Or as some asshole with a blog put it recently, “Give People Nice Things and Let Them See You Do It.” Instead of difficult to understand tax credits that no one realizes they’re getting, directly give them checks instead (boldface mine):
Senior Democratic lawmakers are moving to fulfill President Biden’s desire to expand the child tax credit by drafting legislation that would direct the IRS to send recurring monthly payments to tens of millions of American families, according to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share knowledge of the internal discussion.
Under one draft of the plan being discussed, the IRS would be tasked with depositing checks worth $300 every month per child younger than 6, as well as $250 every month per child age 6 to 17. That would amount to $3,600 over the course of the year for young children, as well as $3,000 a year for older children, the officials said.
Unlike with the stimulus checks, the Biden administration and Democratic lawmakers are hoping to make these child benefits a permanent government program that would continue in future years, according to three senior Democratic officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal planning. The current proposal calls only for the expanded benefit to be enacted for one year, after which Democrats widely hope political pressure will force Congress to extend them. The benefit would be phased out for affluent Americans, though the precise income level has not been determined.
This is good! Hopefully, the radical centrists won’t kill it.
This principle also applies in reverse: the reason we still have the mortgage interest tax deduction, along with a whole bunch of other deductions–which help wealthier people more than middle- and low-income people–is that no one sees it. If we were to send out checks instead of tax deductions, it would be far more visible. But for now, I’ll settle for giving people nice things and letting them see you doing it.