Robert Kuttner in American Prospect:
For several decades, child advocates have tried to bring more public indignation to the scandal of extreme child poverty, and have pushed for the expansion of the Child Tax Credit. In recent years, some progressives have called for something that seemed even more utopian, a universal basic income.
Well, gentle reader, we just got both. And the brilliance is in the details.
The credit, which is really a family allowance run through the IRS, provides $3,000 a year for each child under 18, topped up to $3,600 for kids under six. So a family with three kids gets almost $10,000. As a point of reference, the average income of the bottom 20 percent of American households is about $14,000.
The new Child Tax Credit will cut the rate of child poverty in half, and will raise the total incomes of the bottom fifth of American families by 33 percent. I never expected to see something like this in my lifetime.