Skip to main content

Why are the billionaires laughing?

It’s easy to laugh when the corporate press treats you as a glorious success instead of the epitome of a broken social order. Billionaires laugh because they know the corporate media prefers to fawn over them rather than hold them to account.

Today, we ask you to support our nonprofit, independent journalism because we are not impressed by billionaires flying into space, their corporations despoiling our health and planet, or their vast fortunes safely concealed in tax havens across the globe. We are not laughing.

We are hard at work producing journalism for the common good. With our Fall Campaign underway, please support this mission today. We cannot do it without you.

Support Our Work -- Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Every donation—large or small—helps us bring you the news that matters.

A single mother plays with her young sons outside their family home. (Photo: Stock/Getty Images)

Making permanent the expansion of the child tax credit would "dramatically reduce childhood poverty in the United States," a group of over 400 economists wrote congressional leaders (Photo: Stock/Getty Images) 

400+ Economists Press Congress to Permanently Expand Child Tax Credit

Such an expansion would "dramatically reduce childhood poverty in the United States," they said.

Andrea Germanos

A group of over 400 economists on Wednesday sent a letter to congressional leaders calling for the expanded child tax credit to be made permanent, citing "potential tremendous immediate and long-term benefits for children and their families."

The America Recovery Plan, prompted by the pandemic, expanded the child tax credit (CTC), first enacted over two decades ago. In addition to boosting the amount of the credit to up to $3,600 for parents of younger children, it advanced half of the credit ahead of tax-filing time.

The third round of payments from the CTC hit bank accounts this week, with parents of eligible children under age 6 receiving $300 per child, and those of kids aged 6 to 17 receiving $250 per child. The payments have already been shown to have a positive impact by helping families with household expenses, including being able to put enough food on the table.

That economic aid has been especially crucial because "childhood poverty is a staggering problem in the United States, affecting approximately one in seven children, and one in five children of color, even before the Covid-19 pandemic began," the economists wrote in their letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

As it stands now, eligible families—a couple making $150,000 or a single head of household making $112,500—are on track to receive just three more rounds of checks this year. But the letter's signatories, including Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz and inequality expert Emmanuel Saez, pointed to four broad areas to argue for making the CTC permanent, including that it would "dramatically reduce childhood poverty in the United States."

Such an expansion, the economists wrote, would also bring about "a long-term fiscal payoff," since "reducing child poverty has a positive effect on earnings in adulthood." And because families' health would improve, government medical expenditures for those receiving the aid would drop.

In fact, the letter added, "once the full effects of the CTC expansion are accounted for, the net cost to taxpayers of the expansion has been estimated to be as little as approximately 16 cents for every $1 of new benefits."

The economists also rejected the argument that making the CTC permanent would remove incentives to work, noting in part that because "the expanded CTC amount would not phase out until high levels of earnings... most families would not see their CTC amount decline if their income rises."

There's also evidence the payments are simply being used to meet basic needs, the letter said. "With the first monthly payments of the temporary CTC expansion in the United States," the letter noted, "families increased spending on food, clothes, utilities, [and] school supplies, and reduced debt, and food insecurity declined dramatically."

House Democrats, meanwhile, have proposed continuing the CTC aid through 2025. The outcome of that push, however, remains uncertain, as it would be part of the reconciliation bill, which needs support from all Democrats to pass. 


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

'The Facebook Papers' Spur More Calls to 'Break Them Up!'

Other critics are demanding a "full, independent, outside investigation" of the tech titan as whistleblower Frances Haugen testifies to the U.K. Parliament.

Jessica Corbett ·


Critics See Menendez Villainy Equal to Sinema's on Medicare Drug Pricing Fight

"It's discouraging to see Sen. Menendez is on the wrong side of this fight rather than leading the charge for more affordable, accessible healthcare for all."

Brett Wilkins ·


Humanity 'Way Off Track': WMO Says Atmospheric Carbon at Level Unseen in 3 Million Years

The new report has "a stark, scientific message for climate change negotiators at COP 26," said the head of the World Meteorological Organization.

Andrea Germanos ·


Any Lawmaker Involved in Planning Jan. 6 Insurrection 'Must Be Expelled,' Says AOC

Organizers of the deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol say that several congressional Republicans and White House officials helped plan former President Donald Trump's coup attempt.

Kenny Stancil ·


Profits Before People: 'The Facebook Papers' Expose Tech Giant Greed

"This industry is rotten at its core," said one critic, "and the clearest proof of that is what it's doing to our children."

Jon Queally ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo