Biden claims his $1.9 trillion Covid relief plan will cut child poverty in half — here's how

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  • President Joe Biden said a $1.9 trillion Covid relief plan would cut child poverty in half. That would be the largest reduction in recent history, economists said.
  • Poverty experts think the claim is reasonable and perhaps even understated.
  • The plan targets much of the relief to families with children, including $1,400 stimulus checks and an expanded child tax credit.

President Joe Biden in a speech last week said his $1.9 trillion Covid relief plan would lift 5 million kids from the ranks of the poor and cut the child poverty rate in half.

That would be the biggest child-poverty reduction in recent history, according to some experts who study the social safety net. But its scope isn’t far-fetched and may prove even more substantial if Biden’s plan is fully enacted, they said.

Overall, the plan — which includes additional stimulus checks, tax breaks and enhanced unemployment benefits — may have the greatest impact on Black and Hispanic families.

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“This seems reasonable,” Chloe East, an assistant professor of economics at the University of Colorado, said of the analysis. “If all these things Biden proposed passed, we might expect [poverty reduction] to be even larger.”

However, parts of Biden’s agenda would be temporary, potentially diluting those poverty-reduction benefits in the long run. Some conservative economists say the plan, especially aspects like a higher minimum wage and changes to the child tax credit — would actually increase poverty over the long term.

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