The Corner

Politics & Policy

Susan Faludi vs. the Tax Cut

In yesterday’s New York Times, Susan Faludi reviewed the state of the patriarchy. The gist seems to be that it’s going strong. The recently enacted tax cut figured in her analysis. There are plenty of legitimate reasons one might be disappointed in the tax cut or opposed to it. They’re not Faludi’s reasons. I’ll review what she had to say about it bit by bit.

1) “This month, President Trump signed into law a tax bill that throws a bomb at women. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act systematically guts benefits that support women who need support the most: It means an end to personal and dependent exemptions (a disaster for minimum-wage workers, nearly two-thirds of whom are women). . . .”

When the editors of the Wall Street Journal want to portray the tax cut as overly generous toward parents, they mention its expansion of the child credit while omitting its abolition of the dependent exemption. Here Faludi is engaging in the opposite distortion. Eliminating the exemptions would be a disaster for a lot of people if the bill did not also expand the standard deduction and the child credit. But it does expand those things, and the net effect is to leave minimum-wage earners ahead.

2) “An expiration date for child-care tax credits and a denial of such credits for immigrant children without Social Security cards. . . .”

The bill leaves the child-care tax credit unchanged. Presumably Faludi means the child tax credit, a separate provision of the tax code that goes to parents whether or not they use commercial day care. The bill’s expansion of the child tax credit is indeed set to expire. After it expires, the credit will revert to its current level but the exemptions will return. Congress can, however, act to prevent the expansion of the child tax credit from expiring, and there appears to be widespread support for such action.

3) “An end to the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate. And, barely avoided, thanks to Democrats’ objections: an enshrinement of ‘fetal personhood’ in the form of college savings accounts for unborn children, a sly grenade lobbed at legal abortion. . . .”

If you’re keeping track, the bill is a bomb that includes a grenade. The patriarchy is endlessly inventive when it comes to weapons. Anyway, here I’m just going to express a personal opinion: If this provision had made it into the final legislation, it would not have caused Roe v. Wade to be overturned one day earlier than it otherwise would be.

4) “Not to mention that Republican congressmen plan to pay down the enormous federal deficit the bill will incur by slashing entitlements that, again, are critical to women: Medicaid (covering nearly half the births in the nation and 75 percent of family planning), Medicare (more than half of beneficiaries 65 and older — and two-thirds of those 85 and older — are women) and so on.”

There’s no such plan. Faludi has fallen for some bad reporting, some of which appeared in the Times.

I quit reading the op-ed at this point. Maybe it got better from there.

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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