The expanded child tax credit is a success. So naturally, it has to end.

Originally posted in The Boston Globe.

And it turns out that simply giving struggling parents a little cash can fix a lot, and fast. The payments have slashed poverty and hunger rates, lifting millions of kids into healthier, more secure lives. Without the cash boost, some 160,000 kids could be pushed back below the poverty line in Massachusetts alone, said Allison Bovell-Ammon, director of policy strategy at the Children’s Healthwatch at Boston Medical Center, which has been analyzing the payments.

“This has been an incredible tool in fighting poverty and hunger,” said Erin McAleer, president of Project Bread. “Giving people money to buy food is so much more efficient than giving out food itself.”

Most of us can agree that this is a good thing — that lifting kids out of poverty is inarguably right. But hey, maybe the moral argument doesn’t move you. Maybe, like Manchin and many Republicans, you think of the child tax credit payments as handouts to the undeserving — who should instead be defying gravity to pull themselves up their bootstraps.

Well, you’ll be glad to know that there is an excellent economic argument for the tax credits. Those who have been getting them aren’t the only ones who benefit. According to a congressional estimate, the payments put an estimated $19.3 billion back into local economies every month.

More importantly, it’s cheaper to attack hunger than to deal with its consequences. Researchers from Columbia University found that every dollar in child tax credit payments returns eight dollars in long-term savings: Better-fed, more economically stable families mean healthier kids and parents (so lower health care costs), better educational outcomes, higher-paying jobs, and longer, more productive lives.

“We think about diet-related diseases like cardiovascular diseases and diabetes and the toll they take,” Bovell-Ammon said. “But food insecurity and poverty affect so many aspects of someone’s ability to be healthy and do well in school. ”