Michele Bachmann Wants To Tax Single Parents More Than Married Parents

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.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • Jamermorrow

    All taxes are theft and conservatives should try to eliminate as many taxes as possible. Why should we increase taxes on anybody? Why should we give collective rights to anybody? Rights should be individual. Another reason why I have never voted Republican. She favors big government as long as it is ran by Republicans.

  • DopeyDem

    After 40 years of the Great Society and other destruction of the family by Democrats and liberals, she’s talking about finally reversing the trend and ending the victim parade. It’s about dropping the marriage penalties in all the tax codes. It’s about time someone is taking a stand and pushed the family unit.

  • badlands4

    This is why I believe in a flat tax. You shouldn’t punish single people via the tax code at the same time you reward people who have children. You shouldn’t, via the tax code, reward some energy producers while you punish others at the same time. You shouldn’t reward homebuyers over renters. The list goes on and on.

    Flat tax. No deductions at all and everyone pays, a politician favorite buzz word phrase alert, their fair share.

  • HG

    Using tax codes to manipulate social behavior is offensive regardless of how “good” the favored behavior may be. This is precisely what is wrong with government. We dont’ need gov’t to encourage us to get married. Besides, what kind of idiot would marry simply to gain legal or financial advantage? Marriage is about love and family, not financial planning.

    This is just one of the problems with the arguments made in favor of redefining marriage. Many gay advocates argue for access to marriage on the grounds that they are denied the legal and financial benefits of marriage (even though they are not, domestic partnerships provide most if not all of those benefits).

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    I’d be happy if the government simply stopped discouraging marriage through the tax and welfare codes.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      I agree.

  • robert108

    On one hand, it’s good to see real marriage getting some support, as it has been, and is now, under attack from the left, but using the tax code for social manipulation purposes is wrong. All parents should get the deduction, IMO. Let’s fight against the homosexual hijacking of marriage in some other way.

  • Jamermorrow

    Defending marriage is pointless. I hate the fact that I have to pay the government for a marriage certificate. It is like asking the government for permission. The divorce rate is extremely high. Married people are constantly cheating on their spouse (I work in a bar and I am in the Army). We have swingers, people addicted to porn, and all other sorts of weird crap. Marriage has become nothing but a tax haven for people. Raising taxes on single people will only make it worse.

  • http://realitybasedbob.sayanythingblog.com/ realitybasedbob

    Defend marriage.
    Criminalize divorce.

  • headward

    Simple enough, remove the earned income credit. Most single parents and welfare cases(including those who get big $$ for child support) use this. This could discourage that behavior by removing incentive.

  • VocalYokel

    Any attempt to legislate ‘morality’ by taxing or not taxing segments of the population, or by giving people who fit into a certain profile (I know ‘profiling’ is not PC, but anyone with more sense than a box of hammer handles does it) preferential treatment is not only foolhardy, it’s none of the Guvment’s damn business.
    I understand that revenue must be garnered for certain Constitutional obligations, but that burden should be spread across the citizens equally. Period.
    BTW, if there is to be truly a ‘separation of church and state’, (a phrase used to justify practically anything these days it seems) can we be required by law to purchase a marriage license?
    Can the powers that be tell the Church that they cannot perform a wedding ceremony without said papers?
    Is this nothing more than a means to enter into a Guvment approved (mandated?) contract in order to give some legal consequences to a relationship gone wrong?

  • http://www.twitter.com/dakota_mel Dakota_mel

    I made a “wish list” this weekend for my perfect candidate for 2012. At the top of the list was someone who would champion the flat tax. (Not-so-coincidentally, I also finished my taxes this weekend – finally!) I don’t want any more tax code to deal with even if it comes out in my favor.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steve-DAgostino/1070166870 Steve D’Agostino

      Vote Herman Cain. Forget a manipulable “flat tax.” It will never stay flat. Remember the 80’s version? Didn’t stay that way for long did it? The Fair Tax is the only way.

      • Bat One

        For the so-called “Fair Tax” to accomplish what it’s supporters hope it will, the 16th Amendment must be repealed. Those who make a law, can just as easily un-make it. Without repeal, the “Fair Tax” is nothing more than a VAT on top of an already unfair and convoluted income tax.

        Both Bachman and Herman Cain support the flat tax.

