Praise for family allowances from Christopher Buskirk, a conservative in The NY Times:
The formula is simple or at least ought to be: Americans should be able to support a family of four, own a home and send their kids to school on a single median wage.
The same paper had a related article today about the huge benefits the stimulus will give to working parents.
The plan establishes the benefit for a single year. But if it becomes permanent, as Democrats intend, it will greatly enlarge the safety net for the poor and the middle class at a time when the volatile modern economy often leaves families moving between those groups. More than 93 percent of children — 69 million — would receive benefits under the plan, at a one-year cost of more than $100 billion.
I hope it can be made permanent, maybe along the more generous lines of the surprisingly progressive Romney plan which also eliminates the onerous work requirements of the TANF program* and the upper middle class SALT deduction tax subsidy*.
As Buskirk mentions, this is a program that will use liberal means, mainly income redistribution, to achieve conservative ends, mainly family stabilization. This is not only good policy, but good politics.
The rising cost of childcare, housing, healthcare, food, and education has led to my generation delaying childbirth. I’m 32, and when I was 22 I fully expected to be a homeowner and father by now. My generation graduated right into the Great Recession and has born the brunt of Covid related job losses and income insecurity. The black single mother interviewed in the second article was an independent non-voter who skipped the presidential election, but voted for both her Democratic senators in the Georgian special election since she wanted her stimulus checks. Buskirk is correct that the party which owns this issue will be the one to win future elections as the great middle class continues to be hallowed out and the Millennial vote becomes the largest share of the electorate.
These private conversations have been instructive. One conservative friend in her late 20s, upon hearing about the Biden plan, told me, “What the heck, I guess I’m a Democrat now.” She was joking about switching parties, but not about her support for the child allowance. Other young Republicans might go the additional step, which would spell doom for Republicans who are already struggling with younger people.
This policy is a win-win for both parties and its even smarter politics for the Democrats. They should hammer out a compromise with Romney and own this issue.
*Romney’s modifications to TANF benefits and SNAP benefits are regressive and hopefully can be hammered away in a compromise to get to 60 votes
*Maintaining the SALT deduction is regressive at present but will probably need to be dropped to get to 60 votes and win the support of NY/NJ representatives in either party