Rep. Bachmann wants a tax code that encourages “family formation,” and spoke out in favor of it at an event in Iowa (start at the 4:15 mark in the video below).
I’d note that right now there’s a lot of incentive for couples not to get married. For guys, marriage can mean putting yourself in a situation where you have a lot of obligations and responsibilities (enforced by the state) and little power. For women, all manner of social programs and entitlements often make it appear to be financially more attractive to be a single parent than a married parent.
So I understand the impulse Rep. Bachmann has to undo some of that by creating a tax code that encourages marriage and families, but generally speaking at balk about supporting the use of the tax code to social engineer.
I don’t like the idea of using the tax code to lure people into buying homes or hybrid cars. I don’t like the idea of using the tax code to push people away from tobacco or alcohol use. These attempts to manipulate the decision making of the public through the tax code more often than not result in repercussions that are as bad or worse than the problem supposedly being solved.
And they usually don’t solve the original problem, either. Our tax code is complicated enough as is without further complicating it with efforts to encourage the formation of families. Taxes should be low, and the tax code should be simple. We don’t achieve that goal with manipulations like this.
I, too, worry that our society has an attitude about family and children that is far too lax, but I don’t think the government has the solution.