The Corner

Cutting the Family Tax

I have received a lot of feedback on the pro-family, pro-growth tax reform that Robert Stein and I wrote about last week. A few readers wanted to know where they could find out more about the plan, since Stein and I were not so much outlining it as defending it against criticisms. This National Review article from 2006 is probably the best place to go.

Some readers asked what impact the plan would have on federal revenues. The idea is to set the width of the tax brackets so as to raise the same amount of revenue as the current system. Compared, then, to making the Bush tax cuts permanent, the plan would be revenue neutral.

The common theme of critical emails was that we should not “subsidize” child-bearing. But Stein and I are not calling for subsidies; we’re arguing that current policies put the government’s thumb on the scale against raising children and seeking to offset that bias.

Jagadeesh Gokhale of the Cato Institute wrote a post agreeing with our contention that entitlements tend to suppress fertility. (He seems, however, to have some misconceptions about our views. I’m not against efforts to rein in entitlement spending, as he oddly suggests, and I doubt Stein is either.)

Finally, a blogger calling himself ProGrowthLiberal asks how our plan can cut taxes on both the rich and the poor if it is revenue neutral. The answer is that it cuts marginal tax rates on high earners, while raising their average tax rates. The distribution of the tax burden would move modestly upward but the code would do more to encourage growth.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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