allocate extra income to people who have young kids.”

“America’s sky-high child poverty rate compared with peer countries is entirely attributable to our failure to enact a child allowance policy. A better labor market helps marginally, but it doesn’t address the fundamental issue that a new baby increases financial needs while also making it harder to work long hours.”