On December 6, 2023, the House Ways and Means Tax Subcommittee held a hearing to “Expand Growth and Increase Prosperity for American Families”. Chairman Mike Kelly [R-PA] opened the conversation by talking about the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, many of the codes of which are set to expire in 2025, and how he would like to see it not only continued but expanded.

Ranking Member Mike Thompson [D-CA] said that this hearing is focused on the wrong things. In Representative Thompson’s view, we should be investing in families, not big business acquiring more wealth. Furthermore, if the government is interested in boosting the economy, they need to look at more of the underlying issue. “It’s not hyperbole to say that addressing our mental health crisis is one of the single best things we can do to boost our economy for everyone.”

The chairman then introduced the witnesses: Dr. Alan Auerbach, Professor of Economics and Law at UC Berkeley, Alan Viard, Senior Fellow Emeritus at the American Enterprise Institution, Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform, Steve Hayes, Chairman and President of Americans for Fair Taxation, and Dr. Leonard Burman, a Fellow at Brookings Tax Policy Center. The witnesses took varying positions on how to best further American prosperity, but Dr. Burman’s focused his remarks on increasing support for children in poverty and supporting the wages of workers who have been falling behind. He brought up the Child Tax Credit and its anti-poverty success. “This is not simply a matter of fairness. A wealth of research shows that investing in children pays higher returns than almost anything the government can do.” Ending child poverty and allowing kids to grow into healthy, well-adjusted adults is in the best interest of the American government and society. In Dr. Burnam’s view, “kids aren’t cars. If a car breaks down because of poor maintenance, that’s an inconvenience… but if a child’s life is ruined by poverty, that’s both a tragedy and a drag on the economy.”

By Rebekah Lawatsch, Policy Intern