Unpopularity of Child Tax Credit Emphasizes Why Job Guarantees are Better than UBI

Just depressing, sobering poll on the refundable child tax credit out today, showing extremely low support for making the Child Tax Credit permanent. This defies every expectation of progressives, including me, but does support my general view that UBI-like programs just are inherently politically less popular than alternative ways to support the working poor - which is why a job guarantee is so critical, as I wrote last week in proposing one approach.

The fact that progressives couldn’t defend the Pandemic UI program against political attacks and saw it dumped unceremoniously on Labor Day is another data point indicating that Yang-like UBI programs are political losers.

I wish it was otherwise - I wrote enthusiastically about the CARE Act’s Pandemic UI program early on (when a lot of others were denouncing it as a corporate bailout) and have promoted the Child Tax Credit for years.

But the whole host of progressive social policies - day care, food stamps, housing supports and child tax credits - are all far more popular and sustainable when attached to jobs. And the best way to make sure no one is left out of a social welfare system centered on jobs is to guarantee everyone a job - even a half-time job as I argued last week.

This poll shows the core support for the government funding jobs for the unemployed.

Now, this is only about the basic idea of the government providing SOME jobs. Add in words like “guarantee” people jobs and so on and support drops but is still strong. This Civis poll shows 52 percent support for a jobs guarantee but only 29 percent opposed. And other polls shows much higher support but the key number is the lack of strong opposition.

And the Civis poll shows particular support for a jobs guarantee among swing voters, the folks who swung from Obama to Trump, and among nonvoters. Here is a graph of net support (support minus opposition) among those groups.

Sucks that in a racist country, anything smacking of “welfare” ends up getting pulverized in political fights, but if progressives build in a job guarantee such that everyone can work at least part-time, then polls show massive support for all of the social programs that can pile on additional income to that base level of work.

So that creates an extremely strong argument for centering that job guarantee in all progressive policy.

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Labor Links of the Week

Auto Workers to Vote on Direct Elections for Officers- LaborNotes: Jonah Furman has good piece on how in the wake of corruption scandals among officers at the UAW, there is a push to have direct elections of top union leaders. Furman ties that corruption to poor bargaining choices over the years, particularly adopting two-tier wage structures that undermined solidarity.

How private contractors are driving Biden’s border policy: Smart blog post on how the border security industrial complex keeps driving the Biden administration to promote abusive border controls. Costs of privatization are always political as much as economic in this analysis.

Possible IATSE strike could shut down much of Hollywood, this week in the war on workers * Daily Kos Labor: A large focus of bargaining is that “new media” is no longer so new, so IATSE wants workers on those productions to have good work conditions like the rest of the industry.

Two-thirds of low-wage workers still lack access to paid sick days during an ongoing pandemic * Economic Policy Institute: The highest wage workers (top 10%) are nearly three times as likely to have access to paid sick leave as the lowest paid in this EPI analysis.