Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 04-02-2011, 09:03 PM
pkbites's Avatar
pkbites pkbites is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Majikal Land O' Cheeze!
Posts: 10,458
More kids=more tax breaks. WHY?

My wife and I had 3 children (2 boys and a girl) all adults now. I think I have some credibility when I say the tax credits we got were unfair to the rest of you.

Well? They were!

Until high school they all attended public schools. Which means we paid the same towards school tax (property tax) as someone who had 2, 1, or no children. Our kids used the parks system 3 times more than childless home owners. There was a 3X greater chance that we used emergency services (police, fire, rescue) than childless people.

If anything, my wife and I should have been taxed more. Yet our taxes didn't go up until our kids grew up and moved away from home.

Folks with even more kids pay even less taxes, while they suckle even more (or at least there is a greater chance the suckle even more) off the system.

Show me how giving tax breaks to breeders helps our overall society/community/neighborhood.
  #2  
Old 04-02-2011, 09:13 PM
Ludy Ludy is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Up Stage Right
Posts: 1,593
The reason I have always heard is that it's in the governments best interest to have its population procreating. At least enough to replace the parents. That way they ensure that there is a sufficient next generation to pay taxes.
  #3  
Old 04-02-2011, 09:22 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: rhode island
Posts: 39,321
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ludy View Post
The reason I have always heard is that it's in the governments best interest to have its population procreating. At least enough to replace the parents. That way they ensure that there is a sufficient next generation to pay taxes.
Yup. Those kids will pay the SS for the people who don't have children, plus I think we all have a responsibility to see that children are taken care of.

In a more practical sense, children who grow uneducated and impoverished create a lot of problems for everyone else.
  #4  
Old 04-02-2011, 09:28 PM
Left Hand of Dorkness's Avatar
Left Hand of Dorkness Left Hand of Dorkness is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: at the right hand of cool
Posts: 39,308
The tax breaks help pay for the kids' food. Since the parents are the citizens who are footing the bill for these other citizens, the government gives the adult-citizens a tax break to offset their expenses in citizen-care.
  #5  
Old 04-02-2011, 11:08 PM
j666 j666 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Away for a while
Posts: 7,136
It is everyone's responsibility to nurture the next generation.

I am not one of those who believe the only purpose to life is procreation and the continuation of the species, but I do think our social responsibilites include caring for the children as well as the grandparents.

I think parents should get more meaningful tax incentives for raising 'replacement' children.
  #6  
Old 04-02-2011, 11:42 PM
monstro monstro is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 19,694
I need food too, and I'm not only a citizen, but I'm actually contributing to society now. Where's my tax break?

I think if dependants are tax deductable simply because the government wants to encourage population growth, then they would be giving immigrants tax breaks too.
  #7  
Old 04-02-2011, 11:58 PM
Qin Shi Huangdi Qin Shi Huangdi is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: California
Posts: 9,058
So that we do not face a demographic dearth like in Europe and have to import labour from other parts of the world.
  #8  
Old 04-03-2011, 01:12 AM
Tastes of Chocolate Tastes of Chocolate is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: slightly north of center
Posts: 4,682
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstro View Post
I need food too, and I'm not only a citizen, but I'm actually contributing to society now. Where's my tax break?
Your tax break is in the standard deduction that you get for breathing last year.

