I was a sophomore in college in 2009 the first time I learned that a “child allowance” is a thing that exists in the world.

I was getting ready to study Dutch social policy during a summer study abroad program at the University of Amsterdam. To prepare, I was reading up on the country that would be hosting me for the summer, and came across a New York Times Magazine article by Russell Shorto, an American expat living in the Netherlands. He wrote about what it was like to discover a generous European social insurance system through American eyes:


Days before his inauguration, President Biden unveiled the American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion package to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and provide relief to American families. The plan includes a significant expansion of the Child Tax Credit, one of the country’s largest financial benefits for families with children.

This would provide meaningful aid to many American families, particularly those with low incomes. But it could be made even more effective if Biden goes a step further and converts the annual tax credit into a monthly direct payment to support families year-round.

The CTC currently reduces some families’ tax liability by…

Schools have become the leading edge of pandemic politics. As a new school year dawns, so too is the realization that much of the country is in no shape to reopen the schoolhouse gates. That means parents and families will continue to bear the costs of virus containment, and of our collective failure to get the virus under control sooner — costs imposed on their professional lives, their family structure, their social supports, and their children’s wellbeing.

Those costs imposed on families in the name of public health ought to be compensated, in the form monthly checks from the government.

Send 👏 all 👏 families 👏 checks

The United States just enacted the largest fiscal stimulus package in its history in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill will cut $1,200 checks to most Americans, significantly boost unemployment benefits, and offer some $500 billion in aid to businesses.

But it may not be enough to stave off economic catastrophe. Bigger, more innovative government intervention into the economy is going to be needed. And the type of intervention we need is something that even political conservatives ought to be able to learn to love.

The stimulus enacted by Congress last week should provide some…

As the global coronavirus outbreak increasingly engulfs the United States, a mammoth public health crisis is simultaneously breeding a dire economic crisis. A panicked stock market has cratered. Economic activity has ground to a halt as workers and consumers isolate at home. The economy may well slip into recession very soon.

The Trump administration has made some belated gestures at economic aid, including promising millions of borrowers with student loan relief. But the emerging fine print shows that President Trump’s promise of “No Interest on Student Loans” is turning out to be a pointless bait and switch.

Here’s the backstory…

With voting in the 2020 presidential primary beginning in just a few days, many Democrats feel increasingly perplexed when it comes to discerning which candidate’s politics offers the surest path to the White House. Is it Joe Biden’s comforting bid for a third Obama administration term? Or Bernie Sanders’s tent-expanding political revolution? Or Elizabeth Warren’s thoroughly-planned promise of Big Structural Change?

In a time of choosing, it would seem wise to reflect on how Democrats last got themselves out of the political wilderness and back into the White House. …

We could get a decision any day now from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on whether the entire Affordable Care Act has been rendered unconstitutional by the 2017 Republican tax law. While we wait, it’s worth lifting up a novel argument in defense of the ACA offered in court by the insurance lobby: that the individual mandate operated as little more than a set of training wheels to get the law up and running.

The theory behind the latest legal attack on Obamacare is that the law cannot be severed from its allegedly now-unconstitutional individual mandate, which Congress gutted…

Obamacare’s much-besieged individual mandate lived a short, contentious life. Requiring all Americans to purchase health insurance from 2014 through 2018, the mandate survived a direct Supreme Court challenge in 2012 before it even took effect, and then another indirect court attack in 2015. It survived a torrent of repeal attempts by congressional Republicans, only to finally be unceremoniously slain as a budgetary gimmick in the GOP’s 2018 reconciliation tax bill. Rest in peace, individual mandate.

But maybe that’s all wrong. Maybe the individual mandate remains secretly very much alive, in zombified form, coercing unwitting invincibles into the health insurance system…

I’ve written before about the claims that Senator Elizabeth Warren’s proposed wealth tax violates the Constitution. The New York Times’s 1619 Project gives occasion to hone in on the history of slavery lurking in the background of that constitutional debate. Four hundred years after the first slave ships arrived upon American shores, the long arm of American slavery still exerts itself in unexpected ways. Old political compromises made with mass enslavement could even stymy efforts by today’s leaders to remedy economic inequality.

In her campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, Senator Warren has run on a wealth tax on…

At a campaign rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan, last week, President Trump attacked people seeking asylum in the United States. Falsely claiming that they want “amnesty,” Trump mused that asylum-seekers were being coached by immigration lawyers to say “I’m very afraid for my life,” he mocked, adding, “then I look at the guy, he looks like he just got out of the ring, he’s the heavyweight champion of the world.” “It’s a big fat con job,” he lambasted.

From virtually Day One of his presidency, a defining feature of Trump’s tenure has been his war on refugees and asylum-seekers. From

Joel Dodge

public interest attorney. policy thinker. writer. views are my own. bylines various places. @ Queens, NY.

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