Barbara Lee and Lucille Roybal-Allard Asked Experts for a Plan to Cut Child Poverty in Half -- Here It Is
Child poverty costs the U.S. $800 billion to $1.1 trillion every year due to increased crime, worsened health, and lower earnings when poor kids become adults. This is according to an exhaustive 600-page report released last week. California Democratic Congresswomen Barbara Lee and Lucille Roybal-Allard were instrumental in Congress funding the National Academy of Sciences' convening of a group of experts to produce the nonpartisan, evidence-based report meant to provide its assessment of the most effective means for reducing child poverty by half in the next 10 years. The committee contends that there is no one approach to reducing it, but it did outline four separate options policymakers could pursue -- two of which would cut child poverty in half in the next decade. One is a “work-based package,” which increases the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), makes the Child Care Tax Credit fully refundable, boosts the minimum wage, and scales up WorkAdvance, a training program “in which program staff work closely with employers to place disadvantaged individuals with moderate job skills into training programs for specific sectors that have a strong demand for local workers.” This plan does the least to reduce child poverty out of the four options, cutting it from 12.6% to 10.2%, and lifting 1.8 million kids out of poverty. It would cost about $9.3 billion per year. The plan that cuts child poverty by half? The “universal supports and work poverty reduction package,” which includes a bigger increase in the EITC, a minimum wage increase to $10.25 per hour, offers various anti-poverty programs to legal immigrants who are currently barred, and includes a child allowance of $2,700 per year, as well as a $1,200 per year publicly funded minimum child support payment for single parents entitled to child support from their former partner. This plan would cost about $111.6 billion per year -- still significantly cheaper than what child poverty costs the country now. Read the full report here.