Marco Rubio’s Child Tax Credit Proposal

In an op-ed Monday, Marco Rubio makes the case that the cost of child bearing has gone a long way toward reducing the birthrate in the US, and that the US tax code should prioritize helping families pay for that cost over funding special interests. How unbelievably strange. Especially for a Republican.

As I have outlined ad nauseum on these pages, the government is in place to provide goods and services that do not meet the free market’s return-on-investment “hurdle rate”. Core goods and services are: national security, public infrastructure, and the social safety net. Rubio’s tax credit proposal falls under the social safety part, as it is simply a welfare transfer payment. Pretty remarkable for a Republican supposedly focused on driving economic growth.

I am more than willing to aggressively deploy the federal government’s “balance sheet” in order to, for example, cover the remaining 29 million uninsured. The healthcare insurance market is not governed by the normal forces of supply & demand (i.e. it is illegal to turn anyone away from the ER), thus the free market by definition cannot earn a “hurdle rate” return unless it charges exorbitant prices. The government must be involved.

But childcare? Really, Rubio? Since when is having children and raising a family a “right” along the same lines as affordable access to healthcare? How about focusing on driving higher economic growth so that families can get better jobs to pay for a family they chose to produce?

If you want to use the tax code to help families directly, I would be all for a child care tax credit that assists single parent or dual-working parent households. That would incentivize work without entitling families to a government handout for voluntarily creating a family.

Unbelievable, Rubio. Wow.

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