Consider raising three children on your own while struggling to make ends meet. To put yourself through school while knowing that, despite your best efforts, the jobs you need to provide for your children will necessitate a college degree.
Imagine getting a much-needed helping hand to pay the bills, put gas in the car, and make sure your children have what they need. And then that hand is yanked away just as quickly.
That is the life I, and so many others like me, live every day across the country. I’m currently single-parenting an 11-year-old, a 4-year-old, and my brand-new baby boy, all while attending college.
The Senate does not place enough emphasis on it.
I’ve had my fair share of difficulties, but I’m determined to give my children a better start in life. That’s why it was such a historic moment last year when families like mine began receiving the expanded child tax credit. With so much on my plate, I wasn’t paying attention to how it passed or who voted in favour of it. All I knew was that it was extremely beneficial to both me and my children. It gave me the boost I needed to help us make ends meet.
Then, all of a sudden, it was gone. I was paying attention this time. I noticed that Senate members traded away the expanded child tax credit, claiming that it was not a high enough priority for them. That I or my children were not a high enough priority for them.
I try my hardest to put healthy food on my children’s plates, but that means spending more money and frequently leaving me to eat whatever is left or asking my son’s aftercare if they have any leftovers.
That’s what I mean when I say we need the relief the child tax credit provides – it’s not frivolous, it’s our life.
Tax breaks for families vs. large corporations
It was incredible how powerful the child tax credit was. You hear how it helped reduce child poverty to record lows, benefiting millions of children.
A new poll from Morning Consult and the early childhood development nonprofit ZERO TO THREE found that 85% of parents of babies and toddlers want Congress to act to restore the enhanced credit.
And when it comes to choosing between supporting families and giving even more tax breaks to wealthy corporations, nearly three-fourths of respondents said Congress should not pass any more tax breaks for wealthy corporations until it acts to reinstate the expanded, fully refundable child tax credit.
Perhaps most importantly, 64% of parents oppose denying the expanded child tax credit to families without a working parent or in a lower tax bracket.
Every day of my life, I do everything I can for my children. I work very hard to ensure that my children receive the educational services they require. I want them to go to college and get a job. I want them to grow up in a world where they never have to apply for food stamps or experience the same stress that I do. I want them to enjoy life, to be civically engaged, and to believe that they matter. I want them to contribute to making the world a better place.
Sometimes I feel like the people who get the most flak are single parents like me who work so hard to provide for our children. But you can’t live on minimum wage, and there’s no wiggle room when you’re living paycheck to paycheck.
The increased child tax credit will help us get back on our feet. I long for the day when I will have a job where I can help someone else who is struggling to make ends meet. Every day, I work hard to achieve that end goal, and tax relief can help me and so many others like me get there.
I just hope that our elected officials now understand and care.