Josh Hawley Has This One Wrong

Senator Josh Hawley (R, MO) is planning to introduce a child tax credit bill that would grant $6,000 to a single parent family with children less than 13 years old, and $12,000 to two-parent families with children in that age group.

We need a plan to help working parents that is pro-family and pro-work. I’ll be proposing legislation this coming week that gives a major tax cut to working parents to help them afford to start a family and raise their kids[.]

I have no doubt that Hawley’s heart is in the right place, but he’s badly mistaken on this.

For one thing, stipulating his underlying premise that tax gerrymandering is a good idea, he misses the point that kids cost the same to raise no matter how many parents they have, and regardless of how many of those parents work. The idea, predicated as it is on giving two-parent families a choice in how many of the parents work, also ignores the simple fact that a single parent not only has no such choice, but she (yes, I’m assuming. Sue me) has no support from a second parent, working or not.

For another thing, his underlying premise is badly flawed. Our tax code has no business being used for social engineering, whether for family support or for any other purpose. The same (tax) cost break could be given to those families, along with all American families and individuals, by limiting our tax code to covering the three—and only three—spending purposes enumerated in our Constitution, and then by setting that tax code to a single, low, flat rate shorn of all credits, subsidies, deductions, on all income, regardless of source, that leaves more of our money in the pockets of each of us.

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