The tragedy of the expanded child tax credit


That’s why the expansion has struck fear into the hearts of Republican leaders like McConnell. But it turned out that the Kentucky Republican had an ally across the aisle, at least on this issue: West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin. Manchin led a one man war against the CLC, a months-long campaign during which he made various demands of fellow Democrats, then pulled the rug out from under them once these requests have been met. It didn’t matter to Manchin that the end of the expanded CTC fell heavily on his own constituentsnor that his supposedly sincere concerns– that the extended credit would lead the beneficiaries to abandon the labor market – were not supported by proof.

And so what the expanded CLC had done was very quickly undone. Like The Washington Postis Jeff Stein badly rated in Marchthree months after it expired, nearly four million children had been “pushed back into poverty”, the child poverty rate had risen by more than 40%, and any momentum behind reviving the measure had died.

Voters seem ready to punish Democrats for it: as The morning consultationis Eli Yokley reported a month ago, “Voters who received expanded child tax credit payments in 2021 ended the year more likely than not to back Democratic congressional candidates in this year’s midterm elections.” But by April, those voters had swung behind the Republicans. As Yokley noted, “The GOP’s narrow advantage in this group contrasts with the Democrats’ lead of 12 percentage points in late December, before the advantage expired.”

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