The US government has decided that it costs something for each person to live, and that every person should get a tax deduction to cover part of that. If you are an adult, you get one deduction. If you are a dependent, than your parent gets to claim your deduction.
  #9  
Old 04-03-2011, 02:20 AM
Nothar Nothar is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 141
Just to clarify some of the terminology being said - there are no tax "deductions" just for having children. There are personal exemptions that act much like a deduction which can usually be claimed for dependent children as well as the taxpayer and spouse, $3,700 for each exemption for tax year 2011. Until tax year 2010 these exemptions would start to be phased out and possibly eliminated all together for high income taxpayers so they would receive no tax benefit from them. For tax years 2010 through 2012 the phase out has been removed.
There is also a child tax credit that is available for dependent children aged 16 and younger which can reduce your tax by up to $1,000 per child. This credit starts to be phased out until eliminated for single filing taxpayers with an AGI of more than $75,000 or joint filing taxpayers with an AGI of more than $110,000.
The criteria for qualifying for the Earned Income Tax Credit is also affected by how many children you have.
Off the top of my head those are the only federal income tax benefits that exist just for having children. This does not take into account things like the dependent care credit which have further criteria for qualifying than just having children.
  #10  
Old 04-03-2011, 06:36 AM
Cheesesteak Cheesesteak is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Lovely Montclair, NJ
Posts: 12,707
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tastes of Chocolate View Post
The US government has decided that it costs something for each person to live, and that every person should get a tax deduction to cover part of that. If you are an adult, you get one deduction. If you are a dependent, than your parent gets to claim your deduction.
If you are a married adult who is not employed, you also get to deduct yourself from your joint tax return.

In terms of property taxes, the family with fewer children can more easily live in a smaller (lower tax) residence. I wouldn't like to see a family of 5 attempt to live in the 400sqft studio I owned as a bachelor, or the 600sqft "2" bedroom unit I lived in as a childless newlywed. If you're childless and choose to live in a sprawling 4 bedroom McMansion, I don't feel a lot of sympathy for your tax situation. And, while you do not take full advantage of the town's services, your future buyer may, and having those services fully funded helps preserve the value of your house.
  #11  
Old 04-03-2011, 08:13 AM
Dangerosa Dangerosa is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota
Posts: 22,174
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstro View Post
I need food too, and I'm not only a citizen, but I'm actually contributing to society now. Where's my tax break?

I think if dependants are tax deductable simply because the government wants to encourage population growth, then they would be giving immigrants tax breaks too.
You get $3,650 for yourself, your partner (if you have one) and each child.

Everyone gets an exemption.

We have two kids and got no tax breaks for them this year, other than their standard exemption.
  #12  
Old 04-03-2011, 10:23 AM
Thudlow Boink's Avatar
Thudlow Boink Thudlow Boink is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Lincoln, IL
Posts: 25,581
The OP seems to be based on the idea that the amount of tax a person (or household) pays is, or should be, tied to the amount of "government" that person uses. But taxes (or at least, income taxes) don't work that way: they're based on how much money you make, and thus, how much you can afford to pay. People with lower incomes pay less than people with higher incomes basically because they (supposedly) can't afford to pay as much. Likewise, people with dependents pay less than people without because, after the expenses of feeding, clothing, etc. the kids, they can't afford to pay as much in taxes. Think of it like tax-deductible business expenses.
  #13  
Old 04-03-2011, 10:32 AM
xoferew xoferew is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 481
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstro View Post
I need food too, and I'm not only a citizen, but I'm actually contributing to society now. Where's my tax break?

I think if dependants are tax deductable simply because the government wants to encourage population growth, then they would be giving immigrants tax breaks too.
Hey, maybe I could adopt you. Then I could give you some food and you could be my tax break! Er, you have to actually provide most of your own food, though. I have some Salad in a Bag and Mallomars I'm willing to share.

I don't know what the law says, but it seems like it might make economic sense to have a bigger tax break for adopting a kid than for raising a child you gave birth to yourself?
  #14  
Old 04-03-2011, 10:52 AM
BlackKnight BlackKnight is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Shadow of the Statue
Posts: 4,337
Perhaps a compromise such as the following:

The first two children give a tax break equal to or slightly greater than that which currently exists. Each additional child gives less, until there is no tax break at all. The exact numbers are debatable, of course, but let's say once you have 4 children you would not get additional tax breaks from a 5th.

Exceptions could be made for multiple births (twins, triplets, etc.), or perhaps just multiple births not resulting from the use of fertility drugs. So let's say you have two children, and want a third. Nature sends you three instead of one, so now you have five. You'd get a break for the amount you'd normally get for a third child, but times three. (That is, the "second" of the triplets would not get you only the break for a forth child, nor would the third triplet get you nothing. Each would get you what a single third child would get you.) However, they all count towards the total. A 6th or 7th child would get you nothing.

