Did Canada’s prime minister give American president Joe Biden the tip? It’s a political axiom in Canada: If you don’t know what to do in politics, increase the baby bonus. Where else would Biden get the idea? The Baby Bonus is a tradition in Canada that the conservatives hate. It was the backbone of liberal party policy—along with Medicare—for the last half of the 20th century. It was resurrected by Jean Chrétien’s liberals after they came to power in 1993. What started after the Second World War as a $5 to $8 per month subsidy, can now be over $500 per month for a child under 6, depending on the parents’ income and is slightly less through to age 18. Some Canadian provinces provide additional Baby Bonus amounts.
What president Biden has done is launch a $300 per month per child subsidy this month for American families. The money can go directly to their bank accounts. It is planned to happen monthly to the end of 2021. He is now proposing to Congress that it continue and is defying the Republicans to take back the effort that hopes to end child poverty in the United States.
This is all in aid of Joe Biden being able to prove to Americans that government can have a part in improving their lives. He wants to drive holes in the Republican argument that small government is better. This philosophy has been fed to America since the Regan administration. The attacks on government led to the extremes of the Trump administration because even the poorest and jobless Americans were buying into the proposition that big government is bad.
Addressing Congress earlier this year, Biden is reported to have said he wanted Congress to help him prove that democracy still works and that the American government still works and can deliver for its people.
Biden has to make his point conclusively before the mid-term elections in 2022 or likely face a Republican dominated Congress for the rest of his term in office. He is already facing formidable opposition in the Republican controlled states and in the well-funded conservative news media. We wish him well.
Copyright 2021 © Peter Lowry
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