January 30, 2019

NOW MAKE THEM OWNERS, NOT RENTERS:

5 anti-poverty plans from 2020 Democratic presidential contenders, explained (Dylan Matthews, Jan 30, 2019, Vox)

So far, rumored and announced candidates have outlined at least five formal proposals designed to direct additional cash to low-income households. These proposals, all co-authored by senators -- Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Sherrod Brown, and Michael Bennet (Rep. Ro Khanna is a co-sponsor on one) -- attempt to do different things: Two would expand the earned income tax credit (EITC), another two offers assistance for rent, and one is a child allowance. But they all have the same overriding objective: improving the lives of low-income Americans.

The press tends to analyze proposals like these in terms of how much they cost, how realistic their passage is, and so on. And while that's important, I had a different question: Which of these plans would do the most to cut poverty in America?

It turns out that a team of researchers at Columbia University's Center on Poverty and Social Policy was asking that question too, and they have the skills to actually answer it. They estimated how much each of these five bills would reduce poverty, deep poverty (measured as the share of people living at or below 50 percent of the poverty line), and child poverty.

The five bills are Harris's LIFT the Middle Class Act and Rent Relief Act; Brown and Khanna's GAIN Act; Booker's HOME Act; and Brown and Bennet's American Family Act. And according to Columbia analysis, all five would significantly cut poverty.

All of them cost a lot -- but they all cost about the same or less than the recent round of Republican tax cuts. All five are more ambitious than any cash proposals during the 2016 primary, or any other Democratic primary I can remember. And in a head-to-head matchup of all five, two plans (surprisingly) stood out as doing the most to reduce poverty at the least cost: bills from Cory Booker and Kamala Harris subsidizing rent for low-income households. [...]

The Rent Relief Act ($93 billion a year), also by Harris, would offer a refundable tax credit to people making $100,000 or less and spending at least 30 percent of their income on rent. The credit would be worth a certain percentage of the difference between their rent (capped at 150 percent of area fair market rent) and 30 percent of their income. For the poorest renters, the credit would cover the full difference; for slightly less poor renters, 75 percent, and so on.

Posted by at January 30, 2019 4:21 AM

  

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