Boots & Sabers

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0718, 20 Jan 15

An effort to break down traditional families

My column for the West Bend Daily News is online. It’s and expansion of a blog post from a few days ago. Here it is.

During the his first State of the Union address after his party and ideology suffered crushing electoral defeats from state legislatures to the U.S. Senate, President Barack Obama plans to continue his leftist push by pushing for $320 billion in tax increases to fuel even more spending.

Obama wants to continue his jihad against “the rich” in favor of the middle class. He does not appear to care that his policies to date have seen the rich get far richer while the middle and lower classes stagnate, thus making the gap wider than it has been in decades. Obama is not one to be concerned with the results of his policies when he is seeking to advance his leftist ideology.

The president will propose increasing the capital gains tax to 28 percent. It was 15 percent when he took office in 2009. He also wants to impose a massive fee on certain financial institutions and closing a so-called “trust-fund loophole,” which would actually just be a huge inheritance tax that would particularly hurt people like farmers who pass on their land to their children.

The good news is that since the Republicans control Congress, most of those proposals will not go anywhere and Obama knows it. In his typical cynical way, Obama is proposing them for purely political reasons to build the political narrative for the 2016 election that the Republicans are the “party of ‘no.’” It is a crass and condescending form of politics, but it is the kind that Obama is comfortable with having come from the notorious Chicago political machine.

One of his proposals, however, is particularly troubling not only because of what it is, but because it is something that appears innocuous enough that the Republicans might actually pass it as part of a political quid pro quo. Obama is proposing a $500 tax credit for families in which both parents work.

It sounds nice enough. It is supposed to. Obama’s proposal is positioned as a way to help families with working parents to afford child care since both parents are away from the home working. The problem is that we used to be a nation that advocated policies that encouraged a stable family unit where parents could afford to, and were encouraged to, raise their children. This policy incentivizes parents to do just the opposite.

While not everyone can afford it, having a twoparent family where one parent can stay home with the children is substantially better for the children and the family than other circumstances. History and studies have shown time and again that children are better off when they are raised in an in-contact family with ample parent-child nurturing time in those first few precious years. Many of our government policies, like the Family and Medical Leave Act and subsidy programs, are specifically designed to make it easier for parents to spend more time at home — especially during a child’s early years. Obama’s proposal to subsidize parents only when both are working works counter to generations of government policy.

Much like some welfare programs incentivize parents to not marry, this tax credit would incentivize both parents to work. All such policies discourage the family unit and make it more difficult for families to afford to raise their children instead of spending thousands of dollars on child care. Instead, we should be advancing government policies that make it easier for parents to afford to stay home and raise their own children. It is better for the kids and better for society.

No parent who is unemployed is going to choose to get a job for a $500 tax credit. Nor is a $500 credit going to make much of a difference in a family’s ability to afford child care. But this is another brick in building a taxpayer-funded infrastructure that encourages every adult to work and let the “professionals” raise our kids. It is another brick in the path to being a society that turns to our government overseers for our needs and wants instead of turning to each other.

It is not a path on which we should travel.

(Owen Robinson is a West Bend resident. His column runs Tuesdays in the Daily News.)


0718, 20 January 2015

1 Comment

  1. scott

    How would it hurt farmers who are trying to pass on land to their children?

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