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Press Release

Watered Down Child Benefit Proposal Imposes Earnings Test, Excludes Millions of Children

WASHINGTON -

Utah Senator Mitt Romney’s new child allowance proposal, the Family Security Act 2.0 (FSA2), is characterized as an expansion of the current Child Tax Credit. In a new analysis, CEPR Senior Policy Fellow Shawn Fremstad finds the revised proposal a retreat from Romney’s earlier commitment to disconnect work and childbearing in the same policy.

Instead of expanding support for families with low incomes, the Family Security Act 2.0 proposal adds a $10,000 minimum earnings test. The analysis details how this creates winners and losers compared to current law. 

The earnings test classifies millions of children as undeserving or less deserving because their parents do not earn enough. Furthermore, the proposal continues a discriminatory trend in federal tax law that favors married couples with a dependent, nonemployed adult (typically a dependent wife) over married, dual-earner families and single-parent, single-earner families. 

“The Family Security Act 2.0 is the creation of someone who wants the worst possible outcome for the United States,” said Fremstad. “Romney’s retreat is a reminder that Congressional conservatives remain steadfast in their opposition to a normal child allowance that treats low-income children, single parents, student parents, relative caregivers, and apparently even fetuses fairly.”

No matter what Congress passes, if anything, Fremstad sees the need for a coordinated push to establish inclusive child allowances in states that already have refundable state earned income tax credits.

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The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) was established in 1999 to promote democratic debate on the most important economic and social issues that affect people’s lives. In order for citizens to effectively exercise their voices in a democracy, they should be informed about the problems and choices that they face. CEPR is committed to presenting issues in an accurate and understandable manner, so that the public is better prepared to choose among the various policy options.

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