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The Editors

Biden’s Child-Poverty Plan Will Be Great, If It Works

Now to figure out how to administer and pay for it.

Building toward what?

Building toward what?

Photograph: Getty Images

The first payments of the Biden administration’s expanded child tax credit went out last week — marking what could be the start of a truly radical change. The new system is in place only for the rest of this year, though Democrats are hoping first to extend it as part of their budget proposal, and then to make it permanent.

Their ambition is nothing less than to transform the provision of income support, especially for the poorest families. That’s a worthy goal, to be sure, and one that’s capable of commanding bipartisan support. But the new policy is both administratively demanding and very expensive. It was a mistake to dodge these questions before the six-month experiment began. Good answers are essential if this policy, or something similar, is to be adopted for the longer term.