The year 2021 was one for the history books in many areas of American economic policy. And one thing it will be remembered as is the year the United States finally adopted a guaranteed minimum income for families with children. Unfortunately, that policy victory was short-lived, and the expanded Child Tax Credit signed into law as part of the American Rescue Plan Act expired at the end of last year after the historic economic recovery package many of us will forever remember as “Build Back Better” stalled in the Senate—despite widespread popularity with bipartisan voters—for lack of West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin’s support as the critical fiftieth vote.
Advocates for children and for low-income families haven’t given up the fight, though chances of bringing the expanded credit back anytime soon appear dim in the current political climate. Meanwhile, millions of children across the country have fallen back below the federal poverty line—and nearly half of low-income families reported struggling to afford food five months after the lapse of the expanded credit’s monthly payments.
So we at Off-Kilter felt it was time to revisit the topic of the child tax credit on the pod, and to take a look at how kids and families are faring half a year after our elected leaders allowed a policy estimated to cut U.S. child poverty nearly in half to expire. And to help us to do just that, Rebecca sat down with two friends and colleagues who have been leading the charge to bring back the expanded child tax credit: Aisha Nyandoro, chief executive officer of Springboard and architect of the Magnolia Mother’s Trust, a guaranteed minimum income experiment in Jackson, Mississippi; and Elisa Minoff, senior policy analyst at the Center for the Study of Social Policy and co-chair of the Automatic Benefit for Children (ABC) Coalition.