Jul 19, 2021
Payments of $300 a month to parents of children five and under, and $250 a month for each child age six to 17, were sent out by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on July 15. The IRS estimates that 88% of families with children will qualify for at least some help from the Child Tax Credit program.
As any parent knows, there are as many ways to spend this money as there are children in the U.S. Parents have told interviewers they plan to spend on child care, school supplies, medical care, a bed for their child, diapers, and food.
These payments came out of a temporary change in the previous $2,000 per child federal income tax credit. For one year only, amounts were increased to $3,000 for older kids and $3,600 for kids age five and under.
Instead of getting the money at the time of tax filing in 2022, one half of the money is paid in six monthly installments between July and December 15, 2021. Getting the other half of the money will require filing a federal tax return in 2022.
This temporary expansion represents roughly 6% of the 1.9 trillion-dollar March 2021 COVID-19 Stimulus Package. When added to a temporary food stamps increase, this tiny increase to the social safety net allows over 40% of poor children in the U.S. to experience a few months of their childhood above the federal poverty line—only a few months!
According to the skimpy way the federal government makes calculations, 10 million U.S. children live in poverty. Even with this one-year program, six million children will remain in poverty. What kind of so-called leaders trumpet this as a great expansion of the social safety net?!
How cruel that in the wealthiest country in the world, any child ever is condemned to live below the federal poverty line!
Many may wonder, what is the catch with the $300 monthly payments? The catch is that if you work for a living, this was your money to begin with, since the majority of taxes paid to the IRS come from wages and not from corporate profits—from the tremendous wealth that workers’ labor produces, and companies take.
At the start of 2021, the richest one percent in the U.S. held 32% of U.S. wealth, the highest percentage since this statistic began to be tracked in 1989. The bottom 50% of wage earners were holding only two percent of U.S. wealth.
With all of the pandemic economic packages put into place in 2020 during the first wave of COVID-19, wage earners in the bottom 50% saw a collective 700-billion-dollar boost in household wealth.
But this is a sick joke compared to the amount of extra wealth racked up in just one year by the richest one percent. What was their “share”? The wealthiest one percent saw a 10 trillion dollar increase in new wealth in 2020!
If this same amount had gone equally to every person in the U.S., that would have meant $30,000 dollars each for every man, woman, child and baby!
The federal government knows very well how to help out their true constituency. Ever since the crash of 2008, the Federal Reserve has handed out free money at near zero percent interest rates and has bought up 8.1 trillion dollars in government, mortgage and corporate debt. The Fed is pushing a tsunami of money to the wealthiest one percent! That’s more wealth the working class created, with which the richest get bailed out.
Meanwhile, workers struggle more and more.
Right now, according to the Federal Reserve’s own data, almost 1 out of 4 adults need medical care but can’t afford it. A $400 unexpected expense is beyond what 35% of adults can handle. Young people are drowning in student debt. Yet families are supposed to celebrate a few hundred dollars that could only disappear soon?
Essentially, the government is repackaging workers’ same tax money in a slightly different way, while the Fed hands over the real money for stock market speculation and buying up corporate debt—with a price tag the working class will be expected to pay.
This economic system is upside down, turned on its head, just so that a small group of super billionaires can buy another yacht or go into space on an adventure. It is best to face facts. Until the working class uses the power it has to flip this situation onto its feet, until it organizes, fights, and takes down this rigged system, there will be no end to poverty for an ever-growing part of the population.