By Rachel Turner
Former deputy clerk, wife and mother of Lenoir County
Raising children at any time is not an easy task, especially given the financial burden on parents. However, the past few years have been particularly difficult for families in North Carolina and across the country. In the current inflationary climate, rising prices for everything from petrol to groceries have taken an extraordinary toll on household finances.
Republicans firmly believe that family unity is the bedrock of American society. Without wise and proactive Washington policies, that foundation could collapse. Now more than ever, parents need help, and through the child tax credit proposal introduced by Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) and supported by our own Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), Republicans can provide the help they need. This policy would not only strengthen our nation by helping parents invest in their children, but also strengthen the economy by investing in America’s workforce. North Carolina families and businesses would reap the rewards, and the impact would be felt across the state.
North Carolina families would primarily benefit from an increased Child Tax Credit. With added financial security for parents, children are more likely to grow up in stable households that don’t have tough decisions to make every paycheck. By removing some of the financial burdens our citizens face every day, more money would be available for child care and other expenses. Senator Romney’s plan would offer this monthly so parents can plan for that tax break. Such a solution couldn’t be more timely, as new polls show that 53% of North Carolinians overall and 61% of residents in the eastern part of the state are struggling to afford groceries. That way, the Republican Child Tax Credit would not be a handout, but an investment that goes straight into Americans’ pockets, rather than through a bureaucratic nightmare.
This policy would not only lay the foundation to the Raising children would also give parents more choice and independence when it comes to parenting how they raise their children. With more resources, families have more choices when it comes to education and health care. This is particularly important for those living in rural areas where access to these opportunities is more limited. With greater economic freedom, families can choose to remain in the communities they call home and escape the pressures of flocking to urban areas. In doing so, we can empower American parents to raise their children how they see fit and where they see fit, rather than relying on the clumsy hand of government in crowded cities.
The effects of such family-oriented policies can be felt throughout society, especially in the economy. Many industrial nations are now struggling with declining birth rates, which is slowing down economic growth, especially in rural areas. Signaling to Americans that there are direct benefits to having extra children would help mitigate this trend in the United States and protect rural communities from stagnation. Additionally, tying benefit to work would encourage parents to stay in the workforce, a necessary boon after the pandemic-induced labor shortage. This approach has worked wonders in the past to bolster government efforts to fight poverty. In the 1990s, for example, a similar attempt to link related benefits to work led to a significant decline in child poverty rates.
With more employees and more money in parents’ pockets, small businesses would reap huge profits as consumers find new purchasing power. Specifically, in rural North Carolina, about 74% of all startups in 2018 were classified as “very small businesses” (businesses with fewer than 10 employees). For these businesses, and by extension these communities, to survive, money must be in the hands of local residents rather than Washington bureaucrats. Such a bottom-up approach would help return economic prosperity to rural communities, which have been particularly hard hit by recent economic trends. While networked elites so often play with the system to ensure Washington politicians protect them and their big cities, small towns across the country are left to their own devices. The improved Child Tax Credit would help change that and ensure less taxpayer money is wasted in Washington and more money flows through North Carolina.
As a pro-work, pro-family party, Republicans are well placed to lead on this issue and need to lead on this issue. By prioritizing families through an updated child tax credit, our small towns and rural areas will benefit for generations to come. It’s about time Washington politics benefited more than just the coastal elites, and Republicans now have the perfect opportunity to prove their worth and make a difference for the American people. Dropping the ball on such an effective and popular policy would be a disservice to those trying to build better lives for their children and their communities.