Mitt Romney’s Family Security Act is the closest policy to a universal child allowance proposed in the US
Our new paper shows how the budget-neutral policy would reduce poverty and inequality, and simplify the tax and benefit system
Last Friday, Senator Mitt Romney introduced the Family Security Act, a comprehensive, budget-neutral reform to the tax and benefit system that would, for the first time, send monthly payments to every parent in America. The heart of the program is a child allowance of $350 per month for children under age 6, and $250 per month for children age 6 to 17. It would cut child poverty by a third, streamline benefits for low-income children, and make our tax code simpler and more progressive.
Our new paper on the Family Security Act describes its inner workings (it affects seven existing programs, and creates two new ones), poverty impacts, taxation effects, how it may affect labor supply, and how children would benefit.
This paper leverages research from the Niskanen Center and tools from the Policy Simulation Library, and builds on our simulations of child allowance policies and summaries of empirical research on cash transfers for children. The academic literature is clear: child poverty causes myriad social ills, from physical and mental health disorders to educational disparities to long-term income losses. That makes the Family Security Act a major investment in our future.
As a budget-neutral measure, Congress could make the Family Security Act permanent policy through budget reconciliation. Doing so would lift millions of children out of poverty, cut inequality, and build a more durable, progressive foundation of antipoverty policy. The momentum around child benefits bodes well for action on this front, and the Family Security Act takes this to a new level. We’re proud to join other antipoverty organizations in urging Congress to pass it.