Thudlow Boink, that same argument would apply to someone with a low income who spent a lot of money on Girl Scout cookies. After buying all those Thin Mints, they simply can't afford to pay much in taxes. Should they get a tax break?
  #15  
Old 04-03-2011, 11:24 AM
Manda JO Manda JO is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Posts: 10,724
Why shouldn't a kid--first or tenth--get the same deduction as an adult? We don't restrict deductions for any other reason: it's not like you have to be a productive member of society to get one or anything. It doesn't even have to be your income, in the case of a spouse who doesn't work.
  #16  
Old 04-03-2011, 01:41 PM
BlackKnight BlackKnight is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Shadow of the Statue
Posts: 4,337
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manda JO
Why shouldn't a kid--first or tenth--get the same deduction as an adult?
Because they are not adults.

Kids don't get deductions. Their parents (or whoever is claiming them) do.

The reasoning behind my proposal is, put roughly, that the government should not be offering incentives to have children. I just don't see how that's the proper role of government anymore than the opposite - trying to stop people from breeding. If people want to have children, they are certainly free to do so. If they choose not to, that's cool too. Given that schools (etc.) are already paid for by tax dollars, including the taxes of people with no children (which I have no problem with), I don't see why the life choices of some people should be further subsidized.
  #17  
Old 04-03-2011, 01:46 PM
Peremensoe Peremensoe is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 11,928
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackKnight View Post
Given that schools (etc.) are already paid for by tax dollars, including the taxes of people with no children (which I have no problem with), I don't see why the life choices of some people should be further subsidized.
Public schools are not a subsidy for parents, but a service for the whole society. Everyone benefits from decent public schools (or suffers from poor or absent ones).
  #18  
Old 04-03-2011, 02:08 PM
sqweels sqweels is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Edina, MN
Posts: 5,100
I have a very hard time believing that Americans are going to stop having children in large numbers if the child tax credit was abolished.
  #19  
Old 04-03-2011, 02:37 PM
Dangerosa Dangerosa is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota
Posts: 22,174
Quote:
Originally Posted by sqweels View Post
I have a very hard time believing that Americans are going to stop having children in large numbers if the child tax credit was abolished.
Yeah, I've never known anyone who has made the decision to have more children based off the $3600 exemption (not deduction, by the way - its taken off your income, not your taxes - so honestly, it isn't worth much at lower income brackets - it isn't worth much more than $1200 at high income brackets ). And I've never known anyone to not have a child because the tax breaks weren't large enough.

Not much of an incentive to have kids. Taking it away wouldn't be a disincentive to have kids. It would make raising those kids a lot more difficult for a lot of families.

And if we are going to take away the exemptions for just existing, lets just take away them all. Why bother with exemptions? Just expand (or don't) the floor at which income is non-taxable. What makes someone's non-working partner worthy of an exemption, or retirees?
  #20  
Old 04-03-2011, 03:08 PM
SmartAlecCat SmartAlecCat is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 1,132
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dangerosa View Post
it isn't worth much at lower income brackets
[...]
[Taking it away] would make raising those kids a lot more difficult for a lot of families.
Is that contradictory?
  #21  
Old 04-03-2011, 03:30 PM
doreen doreen is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Woodhaven,Queens, NY
Posts: 5,711
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackKnight View Post
Because they are not adults.

Kids don't get deductions. Their parents (or whoever is claiming them) do.
Whoever is claiming them gets the exemption , but what people seem to forget in these conversations is that there isn't an exemption for a child- there is an exemption for a dependent. There's a slight difference between the rules for a dependent child and one for a dependent relative ( and most kids will qualify under the rules for relatives), but if one person can claim an exemption for a spouse living in the same household who doesn't earn income and another for his mother who lives with him, who doesn't earn an income and whom he supports , I don't see why a third shouldn't get the same exemption for his child who lives with him, doesn't earn an income and whom he supports.


