The amount the United States invests in children is low compared to other developed countries — with little to no supports at all for helping people with childcare, pre-K, or paid family leave. But during the summer of 2021, America broadened its support to families.
“We need to find a way to create jobs that not only guarantee people enough hours and security, but also promote something more that would provide long-term support for families,” says Maag.
Listen: What happened to the expanded Child Tax Credit and will it return.
Elaine Maag is a senior fellow in the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center at the Urban Institute, where she studies income support programs for low-income families and children. She says if the expanded Child Tax Credit remained in place, the program would pay for itself in the economic development later on.
“Some economists have estimated,” says Maag, “that for every $1 you invest in a low-income child, you’re going to get $8 back later on.”
Rachel Richards is the fiscal policy director for the Michigan League for Public Policy, an institute dedicated to economic opportunity for all. She says Governor Gretchen Whitmer has recommended a $100 supplemental pay for children under the age of 6, adding there are many other ways to help kids in the state.
“We can also see improvements,” says Richards, “in helping ensure access to safe and affordable housing, healthy food and clean water could really improve lives of Michiganders and especially Michiganders with low incomes.”