Here’s a debate question: is it fair for people to pay less tax simply because they have chosen to have children? I’m sure you can guess where I stand (I say it’s bullshit), but I’m curious to hear logical, sound defenses of this policy. Yeah, if I had kids, I’d take the deduction, but I don’t think I’d feel comfortable saying it’s actually “fair” that the day I popped a baby out I suddenly deserved to pay less tax than the day I did before.
On the one hand I support fair, low taxes. On the other hand, I believe it is in society's interest to support and promote responsible reproduction as it is the only thing that can stave off the worst case demographic scenarios presented by Mark Steyn in American Alone.
First, a disclaimer. I am a father but I do not receive any tax benefit. Actually, the way the laws are set up, I am penalized but that's another, much longer rant.
I suppose my opinion on whether or not there should be a tax break for having children depends on how it is implemented. If asked, I would say I do not support the breaks we currently have. It seems the entire system is structured to promote poor, uneducated, single women to have children in order to receive money from the father, the government and any other third-party institution that may dump cash their way. A child is not only a meal ticket but, depending on who you get to donate sperm, a lottery ticket.
That being said, in the end, we need children. I'm a supporter of the "one for yourself, one for your spouse, one for the country" mentality of reproduction. The fact that intelligent, responsible adults like Rachel Lucas have no interest in having children (a decision only she can make and one on which I refuse to judge anyone... the last thing we need is people who don't want children having them) only requires that other people have even more children. The problem is, children are very expensive and having three or more children in the modern world is not a good financial decision, to say the least. Let's face it; educated, intelligent, financially stable adults look at all the sacrifices necessary to have children and many of them just don't think it's worth it. Sadly, these are the very people we need to be parents.
So, what do you do?
I think we need to find a way to encourage financially stable individuals to have children without also promoting unfit or single parents(I'm not saying we leave those children to rot... just that we attempt to deter that behavior). I believe one good way to do that is to provide tax-breaks for employed parents in stable relationships. It doesn't seem fair but it is undeniable that everyone in society benefits from there being a society in the first place. Surely that's worth a few tax breaks here and there?
Of course, if Rachel reads this, she's going to eviscerate it. I dread all the wrath. Tastes like burning.
Update: I am speechless. Welcome Mark Steyn readers. Take a look around if you have a few minutes.
Wow, Rachel Lucas and now this? That's two heroes of mine in the same week! It's like Christmas. What's next? Lileks? Ace? Allahpundit? John Bolton? Hugh Hewitt?