No Kids? You Should Pay More Taxes!

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A Slate columnist argues that childless Americans should pony up some more cash for taxes, and parents should get a bigger break.

Nonparents should pay higher taxes so that lower- and middle-income parents can receive a much-deserved tax break. That’s the proposal of conservative Slate.com columnist Reihan Salam.

“The willingness of parents to bear and nurture children saves us from becoming an economically moribund nation of hateful curmudgeons. The least we can do is offer them a bigger tax break,” Salam, who is childless, said.

Not surprisingly, Salam’s proposal has ignited a fiery debate, as you can see on WNYC.org.

“Childless by Choice” from New York City said, “How about couples who have more than two children pay MORE taxes, given that they’ve now foisted upon a dying planet yet another mouth to feed, another consumer of resources, and another generator of waste and pollution.”

It appears that many people, like me, who think Salam’s proposal is ludicrous, were surprised and saddened by the anti-child vitriol expressed by many people online. “Dan from New York” spoke up for those with kids:

Social Security, Medicare, etc. All these program are designed with the concept that there are replacement people to continue funding it. Most studies show people who grow past 80 will easily take out more than they put in. If you haven’t produced kids, then you are relying on other people to subsidize you. … Who do you think will be paying for the hospitals, roads, your benefits when you are 80 – your dog? Or my kids?

U.S. parents already receive some tax breaks – about $171 billion annually, CNN Money said. The breaks include the earned income tax credit, child tax credit, child and dependent care tax credit, and the dependent exemption and head of household filing status for single parents.

But with the cost of raising a child until they’re 18 estimated at $241,080 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and that doesn’t include secondary education, Salam thinks parents are entitled to a more substantial tax break.

Personally, I share the opinion of John Seager of Population Connection. In The New York Times, Seager said, “We should refrain from punishing or rewarding personal decisions about the size and shape of our families.”

As I write this, my 11-month-old is crawling around my feet, and pulling himself up on my chair, trying to reach my laptop. My almost 4-year-old is eating a snack and watching “Frozen.” My husband and I can afford to have two children. We discussed the affordability issue before we started our family.

I don’t view children as a drain on the Earth’s limited resources, but rather the very future of our planet. That said, I do not agree with having childless taxpayers foot a bigger portion of the tax bill so I can pay less.

What do you think? Should childless people pay higher taxes? Share your thoughts below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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