Wednesday, 14 January 2015 19:21

Help Poor Children with Money

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In today’s article Michael Omidi writes about potential government solutions to our nation’s problem with children in poverty. It may seem an overly simplistic solution to a complex problem, but poor people have essentially one problem, a lack of money. A couple pieces of legislation poor families have been helped greatly by, the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit, are set to expire in 2017. Republicans are mostly opposed to these credits, but President Obama has threatened to veto any bill that excludes the two credits. Many leaders from both ends of the political spectrum are in favor of tax reform. Whatever you think of the tax credits, they are our most effective tool for lifting children from poverty. Combined, they have helped to raise 5 million children out of poverty and helped an additional 8.8 million youngsters who live just above the poverty line. Unless other programs are put in place, removing these credits would push 7.7 million children deeper into poverty.

Are There Other Options?

It is just plain wrong to have nearly 10 million of our nation’s children living in poverty while our productivity and wealth steadily increases. Our nation has the capacity to help, but with gridlock in the government, not much will get accomplished. Cash allowances could be used in place of these credits. Families would receive a set amount of money weekly or monthly, depending on how many children they have. This may sound a bit crazy in a nation that can’t even design tax credits that require recipients to work, but these types of programs are not new. They have existed in Europe for decades. Brazil and Mexico also use them to combat extreme poverty. The trend toward tax credits since the mid-1990s has created a shift of benefits away from the out-of-work poor to the working poor. One example is when Aid to Families with Dependent Children was replaced by Temporary Assistance to Needy Families in 1996. The new aid has stricter working requirements and far less cash assistance. As a result, the percentage of children living in deep poverty has increased faster than the percentage of children in poverty overall. The poor are getting poorer! These guaranteed income allowances would reach many more poor people than the Child Tax Credit currently does. It only has an 80 percent participation rate. The United Kingdom’s 70-year-old allowance program has a 96 percent participation rate. That program makes sense, mainly because it is easier for poor people to take advantage of it. The bottom line is, how are we going to help the less fortunate? Without programs in place to catch those who fall, our whole society suffers. Our nation has had a serious problem with job creation over the last several years. Requiring those who receive government assistance to work excludes those who are worst off. You can’t work if there aren’t enough jobs available. Yours in health, Michael Omidi The Omidi brothers, Julian Omidi and Michael Omidi, along with their mother, Cindy Omidi, are founders of several charities dedicated to making the world a better place.
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