Quote:
Thudlow Boink, that same argument would apply to someone with a low income who spent a lot of money on Girl Scout cookies. After buying all those Thin Mints, they simply can't afford to pay much in taxes. Should they get a tax break?
No, but Thudlow Boink was talking about how many people the income on the tax return is supporting. If I earn X dollars per year and can only claim an exemption for myself, I will pay more in taxes than if that same income is supporting both myself and my husband. If I am supporting my husband, my mother and myself on that same income, my taxes will be lower still.

(which by the way, is my understanding of the reason for dependent exemptions- not to encourage procreation, but to account for the fact that a two person household is not in the same financial situation as a single person household with the same income)
  #22  
Old 04-03-2011, 03:44 PM
Claverhouse Claverhouse is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 4,169
Because having a population that can read and write will be an advantage. Further, as American public schools pursue the Arnoldian ideal and provide a humane education in the classical sense they will turn out thoughtful, gracious, polite future citizens who are exemplars of civil discourse and the examined life.


A small price for society to pay.
__________________
The efficiency and success of the Italian aviators in Tripoli are noteworthy, but must not be overvalued. There were no opponents in the air.

v. Bernhardi ---- Germany and the Next War
  #23  
Old 04-03-2011, 06:08 PM
Dangerosa Dangerosa is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota
Posts: 22,174
Quote:
Originally Posted by SmartAlecCat View Post
Is that contradictory?
It isn't worth much to me, but for someone making $20k a year, $540 in a tax break is a lot of money - once you HAVE kids. $540 a year in a tax break probably isn't going to make people think "wow! we should have more kids." It makes it EASIER to raise kids when you are working poor - it doesn't make it profitable.

Likewise, when you want kids, saying "well, the government is only going to give me a max of $1200 a year for them" isn't exactly pushing you towards childlessness.

(If we want to go for unfair, why do we deduct exemptions from the INCOME, making them worth more to people who make more? - if it were fair, it would be at tax credit - everyone gets a $500 break).
  #24  
Old 04-03-2011, 07:20 PM
RickJay RickJay is offline
Charter Jays Fan
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Oakville, Canada
Posts: 39,966
Quote:
Originally Posted by pkbites View Post
Until high school they all attended public schools. Which means we paid the same towards school tax (property tax) as someone who had 2, 1, or no children.
Most taxpayers went to public schools themselves, though. And your children will grow up to be taxpayers.

In fact, the great majority of taxpayers pay for a public school system they themselves use for about the same amount of time. Granted, some people never become taxpayers, but then, their use of the school system tends to be proportional to the likelihood they will pay tax. And some people who immigrate in after their schooling years will pay the tax without using the system themselves, but that seems a fair price to pay for the privilege of being allowed to immigrate. For the most part, though, every user pays when they get out of school and get a job. It seems pretty fair to me.
  #25  
Old 04-03-2011, 07:59 PM
Manda JO Manda JO is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Posts: 10,724
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackKnight View Post
Because they are not adults.

Kids don't get deductions. Their parents (or whoever is claiming them) do.

The reasoning behind my proposal is, put roughly, that the government should not be offering incentives to have children. I just don't see how that's the proper role of government anymore than the opposite - trying to stop people from breeding.
But, to springboard off Doreen's excellent post, what you are proposing is trying to stop people from breeding--or at least, serving as a dis-incentive. All dependents get a deduction if you pay for over 50% of their support. If you don't pay for their support--they pay for themselves--then THEY get the deduction. But every single body in America counts as somebody's deduction. Putting third or fifth or tenth kids in a special category is actively discouraging people from breeding.

I mean, by your logic, could a 16 year old fifth child who had a job claim themselves? When does their second-class citizenship wear off? If they quit their job when they start college and are now 18, can their parents start claiming them, or do they go back to not counting?

