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ę Thursday Morning News Dump | Main | Obama The Great To Wave His Magic Wand And Make Parts Of ObamaCare Disappear Ľ
November 14, 2013

When Conservative Tax Proposals Aren't Very Conservative

While we wait for the ObamaCare disaster of the day (which is now scheduled for 11:35 Obama Time), there's a fight going on on the right for the future political and policy direction of the right. It's one we should all be taking part in and evaluating.

One of the go-to moves for some conservatives on tax policy is the "child tax credit". It combines a couple of things conservatives tend to like...lowering people's tax bills and helping families.

Sen. Mike Lee advocated for an expanded child tax credit in his recent speech at the Heritage Foundation outlining what he sees as the future conservative governing agenda.

AEI economics writer Jim Pethokoukis picked up the theme and Ramesh Ponnuru at National Review has been a long time supporter of the idea.

There has been pushback on the right against the idea of targeted credits vs. across the board cuts. Writing in The Federalist, Scott Lincicome makes the case against approach on economic and political grounds since it essentially co-opts liberal tactics for conservative ends.

Furthermore, conservatives (and libertarians) repeatedly and rightly deride liberal policies which promote preferred classes or lifestyles over others and thereby pit citizen groups against each other for a place at Uncle Samís feeding trough. They also constantly preach clarity and consistency in fiscal policy, including a streamlined and simplified US tax code. Promoting and expanding a direct tax subsidy for child-rearing would fly in the face of these principles, only with a right-leaning, pro-family gloss. And while such a gloss might be laudable, itís entirely inconsistent with the classic conservative/libertarian message that the State is too intrusive and unwieldy, and that Uncle Sam shouldnít be, and isnít capable of, dictating the intimate details of our daily lives.

Instead, a far more ideologically consistent (and, as noted above, economically efficient) policy would be one which eliminates and streamlines the tax code to make it easier for all Americans, not just parents, to pursue happiness and live their lives as fully as possible

There are plenty of people on the right who are quite comfortable with a large federal government, they simply want to see it used for conservative ends. While I agree that pro-family policies are preferable to their liberal alternatives, the real go should be minimizing the role of the federal government in people's lives, everyone's lives. The government shouldn't be picking winners and losers that conservatives favor any more than liberals should be. Once you start arguing that bribing people with their own money (while empowering the federal beast) is a key to winning elections, you're simply engaging in a bidding war the liberals will always win.

Read the whole piece for alternatives on how to reach the same goals but through broad-based policies.

Personally, my goal is to make the government smaller and less invasive for everyone, not just a chosen few. That's the key to maximizing individual happiness and liberty.

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posted by DrewM. at 09:57 AM

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