On Wednesday, July 20, 2022, the House Budget Committee held the hearing “Examining the Powerful Impact of Investments in Early Childhood for Children, Families, and Our Nation’s Economy.” The conversation was centered on whether making federal investments in children is beneficial or not. With the documents and testimonies provided it is very clear that investing in the human capital of children and providing them a safety net benefits everyone. While these investments may mean spending more now, evidence shows that in the long-term, these investments pay for themselves.
Programs and policies that were discussed include the American Rescue Plan Act, Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Medicaid, Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Dr. Hilary Hoynes, a Professor of Economics and Public Policy, Dr. Maureen Black, a Distinguished Fellow in Early Childhood Development, and Mr. Rasheed Malik, a Senior Director in Early Childhood Policy attested to how spending more now equals spending less later. Former Speaker of the House, Hon. Newt Gingrich, provided the conservative view, referencing inflation as a burden on families.
The investment in the human capital of children transfers to adulthood promoting equity and a stronger economy. The costs of child poverty not only harm families but affect the broader economy as well. With the discussion of further federal investment rising inflation was referred to consistently, while the majority side considers investment in early childhood to be the long goal and answer. Both sides want families to provide families with a healthy and stable economy and society but differ on implementation.
By Isabella Diez, Policy Intern