The Corner

RE: Generational Warfare

I remember that piece, Ramesh, and I think you made the same mistake then you’re making now: Counting the extra revenue that new children bring to the entitlement Ponzi scheme but not counting the extra costs they impose on it. Social Security being designed as it is, the latter will in many cases outweigh the former.

It is true that a growing population makes entitlements built on the American model easier to sustain, but U.S. birth rates are at historic lows (more precisely, their lowest rate in more than a century). So that big baby-boom generation’s numbers made it easier to pay for the preceding generation’s entitlements but harder for subsequent generations to bear the costs.

The effects of a child tax credit would have to be pretty large to turn around our demographic trends, and I am not aware of any evidence that the effects are on that scale.

Also, it’s not just childless people who think government-school taxes are unfair to them — the burden falls especially hard on people with large families who pay for private schooling on top of their public-school taxes. That is not a free-rider problem, as you argue; it’s a plain ol’ ripoff.

I think Jay gets it right here:

Bill Buckley and I used to share a complaint about the tax code, and this is the way we would put it, when complaining together: The tax code pits Americans against one another. It pits homeowners against renters, married people against unmarried people, people with children against people without children, people with children going to college against people with children going into trades — and on and on. The tax code is packed with social policy, and bias. That’s one reason I say, a pox on it.

Sure, I’d rather have a tax credit for babies than a tax credit for ethanol, but I’d rather have a flat tax with no exemptions, set at a rate that makes it less of a burden on private life, including family life.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More
Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More
U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More