Last edited by Manda JO; 04-03-2011 at 07:59 PM.
  #26  
Old 04-03-2011, 10:12 PM
Aestivalis Aestivalis is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Lisle, IL
Posts: 578
Quote:
Originally Posted by xoferew View Post
I don't know what the law says, but it seems like it might make economic sense to have a bigger tax break for adopting a kid than for raising a child you gave birth to yourself?
You do!
  #27  
Old 04-03-2011, 11:21 PM
Snowboarder Bo's Avatar
Snowboarder Bo Snowboarder Bo is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Las Vegas
Posts: 23,498
Quote:
Originally Posted by spark240 View Post
Public schools are not a subsidy for parents, but a service for the whole society. Everyone benefits from decent public schools (or suffers from poor or absent ones).
The argument was not against publicly funded schools, but against the fact that people with children pay less tax than a childless person.

I've never understood this stance by our government. It's pretty clear, IMO, that childless people subsidize families with children.

Last edited by Snowboarder Bo; 04-03-2011 at 11:22 PM.
  #28  
Old 04-04-2011, 12:08 AM
ITR champion ITR champion is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Indiana
Posts: 10,124
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackKnight View Post
The reasoning behind my proposal is, put roughly, that the government should not be offering incentives to have children. I just don't see how that's the proper role of government ... I don't see why the life choices of some people should be further subsidized.
Having children is not a 'life choice' in the manner of wearing plaid pants, playing golf, or eating sushi. It's the fundamental thing that has to happen for society to survive, and consequently a large part of what all successful societies focus on.

Besides which, if you think it's not the government's role to subsidize things, why not complain about subsidies for ethanol, or for home ownership, or for the oil industry?
  #29  
Old 04-04-2011, 09:27 AM
Dangerosa Dangerosa is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota
Posts: 22,174
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aestivalis View Post
Though for most Americans, adoption happens mostly out of pocket. Childbirth is insured. So while you get a tax break for adopting (and only if you don't make too much money), its usually still WAY cheaper out of pocket to have a bio child.

(I'm both a bio parent and an adoptive parent. I don't like the adoption tax credit. Giving middle class parents a tax break to adopt healthy Chinese girls doesn't seem like its doing anything but pandering. Tax breaks to take on kids that are wards of the state - sure.)
  #30  
Old 04-04-2011, 09:42 AM
RickJay RickJay is offline
Charter Jays Fan
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Oakville, Canada
Posts: 39,966
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowboarder Bo View Post
The argument was not against publicly funded schools, but against the fact that people with children pay less tax than a childless person.

I've never understood this stance by our government. It's pretty clear, IMO, that childless people subsidize families with children.
I'm sorry, but it is not.

Again, every citizen is given an opportunity to attend public school. Every citizen then pays taxes. Their payment towards the public school system is made at a different time - since children make lousy taxpayers - but in fact it's mostly one user, one payer. We have all kinds of systems whereby you pay tax at a different time than the time you earn the benefits - Social Security and old age pensions are an obvious example where you pay years before you get the benefit. In the case of public schools, you pay AFTER you get the benefit.

Did you go to public school? I did. So did most people. Public school is offered to every resident. So now I'm paying tax for kids to go to school, but it's just as logical to state that I'm paying for ME having using public schools.
  #31  
Old 04-04-2011, 10:01 AM
Snowboarder Bo's Avatar
Snowboarder Bo Snowboarder Bo is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Las Vegas
Posts: 23,498
Quote:
Originally Posted by RickJay View Post
I'm sorry, but it is not.

Again, every citizen is given an opportunity to attend public school. Every citizen then pays taxes. Their payment towards the public school system is made at a different time - since children make lousy taxpayers - but in fact it's mostly one user, one payer. We have all kinds of systems whereby you pay tax at a different time than the time you earn the benefits - Social Security and old age pensions are an obvious example where you pay years before you get the benefit. In the case of public schools, you pay AFTER you get the benefit.

