By Rachel Turner
Former Lenoir County Deputy Clerk, Wife and Mother
Raising children at any time is no easy task, especially considering the financial burden parents face. The past few years, however, have been especially difficult for families in North Carolina and across the country. With inflation as it is, rising prices on everything from gas to groceries have placed an extraordinary strain on household finances.
Republicans firmly believe that the family unit is the bedrock of American society. Without smart and proactive policies from Washington, this foundation could crumble. Now more than ever parents need help and through the Child Tax Credit proposal put forward by Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) and supported by our own Senator Richard Burr (R-NC),Republicans can deliver the help that they need. This policy would not only strengthen our nation by helping parents invest in their children but would also strengthen the economy by investing in the American workforce. North Carolina families and businesses would reap the rewards and the effects would be felt throughout the state.
A strengthened Child Tax Credit would first and foremost benefit North Carolina’s families. With additional financial security for parents, children are more likely to be raised in stable households where tough decisions don’t have to be made with every paycheck. By removing some of the financial burdens that our citizens face on a daily basis, more money would be available to go towards childcare and other expenses. Senator Romney’s plan would offer this monthly, so that parents can plan around this tax relief. Such a solution could not be more timely, as new pollingreports that 53% of North Carolinians overall and 61% of those residing in the eastern part of the state are experiencing difficulty affording food. In this way, the Republican Child Tax Credit would not be a handout but rather an investment, one that goes directly into Americans’ pockets instead of through a bureaucratic nightmare.
Not only would this policy lay the groundwork for raising children, it would also give parents more choice and independence when it comes to how they raise their children. With more resources at their disposal, families will have more options available when it comes to everything from education to healthcare. This is especially important for those living in rural areas, where access these opportunities is more limited. With increased economic freedom, families can choose to stay in the communities they call home and avoid pressures to flock to urban areas. In this way, we can empower American parents to raise their children as they see fit, and where they see fit, rather than relying on the ham-fisted hand of government in overcrowded cities.
The effects of such family-oriented public policy could be felt throughout society, especially when it comes to the economy. Many developed nations today struggle with declining birthrates, which acts as a drag on economic growth, especially in rural areas. Signaling to Americans that there are direct benefits in having additional children would help mitigate this trend in the United States and shield rural communities from stagnation. On top of this, tying the benefit to work would incentivize parents to remain in the workforce, a necessary boon after pandemic-induced labor shortages. This approach has worked wonders in the past to strengthen government’s efforts to tackle poverty. In the 1990’s, for example, a similar effort to tie related benefits with work brought considerable declines in child poverty rates.
With more people employed and more money in parents’ pockets, small businesses would see tremendous gains as consumers find new purchasing power. In rural North Carolina specifically, approximately 74% of total business establishments were considered “very small businesses” (businesses with fewer than 10 employees) as of 2018. For these businesses and, by extension, these communities to survive, money needs to remain in the hands of the local residents rather than in the hands of Washington bureaucrats. Such a bottom-up approach would help return economic prosperity to the rural communities that have especially faced the brunt of recent economic trends. While connected elites so often game the system to ensure that Washington politicians protect them and their big cities, small towns across the country are left to fend for themselves. The enhanced Child Tax Credit would help change this and ensure that less tax money is wasted in Washington and more money is flowing through North Carolina.
As a pro-work and pro-family party, Republicans are well positioned to lead on this issue and must lead on this issue. By prioritizing families through an updated Child Tax Credit, our small towns and rural areas will benefit for generations. It’s about time Washington politics works to benefit more than just the coastal elites and Republicans now have a perfect opportunity to prove their worth and deliver for the American people. To drop the ball on such an effective and popular policy would be a disservice to those trying to build a better life for their children and their communities.