Shaefer in The American Prospect: Fighting child poverty with universal child allowance

April 20, 2017

Luke Shaefer's article, co-authored with David Harris, “Fighting child poverty with a universal child allowance,” is featured in the spring 2017 edition of The American Prospect magazine.

“Most developed countries provide cash to families with children, recognizing that raising kids costs money and society benefits as a whole when it is done well,” Shaefer writes. While the United States does provide a child tax credit, eligibility is tied to earnings, leaving behind families who have little to no income.

Shaefer argues that making the child tax credit universal – turning it into a universal monthly allowance – is a solution that both sides of the political aisle could get behind.

“Already in 2017, Senators Mike Lee and Marco Rubio have reiterated their call for an increase in the CTC,” Shaefer writes. Senators Michael Bennet and Sherrod Brown and Representatives Rosa DeLauro, Nancy Pelosi, and Richard Neal have all proposed variations on expanding the child tax credit as well.

“If changes to the tax code become a major focus of Congress in the months ahead, there’s no substantive reason the child’s allowance shouldn’t be part of the debate,” Shaefer says. “That would be great news for all of America’s families.”

H. Luke Shaefer is an associate professor of social work and public policy and director of Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan. His research focuses on the effectiveness of the United States social safety net in serving low-wage workers and economically disadvantaged families. Shaefer is co-author (with Kathryn J. Edin) of the book $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America.