Under Biden and Romney’s incentive plans, an approach to helping families

“We used to think that the more complex things are, the better they are targeted,” said Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, a Northwest economist who studied social welfare systems. “Over the last 20 years, we’ve learned that the more complex things are, the more likely people in the worst are to drop out.”

If American parents were to receive monthly deposits, they would be very aware of them – which could make the programs more popular and politically lasting. Currently, for example, Social Security is very popular, despite having progressive features that favor lower-income Americans. (Namely, Mr. Romney’s proposal to distribute child benefit from mid-pregnancy onwards to the Social Security Administration instead of the tax system.)

In addition, under both plans, far more people would be entitled to checks than they would receive under the current child benefit. Among them, there would be parents of 27 million children (parents who do not earn enough to be eligible for the current child tax credit), including parents of about half of all black and Latin children. It would also include wealthy people – in Mr. Romney’s plan, all parents will receive checks and couples expecting an income of over $ 400,000 are expected to repay some or all of the tax.

“It would be tangible and noticeable, and I think it will do all it good to make it politically sustainable,” said Chuck Marr, senior director of federal tax policy at the Center for Budget and Political Priorities. “Society recognizes that children are expensive.”

Finally, the Biden and Romney plans would eliminate most of the work requirements associated with family care and make them available to both parents who remain at home and those who pay for childcare.

For parents of school-age children, the benefit of $ 3,000 a year would not be large enough to replace work. But acknowledging that children need financial support, regardless of their parents ’employment status. Mr Romney’s plan emphasizes this idea by changing one of the main benefits for poorer families, the earned income credit. It now mostly supports low-income working parents, but the new plan would repeal the child benefit on credit, focusing primarily on rewarding work, regardless of parental status.

“It’s a real departure, and I think it’s a realization that it’s not your child’s fault if you don’t work, and most certainly your child will suffer if they don’t have an income,” said Elaine Maag, who studies low-income family tax policies and programs at the Urban Institute -in.