COVID-19 Watch: Tracking Hardship, December 2, 2022


December 2, 2022

COVID-19 Hardship

December 2, 2022 

The no relief for corporations unless we help families edition. Congress has returned for its lame-duck session, and corporate lobbyists are frantically pressuring members to approve business tax breaks before they leave later this month. But families and human needs advocates are telling their Senators that expanding the Child Tax Credit (CTC) must be a priority in any year-end tax package. In particular, advocates are insisting on full refundability for the CTC so that 19 million children in low-income families across the U.S. are not excluded from receiving all or any of the current $2,000 per-child CTC. 

Child poverty is not inevitable; it is a policy choice.  In 2021, when Congress expanded the CTC as part of the historic American Rescue Plan, it chose to reduce poverty to a record low. But when Congress allowed the CTC expansion to expire one year ago, it chose to allow child poverty to once again rise to unconscionable levels. And as is the case with so many things pandemic-related, this choice by Congress has a disproportionate racial impact. Children of color, for example, are disproportionately excluded from receiving the full CTC under current law. 

As you will read in this newsletter, parents overwhelmingly favor expanding the CTC – both Democrats and Republicans. And these parents are struggling – almost one in seven families with children report sometimes or often not having enough to eat in the previous seven days, according to the latest U.S. Census Household Pulse Survey data. Shockingly, almost half of families with children report having trouble meeting usual household expenses during the previous week. 

You can help us hold Congress accountable.  Our friends at MomsRising have set up both a hotline and a text message system, Call 1-888-496-4842 or text CTCNow to 747464. Our message is simple. No tax breaks for big business unless families get a break as well. 




Largely because of the expanded Child Tax Credit, the child poverty rate in 2021 fell to 5.2 percent, the lowest rate ever, according to a new report released this week. Making the CTC fully refundable was the primary reason for the reduction in poverty. Tweet this.


5.3 million/ 


In 2021, the expanded Child Tax Credit kept 5.3 million people above the poverty line. But when Congress allowed the CTC expansion to expire, child poverty rose by more than 40 percent and the number of people with children who did not always have enough to eat increased by 25 percent. Tweet this.



A number of studies have found that Child Tax Credit payments have no discernible impact on employment trends. These findings wholeheartedly refute claims by opponents of CTC expansion that the monthly payments somehow discouraged parents from working. Tweet this.


19 million 

Under current law, 19 million children in families with the lowest incomes are excluded from some or all of the full Child Tax Credit. For example, a single parent earning $15,000 with two children can only receive $1,875 from the current CTC, while married parents earning $400,000 receive the full $4,000. Tweet this.



Eighty-five percent of parents with children ages 0-3 say it is important for Congress to reinstate the expanded Child Tax Credit and nearly 75 percent say Congress should not pass any more tax breaks for corporations unless it acts to extend the CTC expansion. That’s according to a new poll released this week by the children’s advocacy group Zero to Three. Tweet this.



That same poll found that opposition to extending tax breaks to corporations unless the Child Tax Credit is expanded is bipartisan. Eighty-five percent of parents who voted for a Democrat in 2022 oppose giving big business a break unless families get a break, along with 67 percent of parents who voted for a Republican in 2022.



According to the latest Household Pulse Survey data, collected November 2-14 and released this week, 13.7 percent of people with children sometimes or often did not have enough to eat within the previous seven days. Overall, 11 percent of all people said their households did not have enough to eat; among Blacks, it was 16.9 percent; among Hispanic/Latinos, 16.2 percent; among Whites, 8.7 percent; and among Asians, 7.2 percent.




That same data showed that a whopping 39.5 percent of households found it difficult to meet usual household expenses during the previous seven days. Among households with children, it was 46.2 percent; among Hispanic/Latinos, 51 percent; among Blacks, 47.3 percent; among Whites, 35.1 percent; and among Asians, 30.2 percent.


Nearly 9 in 10 

Today, nearly nine in 10 COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. involve people 65 or older – the highest such rate during the pandemic. Some attribute the high rate to a national booster campaign that is less than robust, and to the failure of governments to require masks in health care settings and nursing homes.




In October, people 85 and older accounted for 41.4 percent of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S.; people 75 to 84 made up 30 percent of deaths; and those 65 to 74 represented 17.5 percent of deaths. People 65 and older altogether accounted for 90 percent of COVID-19 deaths. But this age group makes up only 16 percent of the U.S. population.