President Biden is the president many progressives have been waiting for.
It’s funny, but most older people really don’t care what other people think, especially when they’re in a position to help others. It is great to see this “I Could Give a Damn” philosophy playing out in our favor for a change.
I can’t help but think about the Republicans who have abused their power to stop progress from happening and seem hell bent on actual regression. Sometimes I think that “R” in Republican actually stands for “reverse”—as in going in reverse at warp speed.
But enough about the haters. There is so much in the American Rescue Plan, one could be forgiven for not knowing exactly how many great things were packed in. Things like assistance for back rent, help for homeowners, additional funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (commonly referred to as food stamps), and reimbursing cities and states for funds spent during the pandemic shutdown.
However, there was one little gem of an idea that would literally have changed my life, if it had occurred when I was raising my children.
I worked in Columbia, Maryland, at several jobs over two decades. For those who don’t know, Columbia is a high-rent district, and always has been. They also have great amenities, lots of restaurants, and the best stores. Even when I wasn’t working, I spent lots of time at parks in the Columbia area with my family because they are outstanding.
While my salary was higher than anything I would have been paid in Baltimore City, it was still low enough that I qualified for food stamps—which I happily used at the brand-new Giant that was five minutes from my job and far better than any supermarket in the city.
So, this new, monthly child tax credit would have been revolutionary for me back then. Parents will have to opt in to the plan to get the monthly check or receive the funds with their tax refund. It’s a choice, but a great one for parents to have.
As the head of my household, the extra $3,500-$5,000 I received yearly was a God-send. I used our funds for savings, for vacations, paid down debt, and of course did a little shopping. This was the only time we shopped without worrying about how much the total would be. It was the only time I allowed myself the freedom to purchase what I wanted, simply because it was something I loved.
We had an amazing store in Belair, Maryland, called C-Mart. They had the best of everything, at discounted prices (which doesn’t mean cheap, since most of their items were designer). Every year, we shopped for towels, sheets, coats, boots, and of course, clothes. One time, my daughter ran and got another cart, saying, “Mommy, here is another cart. That one is full.” I thought it was so funny, but I also told her a full cart meant it was time to ring up and get out of there! I still have some of the quality items I purchased back then.
I share this to let you know this was a yearly thing for us. However, to have had an additional $700 every month? Wow! It would have relieved so much financial stress. No worries about the gas and electric bill. No worries about not having food, or gas for my car. Now, I wouldn’t have been able to do that yearly shopping trip, but I would not trade worrying about finances for all the shopping in the world.
There is nothing like not stressing over money. I pray this tax credit is made permanent and those who receive it advocate on their own behalf to their elected officials to make sure it does. It shouldn’t be extra money; those parents should get that money every year. And receiving in monthly makes even more fiscal sense.
And I hope that every elected official who voted against it is soon replaced by people who genuinely care about their constituents. I hold my elected officials accountable. Every one of us should.