Opinion: Building back better is our best chance to help low-income Americans cope with rising inflation


Prices increased by 6.8% since November 2020, the highest annual rate of the last 39 years old. While there has been some relief in gasoline and home energy prices in recent weeks, the prices of other goods and services continue to rise rapidly. And according to a recent Gallup poll71% of households with incomes below $ 40,000 experience financial hardship due to inflation, while only 29% of families with incomes over $ 100,000 reported similar hardships.

While there is no specific program to help low-income families adjust to high inflation, the Build Back Better bill, the large welfare and energy bill envisioned by Congress, is our best chance to help low-income families cope with rising prices and the lingering economic pain associated with the pandemic.

One of the most significant changes is that the bill would extend the increases in the child tax credit that the US bailout put in place earlier this year. The loss of these funds, which currently expire at the end of the month, would be devastating for millions of low-income families and make it much more difficult for them to cope with rising prices.
About 91% of families with incomes below $ 35,000, according to a recent analysis of Census Bureau data by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, said they used their extended child tax credit payments for basic expenses like food, clothing, shelter and utilities. And 40% of those families used their payments to cover education costs, like textbooks and supplies, school fees, and after-school programs.
While the Build Back Better bill would only extend the expanded child tax credit by one year for many families, it would still provide the much needed relief to Americans struggling with inflation and pave the way for new ones. extensions. It would also reduce child poverty in the country about 40%.
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The bill includes other investments that would support low-income working families, including providing a free preschool for all 3- and 4-year-olds and extending the income tax credit. earned for low-income workers who do not raise children at home. The bill would also provide four weeks of paid family and medical leave, expand access to medical care, increase the number of housing vouchers and increase the maximum Pell grant for low-income students.

We are increasingly becoming a nation of those who can handle economic uncertainty without sacrifice and those who cannot. Passing the Build Back Better bill would send a strong message to working low-income families that the government wants to help them protect them from rising prices and maintain their ability to pay rent and go to the doctor. .

Some might argue that the government cannot afford to provide these benefits. But the reality is, we cannot afford to let down families who are suffering due to economic factors that are beyond their control.


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