In the New York Times of November 6th, Marco Rubio wrote about income, or lack of it, whether he realizes it or not, and acknowledged that most families don’t have enough income to raise kids. His subject: helping families with an increase to the Child Tax Credit, noting the expense of having children, and that this expense leads some couples to have fewer of them. He suggests that he wants couples to be able to have the number of children they desire, and that they deserve financial help. Unfortunately, Rubio has a double standard for who deserves this help–and who should be able to have the children they want to have: his feelings do not extend to Americans in poverty.
The Child Tax Credit is not refundable yet. By and large, people living at extremely low incomes of less than $11,000 a year don’t qualify. So practically every family enrolled in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, or “welfare” doesn’t qualify. And, Rubio proposes making the Child Tax Credit refundable against payroll tax liability; but a parent who is out of work or who is not in the (paid) workforce wouldn’t get it, since they aren’t on a payroll. This is all by design to shut out poor parents from his largess.
Despite Rubio’s saying that “raising children is the most important job we will ever have,” his proposal shows that he is ground in elitist notions that only non poor parents are worthwhile ones. These are his values.
Rubio said during his presidential run, “our anti-poverty programs have become, in some instances, a lifestyle,” conjuring up the tired, disproven prejudice that poor mothers “don’t work” and are able to have a “lifestyle” on the paltry monthly benefits of “welfare.” This is absurd. In Rubio’s Florida, for example, the maximum monthly welfare payment for a family is $303, even though a federal poverty line income is $1590 a year. That’s some lifestyle.
Rubio doesn’t use his pulpit to denounce our absurdly low welfare payments, which can only be designed to push parents and children into despair. Rubio knows Florida families on welfare have a cash income one sixth of the poverty line. You’d think he’d be alarmed and would want to raise their cash incomes, too, lest the children starve, become homeless, or die. Instead, his heart bleeds for the middle class only.