Dollar sign surrounded by children's toys

Molly Butler / Media Matters

Research/Study Research/Study

Right-wing media blame Biden for childhood poverty while ignoring conservatives’ role in ending the childhood tax credit

Right-wing media are attacking the Biden administration for a rise in childhood poverty, while ignoring the role the administration’s child tax credit plan played in a previous decline. Republicans previously voted against continuing the tax credit, and right-wing media criticized Biden for adopting it.

  • Childhood poverty rates decreased by 46 percent, then doubled after Republicans let the child tax credit expire

    • Childhood poverty dropped to a historic low a year after the child tax credit was passed. A year after “anti-poverty programs” were “established or expanded in response to the COVID-19 pandemic” including the child tax credit, which increased by $1,000 to $1,600 per child for families of all incomes, the Census Bureau reported that childhood poverty had dropped 46% from 2020 to a historic low of just above 5%. The bureau credited the tax credit with lifting “5.3 million people out of poverty, including 2.9 million children.” [U.S. Census Bureau, 9/13/22]
    • Republicans refused to vote with most Democrats, allowing expiration of the tax credit. Conservatives claimed the tax credit would discourage parents from working. [CNN, 12/20/22]
    • Childhood poverty more than doubled from 2021 to 2022 following the expiration of the child tax credit. The Census Bureau released data on September 12 showing  that since the tax credit’s end, childhood poverty jumped to 12.4%. [The Associated Press, 9/12/23]
  • Some in right-wing media previously vilified the childhood tax credit  

    • On Fox News’ America’s Newsroom, Fox contributor Steve Hilton claimed that child tax credits were “destructive.” Fox contributor Steve Hilton also claimed that the tax credit was an “example of the centralization of our economy and society” under Biden, and anchor Bill Hemmer said that “some would call it welfare.” [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 7/19/21]

    • On Fox News Primetime, host Pete Hegseth pejoratively called the tax credit “universal baby income.” Hegseth also called out Biden for the credit, saying of his administration: “They continue every day to inch closer to socialism.” [Fox News, Fox News Primetime, 7/15/21]

    • Fox Business host Larry Kudlow called the child tax credit “woke economics” initiated by “big government.” [Fox News, The Story with Martha MacCallum, 7/15/21]

    • On his radio show, Fox host Sean Hannity called initiatives such as the child tax credit and the Green New Deal “socialism.” Hannity also claimed that the tax credits were “handouts for couples with children.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 7/14/21]
  • Right-wing figures are now blaming Biden for the rise in childhood poverty

    • Fox News host Laura Ingraham blamed Biden for child poverty increases without mentioning the GOP’s role in ending the child tax credit. She told her audience, “What's the ugly truth? The child poverty rate is now double what it was in 2021. That's up 7.2%. And they wonder why Americans give Joe lousy ratings on the economy?” [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 9/12/23]

    • Fox News anchor Harris Faulkner cited the rise in child poverty, claiming Biden is “hurting people, particularly children, with his policies.” When faced with pushback that the GOP voted against child tax credits, Faulkner said, “It is lipstick on a pig if you tell me that you want to blame Republicans and anybody else.” [Fox News, The Faulkner Focus, 9/13/23]

    • Former Newsmax host Sean Spicer tweeted: “Child poverty more than doubled from 5.2% to 12.4% in just one year. #Bidenomics.” [Twitter/X, 9/12/23]

    • The Daily Caller published an article about childhood poverty increases along with the Twitter caption: “Bidenomics at work.” [Twitter/X, 9/12/23]

    • Students for Trump founder Ryan Fournier tweeted, “The Census Bureau is reporting that the national average income has dropped significantly and poverty rates are soaring under Biden.” [Twitter/X, 9/13/23]

    • Conservative blog Just the News slammed “Bidenomics” in a piece on increased poverty. The piece didn't mention the end of the child tax credit that the Biden administration supported. [Just the News, 9/12/23]

    • Fox Business host Charles Payne cited the Census Bureau statistics about the rise in childhood poverty, adding, “So after trillions of dollars poured into this economy in the last two years, all we got was more personal debt and record poverty.” Additionally, Payne cited Zachary Parolin, a senior research fellow at Columbia University, to note the dramatic increase but failed to mention that Parolin had warned that ending the child tax credit would increase child poverty. [Fox Business, Making Money with Charles Payne, 9/12/23]

    • Former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly tweeted that “poverty is rising under President Biden.” He linked to a piece on his website, which did not mention conservatives cutting child tax credits but did blame “having babies out of wedlock with no assets” and “becoming a substance abuser” for poverty. [Twitter/X, 9/13/23;, 9/13/23]