  • http://www.twitter.com/dakota_mel Dakota_mel

    Wait a sec. I listened to the speech and she proposed the flat tax too. I guess I should have listened before I commented the first time, but now I’m confused as to how she could propose a revision to the tax code that encourages marriage and the flat tax in one talk.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steve-DAgostino/1070166870 Steve D’Agostino

      I could be misunderstanding, but I think that it just doesn’t encourage single parenthood. By proxy that would translate to encouragement of getting married. Single parenthood sucks, and without a financial incentive, why would anyone want to deal with it?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=708741524 Robb Nunya

        Do you really think that unwed knocked-up teen mothers are considering the tax implications of their situation?

      • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

        I personally know two women who are holding off on marriage because of President Blagojevich’s program that pays mothers to go to school as long as they don’t get married. So yes, single moms can and do consider the tax implications of marriage in makign their decisions.

    • http://www.twitter.com/dakota_mel Dakota_mel

      Oops. To Steve’s point, she proposed the fair tax.

  • Guest

    Grandstander playing to the flatearthers.

    Yawn.

    Since when did calling for taxation appeal to y’all?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steve-DAgostino/1070166870 Steve D’Agostino

      I can see which side of the aisle you’re on, but I have to agree with you here. Though the flat-earthers are more the AGW crowd, you are correct that manipulation through tax code is NOT a conservative ideal, especially for the Tea Party/ libertarian crowd. Seems odd coming from Bachmann considering her target market.

      • Guest

        Also, she is a federal politician. I can see cons advocating something like this in their home state, but it seems contrary to all that you folks hold dear to have someone advocating policy like this from the federal level.

        Anyway, taxes should be designed to pay for infrastructure, military, national museums, and the like. Getting those funds should not involve, among it’s goals, manipulating family structure.

        Bachmann is playing to the traditionalists who are moralizing nanny staters. She is not playing to the conservative traditionalists who would prefer to keep the federal government out of state, local, or family affairs. Look how far you folks have come.

        This is merely another variety of big government pitched as a variety of small government to folks that are too motivated by singular, emotional issues to calm down and consider the principles they rest on, the long term implications of new policy and precedent, etc.

        There really is no small government folks left. Strengthening families is a good goal, but it is something that should be done locally, through human-to-human interactions and relationships (the only real politics) and not manipulated in by the fed through tweaked tax code.

        Bachmann merely plays to the demographic machines. Some computer told her you would miss the fact that this is big government garbage because you are so emotional about ‘traditional family structures’. That sucks.

        If you guys get your heads in the game, the demographic machines will stop telling Bachmann how it is safe to manipulate you into big government policy.

  • http://www.twitter.com/dakota_mel Dakota_mel

    Steve, I think you’re right. (although never a single parent, I’m absolutely certain you’re right about it sucking for both parent and child)

    I guess I just came away with a far more positive impression of what she had to say, and my impression didn’t involve complicating the already onerous (is there a stringer word?) tax code.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=708741524 Robb Nunya

    Rob,

    Well thought article. The only quibble I have is that we’re already using the tax code to social engineer. As it stands, single mother parenthood is highly encouraged by current policy.

  • borborygmi

    Score so far from the Gop candidates,1: we should punish single parents not only the free loaders but those that are divorced because of abusive spouses and 2: we shouldn’t trust Muslims at least not to the extent of including them in gov’t. Strong planks for the national platform.

    • robert108

      Typical leftie cherry-picking to deceive. The reality is strong family values and fiscal responsibility, but you can just keep lying; it’s what you do.

    • Gmurray1

      We should not punish, nor reward single parents, married parents, or any other group. A flat tax on every wage earner, irregardless of their marital status or number of or lack of children is the only way to make our tax code workable. using the tax code to manipusate behavior is obscene.

  • http://www.singleparentcenter.net/ single parents

    I wonder why this happening for the single parents.. They need money to survive and if they will pay more tax then it will be hard for them to survive..

  • http://www.singleparentcenter.net/single-parenting/single-parent-grants.html grants for single mothers

    Its really hard for the single parents to pay tax as they have nothing to earn and expense and its really a not tolerable when the single parents being pushed for paying tax. Single parents are trying hard to survive and now making them to pay tax is really a very bad thing to said. Michele has no right to say this.
    Jennifer

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