In April, the Trump administration provided a broad outline of proposed reforms, including simplifying tax brackets, eliminating the marriage penalty, and creating child care deductions. The National Catholic Register recently published an article on the reforms, focusing on its effect on the family. Rev. Robert Sirico, co-founder and president of the Acton Institute, provided his thoughts on Trump’s plan:
“A refundable tax credit, instead of a direct subsidy from the government, is more in line with the principle of subsidiarity,” said Father Robert Sirico, founder and president of the Acton Institute, a Michigan-based think tank focusing on free-market economic policy.
“When the parents work outside the home and they purchase child care, I think they can derive some benefit without it being directly a subsidy from the government,” said Father Sirico, who added that new policies must avoid giving single income-earning adults a disincentive to marry.
Later Sirico discusses the marriage penalty and its implications on the family:
“Our current tax policy doesn’t give couples incentives to get married or stay married,” said Father Sirico, who added that having intact families with married couples helps prevent children from entering into poverty.
Father Sirico supports reducing the income tax brackets from seven to three as well as new deductions for child care and private education. He does not favor a mandatory paid parental-leave government mandate, arguing that such a policy distorts the market instead of allowing workers to negotiate those terms with their employers.
The study of economics and public policy is often a study of unintended consequences. Legislators often design a tax plan focused on collecting revenue efficiently, without realizing that they have unintentionally harmed the families which make up the foundation of our society.