I support the Child Tax Credit.

I do not support means testing, and especially don't support it at the 50K level.

Perhaps 50K per child.

I was raised in a big family (4 kids), I have a big family (5 kids, 2 step-kids), and I can tell you that most means testing does a piss poor job of calculating things.

I suppose bitching about it won't do much good, but as a conservative leaning swing voter (no on Trump, yes on Romney), this issue is one that would drive me to vote Democrat.

I wish I was a majority among us swing voters, but I doubt I am.

I get the encourage people to do the work thing... I do. I believe work is essential to self-worth. I think that overly generous unemployment or welfare for adults is counter-productive... however

Children aren't their parents. Its not a child's fault for their parents decisions. As a society we have an obligation to take care of children, and ensure they have what they need to become productive members of society.

Furthermore, there is nothing more conservative than encouraging family.

Then again... this is just a rant among people who agree...

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I've just been shor-pilled.

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What strikes me is how little difference there is between means testing with a threshold of $150k and no means testing at all. It doesn't really make any sense on paper to introduce a means test to withhold benefits from ~10% of the population and introduce an administrative burden for the eligible 90%, and the public seems to agree.

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I don't see why Democrats feel such an intense need to pass everything on the list this year. Rather than cut all of their reconciliation items by 60% and half ass everything, wouldn't it be better to pick a priority (climate change? anti-poverty? seniors?) and put everything you want in there offset by a 25% corporate tax rate?

I just feel like that would be easier to message and better policy than whatever they are doing now. Presumably Democrats will win another election in the future, maybe even by better margins, and can then go back and do 2 year community college or whatever.

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Just want to say I love the guest authored posts!

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I don’t understand why the payments can’t just be universal initially, and then have them clawed back when you do your tax return if your above a certain income threshold. You could give people the option to “opt out” of receiving the payments in advance if they think it’s going to be clawed back anyway, which would be equivalent to just withholding 100%. Then if they ended up being eligible, it would flow through in their YE tax refund.

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Apart from my objection on principle to creating administrative burden for working-class people, I worry that a program means-tested such that middle-class people aren't eligible will be subject to lots of memorable stories about cheaters. Not even urban-legend-written-up-in-the-press stuff, so much as people getting the vague sense that a specific neighbor who has a nicer car than they "should", or a cousin who they've always thought is a bum, is getting the tax credit without deserving it. Then Republicans, or even Democrats, will respond to that popular anger by piling on the administrative burden instead of expanding the credit. I think that kind of thing is hard to poll effectively, because it's hard for people to predict how much they'll be swayed by emotion in a theoretical situation. I'll admit Republicans voting to expand the CTC for middle-class families in the tax cuts bill suggests they may break the right way even in this scenario, but my fear is if you have the cognitive dissonance of "this is for the needy, but people who I don't think are needy are getting it", it's a way easier jump to "let's make it harder to get" than to "maybe the less-needy should get it too".

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I find it very frustrating that Americans don't support more generous programs. We are out own worst enemy in so many ways.

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So, you’ve convinced me a means tested CTC is more popular right now. However, it may be the case that a universal (or closer to universal) CTC will be more popular in the long run after it is enacted.

As middle class people start receiving the credit, seeing its benefits, and taking it for granted, I think the politics might shift and make it more popular than it polls right now. Even those without minor children will see how it benefits friends and family with minor children, and they too would become lore supportive.

Plus, I think a broader program will be much more politically difficult for Republicans to repeal, because more people will be so materially invested in it that they’ll be willing to change their vote over this issue alone. Whereas, even if a highly mean tested CTC is Kyle popular, it will not have a huge constituency who will fight for it to that extent: fewer people will benefit from it and the beneficiaries will be the poor, who are politically disorganized and not viewed sympathetically by GOP politicians.

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Not all support is created equal. Passion also matters. Supporting a policy has no electoral

importance unless it changes voting behavior. I strongly suspect that the effect on the voting behavior of parents who lose benefits to means testing would be stronger than the effect on non-parents who support sharper means testing. Increasing net support by 9 points is good, but if you really piss off 6% of the population while making 11% slightly more comfortable with the program, that isn’t really a win.

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This kind of motivated reasoning is why democrats lose elections. We have a 50/50 issue where people losing benefits will clearly care more than everyone else.

What is the expected % of childless, cross-over voters that will even know what the CTC threshold is on election day?

What is the expected % of parents who lose CTC that will know what the threshold is?

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How is affirmative action so widespread, given that it's so unpopular?

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I would love to know if there's a constituency for making it easier to access benefits under the guise of relieving administrative burden. Like, make CTC universal and have the gov't do your taxes for you to make life a little easier and less cumbersome

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There are two problems with this argument.

First, there is the principle of solidarity. The child tax credit needs to support and strengthen the idea that we are all in a community together, that all our children are important. Means-testing works against that. It sends the idea that children with well-off parents don’t really belong to the community, that they aren't worthy of help. Even if the credit is mostly taxed away, even if it’s worth only a few thousand dollars, it’s very important that the credit be universal for all children. I would happily see the Walton grandchildren get child tax credits just for that reason.

Second, the concentrated financial burden of raising children can be a strain even for well-off parents. Like Social Security, the child tax credit is inherently designed to redistribute funds between people in different phases of life. Older people help parents, who then grow into older people who help other parents. Parents put in a lot of work and care to ensure that there is a new generation to support older people. Social policy should give help and recognition for that.

This all goes beyond the (I would say, “narrow”) progressive goal of “ending childhood poverty” but has much broader benefits and strengthens our society up and down the scale, whereas the means-tested version almost certainly will do the opposite.

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>>Democrats’ $3.5 trillion reconciliation proposal is almost certainly going to shrink — and possibly shrink a lot<<

At this point, such a sentence to my ears sounds positively optimistic. So, do Bazelon/Shor believe a (smaller) reconciliation bill actually will get to Biden's desk?

I also wonder about the prospects for the beefed up ACA credits provision. That's one I'd like to see survive.

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Unless you somehow get sinema to change her vote, it seems like this is all just talk. Or Joe isn’t the Democratic Party and you guys had no intention of doing anything he said. Zero tax increases with big spending is the plan?

Heck, if it wasn’t for trump, we wouldn’t have gotten any stimulus, Dems wouldn’t have won the senate, and you guys could still be pretending that it’s republicans at fault.

But it’s like Trump. You have to get the politicians telling the right lies. That’s the first step.

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