Did you go to public school? I did. So did most people. Public school is offered to every resident. So now I'm paying tax for kids to go to school, but it's just as logical to state that I'm paying for ME having using public schools.
I have no problem paying for public schools. Neither does the OP. We are all better off because people can read (and do math, and know some basic science, history, etc.). Why do people keep harping on the public school thing, as if anyone had a problem with it?
  #32  
Old 04-04-2011, 10:57 AM
RickJay RickJay is offline
Charter Jays Fan
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Oakville, Canada
Posts: 39,966
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowboarder Bo View Post
I have no problem paying for public schools. Neither does the OP. We are all better off because people can read (and do math, and know some basic science, history, etc.). Why do people keep harping on the public school thing, as if anyone had a problem with it?
I didn't say you did or did not have a problem with it. What I am objecting to is the notion that people without children are subsidizing people with them.

That just doesn't make a lot of sense, because it ignores the fungible nature of money; it's far more logical to state that every taxpayer is paying for their own public school education. If that taxpayer then has six kids, we have to pay for that now, but that also produces six more taxpayers, who will pay when their time comes.
  #33  
Old 04-04-2011, 04:07 PM
iamthewalrus(:3= iamthewalrus(:3= is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Santa Barbara, CA
Posts: 11,146
Quote:
Originally Posted by ITR champion View Post
Having children is not a 'life choice' in the manner of wearing plaid pants, playing golf, or eating sushi. It's the fundamental thing that has to happen for society to survive, and consequently a large part of what all successful societies focus on.
I don't buy this line of argument. Having kids is one of many requirements for society to survive. We also need to farm, build roads, mine fuel, etc.

The idea that you can pick one of those things and say that it's somehow most important because without it society would perish is a non-starter. Without any of the things listed we'd devolve into a mass of agony and famine, but that doesn't mean that it makes sense to provide a subsidy for that behavior. Particularly when we're not particularly lacking it. Society somehow managed to perpetuate itself for millenia before the income tax child exemption was established, and I'm sure it would continue to do so in the absence of one.

That said, I have no problem with the concept of an income tax system where part of the calculation for tax paid is how many people that income is supporting. But, out of a sense of fairness, not because we need to reward people monetarily for having children.
  #34  
Old 04-04-2011, 04:23 PM
Voyager's Avatar
Voyager Voyager is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Deep Space
Posts: 44,080
Quote:
Originally Posted by iamthewalrus(:3= View Post
I don't buy this line of argument. Having kids is one of many requirements for society to survive. We also need to farm,
Subsidized
Quote:
build roads,
Way subsidized
Quote:
mine fuel, etc.
Subsidized, unfortunately. People who mine fuel make money at it, unlike parents (neglecting Lindsay Lohan's father. )

Quote:
The idea that you can pick one of those things and say that it's somehow most important because without it society would perish is a non-starter. Without any of the things listed we'd devolve into a mass of agony and famine, but that doesn't mean that it makes sense to provide a subsidy for that behavior. Particularly when we're not particularly lacking it. Society somehow managed to perpetuate itself for millenia before the income tax child exemption was established, and I'm sure it would continue to do so in the absence of one.
Society back then didn't have income tax. And poor people had lots of kids both to support them when they were old and because they expected a lot of them would die.
Quote:
That said, I have no problem with the concept of an income tax system where part of the calculation for tax paid is how many people that income is supporting. But, out of a sense of fairness, not because we need to reward people monetarily for having children.
But that is exactly what the exemption does - it puts a small amount of taxable income, needed to stay alive for each person, out of the range of the taxman. It is also progressive, as has been hinted at. Our youngest is no longer a dependent, but the slight increase in taxes from that was in the noise. Someone making a lot less gets a lot more relative benefit from it. Which is good.
A lot of countries in Europe gave substantial benefits for kids at one time, I'm not sure it is still true. Here, anyone thinking he or she will profit from the exemption versus the cost of a kid is a blockhead.
  #35  
Old 04-04-2011, 06:46 PM
Damuri Ajashi Damuri Ajashi is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 20,056
The tax break for children is NOT an incentive to have more children.

The income tax code for good or ill tries to tax those who can best bear the burden of the tax, so we tax the poor less than we tax the rich. We recognize that family with 3 children and an invalid grandparent can pay less in taxes than a single woman with the same income so we tax them differently.

Now that your kids are out of the house, you can afford more in taxes than you used to so we charge you more.

