by Joseph Coletti
Senior Fellow, Fiscal Studies, John Locke Foundation
For some people, there is never enough money. A writer for a policy group on the left grouses this time about the paltriness of federal payments to taxpayers by deliberately understating the amount of money a family could receive and overstating the costs to be borne.
Some money is better than no money, but $1,200 doesn’t go as far as some think it might: A month’s rent, maybe. Less than a month’s worth of child care for two kids. About two weeks’ worth of groceries for a family of four.
If you have two children and are a single parent, you will receive $2,200 ($1,200 per taxpayer and $500 per child). I’m not sure where the writer does her grocery shopping or what she buys for $31,200 a year ($1,200 x 26), but we feed a family of four on not much more than $700 in a month, including an occasional meal out. On top of that, a family of four would receive $2,700 for a single parent with three children or $3,400 for two parents and two children.
To highlight unfairness in the tax code that carries over to the payments, she could have looked to the definition of a child as someone under the age of 17 and the ineligibility of college students and other adult dependents, including elderly parents, for either the $500 or the $1,200 payment. Estimates are that this group includes 21 million people. Even at $1,200 per person, the additional cost would have been $25 billion, or only 1,000 times more than the Kennedy Center will receive.