•Press Release Economic Policy Health and Social Programs Inequality Poverty United States
Washington DC — When a family lives paycheck-to-paycheck they are vulnerable to income “shocks” caused by unstable or unreliable work hours. Food, housing, and other family benefits that can help stabilize families when income is precarious are part of the Build Back Better (BBB) Act now being debated in Congress.
This new article, published today by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), examines the past effectiveness of three types of family benefit programs when it comes to buffering families from unstable or unreliable work hours, especially among Black and Hispanic children. Measuring past effectiveness of in-kind benefits, cash benefits, and annual lump sum tax credits will help gauge the effectiveness of policies in the proposed and final BBB Act.
CEPR researchers Julie Cai and Algernon Austin find that, in the past:
To reduce both poverty and month-to-month income and earnings volatility among families with children, the United States should adopt a universal child allowance that provides a monthly per-child benefit to all families in a way that minimizes administrative burdens and stigma, universal childcare assistance, and expanded housing assistance so that all currently eligible families actually get it. The Senate should strengthen all three of these important provisions when it takes up the BBB Act later this month.