Hillary Clinton’s proposed changes to the Child Tax Credit (CTC) would help poor and middle class families, especially those with young children. Although important design challenges remain, in broad terms the plan is a positive step towards reducing income inequality.
Our nation’s middle class has not fared well in recent decades and those at the bottom of the ladder have fared the worst of all. Although the latest Census data show that the average family’s income rose sharply between 2014-2015 and that the gains disproportionately benefitted those at the bottom of the ladder, inflation-adjusted incomes still have not recovered to the levels achieved before the last recession or even to the levels achieved in the late 1990s. Although there are many reasons why most families are struggling, the most important by far is the lack of good jobs, a problem that is especially serious for those without the skills needed to find such jobs in a knowledge-based economy.