ANN ARBOR—President-elect Joe Biden outlined his proposal for a legislative package to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including economic relief measures, in a public address Thursday. University of Michigan faculty are available to comment on the potential impact of the proposal.
H. Luke Shaefer is the faculty director of Poverty Solutions and the Hermann and Amalie Kohn Professor of Social Policy at the Ford School of Public Policy. Shaefer’s research on how transforming the child tax credit into a child allowance would put a major dent in child poverty has been influential among federal policymakers seeking to expand the child tax credit in the way that President-elect Biden has proposed.
“Children have long been amongst the poorest in America,” Shaefer said. “Transforming the child tax credit into a universal child allowance available to families with no or very low earnings would recognize the challenges faced by poor and middle class families while reducing stigma and boosting political viability. Even during the uncertain times of the COVID-19 pandemic, the table is set to do something transformational for struggling families with children.”
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Kristin Seefeldt, associate professor of social work and public policy and associate faculty director of Poverty Solutions, explores how economic and policy changes affect the everyday lives of economically vulnerable families. She conducts research on family financial coping strategies, particularly the use of debt as a way to make ends meet. Seefeldt can comment on stimulus checks and unemployment insurance.
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Trina Shanks, professor of social work and faculty associate at the Institute for Social Research, has conducted research on the impact of poverty and wealth on child well-being; asset-building policy and practice across the life cycle; and community and economic development.
“Housing support is so important for renters and those that are in danger of losing their homes to mortgage and tax foreclosures,” she said. “Moratoriums are OK as a start, but making families economically whole and ensuring there are reasonable housing options for families must be a priority. We have relied on market forces so long that we seem to ignore the fact that there could be other approaches to add to the housing supply.”
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