A Senate subcommittee hearing on post-pandemic child care was held last week, featuring experts who detailed how little is being done to protect children from hunger, poverty, crime, poor health outcomes, and death.
One of the experts was Kathryn Anne Edwards, a labor economist. When pretend-folksy elitist Republican Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana had his chance to question the panel, he made a big show out of that familiar conservative talking point: We’d love to help, but how will we ever pay for it? He directed the question at Edwards, who gave him a heavy-duty dose of reality:
”The majority of federal revenue comes from taxes, so if you need more money, you'll have to raise taxes. I'll remind you, sir, that we have had two massive trillion-dollar tax cuts in the past 20 years, and they have done nothing to make child care more affordable. They have done nothing to help the casualty in property insurance that you were talking about today.
They have not been invested in children. We have not seen that return. I mean, the 2001 tax cuts have now had 22 years to prove that they could solve the social issues that you and your fellow senators say are a priority. And I don't think we could point to evidence to say that they have worked. I would love for you to give child care 20 years.
I would love for you to say, ‘Let's take two decades of runway, invest it in young children, and see what kind of return that I could get.’ But we've never given children or the child care sector as much runway as we've given taxes. And I'll remind you that the estate tax exemption right now is $13 million.”
In response, Kennedy half-heartedly said, “Well, let me say thank you for the honest answer—raise taxes.” He then attempted to pretend he hadn’t just taken the biggest L in recent subcommittee hearing memory.
The Republican Party has had one single policy remedy that they have successfully enacted a few times over the past 40-odd years: tax breaks benefiting the wealthiest Americans. Their newest policy offers are the same—more corporate welfare in the form of tax breaks for the rich. The results are clear to everyone besides the top 1%.
Sign the petition: Child poverty has doubled. Restore the child tax credit.