The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Child Poverty Is a Sign of a Decrepit System

Sep 18, 2023

The U.S. Census Bureau recently said that the child poverty rate more than doubled between 2021 and 2022, from 5.2% to 12.4%. It was the largest one-year increase on record. That amounts to 5.1 million more children pushed into poverty.

The reason for the increase is mainly that the politicians decided to end the one-year expansion of the Child Tax Credit they had allowed during the Covid pandemic.

Some liberal commentators point out that it would have only cost 105 billion dollars per year to keep the expanded tax credit in place, a relatively small amount compared with the cost of Social Security and Medicare. They don’t even mention the nearly trillion dollars spent on the military every year.

They point out that experience with other spending on programs to assist the poor, like food stamps and Medicaid, have been shown to be “highly cost-effective,” in that recipients of those programs tend to be healthier, more educated, and require less government assistance later on.

While all this is true, it begs the question of why there is so much poverty in the first place, in one of the wealthiest countries on the face of the earth. Though anti-poverty programs might be “cost-effective,” there’s always the issue of who’s paying the costs.

In this country especially, the working class pays a disproportionate share of its income in taxes, while the very wealthy and the corporations take advantage of all kinds of tax breaks.

Here’s an idea: Workers have the power to get together and force bosses to pay higher wages so people can stay out of poverty altogether. Make the bosses provide funding for everyone to get an education, including the working class and the poor of today.

When the politicians decide to end a tax cut or program that benefits the poor, it’s not out of ignorance. It’s because in the end, the politicians of both parties serve the ruling class. To put an end to poverty, the working class can organize to fight for what it needs.