Citizens' Voice

Citizen Voice: Extend the Monthly Child Tax Credit, with or without BBB

There are far too many children going without basic necessities in our great nation. As a parent, I see the direct results of it daily.

Citizen Voice: Child Tax Credit Should Be Extended
Citizen Voice: Child Tax Credit Should Be Extended

Parents Need Congress to Reach a Compromise

The current pause in monthly child tax credit payments could not have come at a worse time. Between the lingering pandemic and rising costs of necessities such as gasoline and groceries, the CTC is even more vital now than it was last summer. Congress needs to set aside political agendas and extend the monthly payments. 

Whether or not the CTC was initially tied to the pandemic, and whether or not the pandemic is over (it’s clearly not), is irrelevant. Many developed nations are continuing to help their citizens during the pandemic, on top of existing government programs and benefits that we do not have in our country. Americans were polarized by President Franklin Roosevelt’s policies, even during one of the country’s worst economic crises. However, without the successful passing of the social security program by his administration, an entire generation may have been left behind. The extended CTC carries on that legacy. It has provided reassurance to families and has empowered parents to care for their children without the onerous bureaucracy of traditional policies. 

“The CTC allowed me to have a sliver of stability despite hard times.”

Zachary West

There are far too many children going without basic necessities in our great nation, and as a parent I see the direct results of it daily. I take care of my seven year old son, along with my mother, and the $250 per month makes the difference in affording healthy groceries for him. The CTC allowed me to have a sliver of stability despite hard times. In spite of all the challenges that each new month of 2021 brought, the CTC helped to lift some financial stress off my shoulders.

I know I’m not alone in my experience. A study by the Center for Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University has shown that in nearly every state parents are spending the CTC on food and other necessities. A study by Parents Together Action echoes these findings, stating that as soon as they received their monthly payments, 78% of parents spent their funds on food, housing, utilities, or activities for their kids. In the same study 56% of parents say that the CTC payments reduced their financial anxiety.

In its scope and impact, the monthly CTC bears a lot of resemblance to the social security program. Both were proposed in response to an economic crisis, and both provided stability for vulnerable Americans unable to withstand the unprecedented hardships of their times. If the CTC were to be extended through 2022, parents would know their country is protecting them from this pandemic, rather than throwing them to the wolves. The momentum from this program has put families in a position to get back on their feet and come out of this pandemic better prepared for the future.

CTC Uses Taxpayer Dollars Efficiently, Empowers Parents

This massive working- and middle-class tax cut would arguably lower crime rates, prevent drug abuse, boost mental health, and relieve the heavy burden on parents wondering if they will need to quit working to supervise remote learning with their children. Because of these benefits, the total cost savings for the Child Tax Credit in the long run land at around eight dollars saved for each dollar spent. 

Senators and members of Congress: unshackle struggling American families from this pandemic and from the rising costs of living. Our government seems to do a great job at bailing out corporations, but when it comes to the family unit, it becomes oddly condescending. Terminating the Child Tax Credit will only result in more distraught parents who have already gone through two years of losing family, friends, jobs, health, and time to this pandemic. I call upon our members of Congress to do the right thing and consider extending this bipartisan program, so that families like mine may have even the slightest bit more comfort during these trying, disheartening, and strange times. 

Zachary West is a father from Columbus, Ohio, raising his son along with his mother. He is out of work due to medical recovery, however, and has depended on the CTC to put food on the table as he recovers. Opinions expressed by Mr. West do not represent those of Humanity Forward.