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Losing Child Tax Credit will have a “devastating impact”

Sophie Collyer, research director of Columbia University’s Center on Poverty and Social Policy, spoke with The New Yorker about implications of cutting the Child Tax Credit and what impact it would have of many American families on low incomes.

“We found that 3.7 million more children are in poverty as a result of rolling back the child tax credit between December and January. One very interesting aspect of the CTC program is that it’s cash-based. So many social policies and social programs in the United States consist of in-kind transfers—housing subsidies, food stamps—and they’re infrequently cash. But with this you saw families receiving a cash payment, and cash is fungible. In one month, you might need it to fill in a food budget, but for the next month, it might be used to fix a car. Another month, it might help with child care. That flexibility is also something that comes out of the data, with families using it to meet needs that vary from month to month.

“I think policymakers right now know that they have a lever at their hands that, if pulled, would move millions of children out of poverty. I think that the pandemic also over all has revealed how effective policy can be at stabilizing family income. We did not see a sharp rise in the poverty rate in 2020, and I don’t think anybody in March of 2020 thought that would be the case. Every family experienced a lot of financial strain, but it also revealed that policies can be effective at least at keeping people out of poverty,” she concluded.

Read the full interview here






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