Tax policy and TikTok is not the likeliest combination, but it does seem to be an effective one when it comes to spreading the word about the latest government rollout.
The words “child tax credit,” for example, can sound wonky and opaque—like something that has to do with politics and bureaucracy, not with people. It might be somewhat tiresome to hear me explain, in technical terms, that the expanded tax credits are monthly payments of $300 per child under six and $250 per child six or older every month for the rest of the year, and begin to phase out for joint filers of more than $150,000. It might even sound too good to be true—cold hard cash deposited straight to families’ bank accounts, no strings attached. (And indeed, it has been difficult to get eligible families enrolled in the program for some of these reasons.)
It’s much easier to see what I mean in one of the TikTok videos below:
According to Slate, the tax credit celebration videos are a micro hit on the platform. Some of the videos show parents thinking about expenses like rent, gas, groceries, or child care before rejoicing that their child tax credits have arrived. In others, parents joke that it “finally pays” to be a parent to multiple children, or that they have chosen the right time to have kids. Many are simply captioned with some version of “when that child tax credit hits.”
These displays of uncomplicated joy are moving. While certain people will always condemn any form of government support as a “hand out”—a narrative Democrats want to avoid, to be sure—the tax credit TikToks are an important reminder to pay these detractors no mind. The extent to which a relatively small amount of money has the power to transform someone’s life is already more than self-evident. After receiving three rounds of stimulus checks during the pandemic, the country’s poorest households saw their income increase by 20 percent. Families looking forward to the expanded child tax credits have told news outlets that they plan to spend it on small pleasures: buying their children new clothes, sending them to camp, paying for school field trips in the fall, going to the zoo.
Those things won’t all happen on TikTok, but it’s important to know that they’re happening every day, as a result of (finally!) some good government policy.