Should the United States Expand the Child Tax Credit?

July 18, 2014

Reihan Salam of National Review argues that Republicans should support the expansion of the child tax credit, contending that the policy would garner more political support than would cutting taxes on high earners.

Salam writes that the GOP should focus on what he calls family-friendly tax reform, saying that calls for a broad consumption tax or corporate tax reform are unlikely to be as compelling to voters as expanding the child tax credit for middle-income families. Salam identifies what he sees as the political benefits of raising the child tax credit:

  • Expanding the credit could have a large impact on after-tax incomes for middle-class households, particularly in swing states.
  • Latino and Asian households are more likely to be composed of married couples with children than are other households in the United States. Expanding the child tax credit could appeal to those voters.
  • A survey of American women by the YG Network found that 78 percent supported expanding the child tax credit.

But not everyone is on board with Salam's proposal. Ben Domenech at the Federalist writes that there are other policy tools that would be far more impactful than the child tax credit, such as broad-based tax cuts or abolishing the payroll tax. If families want to have children but feel that a child is too much of a financial burden, Domenech writes, a more limited policy solution would be to peel back those government-imposed burdens, not expand an entitlement that subsidizes one group. Reforming the tax code to lower burdens on all Americans, he writes, should be the goal of tax reform.

Source: Reihan Salam, "How Expanding the Child Credit Can Help Conservatives Achieve Their Goal," National Review Online, June 22, 2014; Ben Domenech, "Should The Government Define The American Dream?" Federalist, June 10, 2014.

 

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