The issue of public education is an entirely different matter. I think its pretty well established that society benefits from a well educated populace.
  #36  
Old 04-04-2011, 06:47 PM
Damuri Ajashi Damuri Ajashi is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 20,056
Quote:
Originally Posted by iamthewalrus(:3= View Post
I don't buy this line of argument. Having kids is one of many requirements for society to survive. We also need to farm, build roads, mine fuel, etc.

The idea that you can pick one of those things and say that it's somehow most important because without it society would perish is a non-starter. Without any of the things listed we'd devolve into a mass of agony and famine, but that doesn't mean that it makes sense to provide a subsidy for that behavior. Particularly when we're not particularly lacking it. Society somehow managed to perpetuate itself for millenia before the income tax child exemption was established, and I'm sure it would continue to do so in the absence of one.

That said, I have no problem with the concept of an income tax system where part of the calculation for tax paid is how many people that income is supporting. But, out of a sense of fairness, not because we need to reward people monetarily for having children.
The drive to procreate is sufficient to ensure procreation without tax incentives. I've heard of people having induced delivery on December 31 for tax reasons but I have never heard of someone having a child for the tax deduction.
  #37  
Old 04-04-2011, 06:58 PM
ITR champion ITR champion is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Indiana
Posts: 10,124
Quote:
Originally Posted by iamthewalrus(:3= View Post
I don't buy this line of argument. Having kids is one of many requirements for society to survive. We also need to farm, build roads, mine fuel, etc.

The idea that you can pick one of those things and say that it's somehow most important because without it society would perish is a non-starter.
Crops, roads, and fuel are resources that we harvest, build, or mine in order to support our society. Children are not a resource that we harvest to support our society. Children are society. To me, it's comparing children to crops are anything else that's a non-starter, because it's plain that all aspects of the success of our society in the long term depend on having children first and foremost. Raising children has to be the first priority or else everything will be falling apart in a generation. Roads and fuel and so forth are important but are nonetheless secondary priorities underneath child-rearing.
  #38  
Old 04-04-2011, 07:10 PM
woodstockbirdybird woodstockbirdybird is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Oakland, CA
Posts: 6,426
Quote:
Originally Posted by RickJay View Post
I'm sorry, but it is not.

Again, every citizen is given an opportunity to attend public school. Every citizen then pays taxes. Their payment towards the public school system is made at a different time - since children make lousy taxpayers - but in fact it's mostly one user, one payer. We have all kinds of systems whereby you pay tax at a different time than the time you earn the benefits - Social Security and old age pensions are an obvious example where you pay years before you get the benefit. In the case of public schools, you pay AFTER you get the benefit.

Did you go to public school? I did. So did most people. Public school is offered to every resident. So now I'm paying tax for kids to go to school, but it's just as logical to state that I'm paying for ME having using public schools.
What does paying for schools have to do with tax credits for parents? Those tax credits don't go to the schools, they go to the parents. That's what Snowboarder Bo meant when he said the childless subsidize those with children.
  #39  
Old 04-04-2011, 08:03 PM
Dangerosa Dangerosa is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota
Posts: 22,174
Quote:
Originally Posted by woodstockbirdybird View Post
What does paying for schools have to do with tax credits for parents? Those tax credits don't go to the schools, they go to the parents. That's what Snowboarder Bo meant when he said the childless subsidize those with children.
Bo isn't subsidizing my children. I have to report their income. And their income tax is higher than their exemption. So he doesn't need to worry about mine.
  #40  
Old 04-04-2011, 08:27 PM
Snowboarder Bo's Avatar
Snowboarder Bo Snowboarder Bo is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Las Vegas
Posts: 23,498
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dangerosa View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by woodstockbirdybird View Post
What does paying for schools have to do with tax credits for parents? Those tax credits don't go to the schools, they go to the parents. That's what Snowboarder Bo meant when he said the childless subsidize those with children.
Bo isn't subsidizing my children. I have to report their income. And their income tax is higher than their exemption. So he doesn't need to worry about mine.
woodstockbirdybird understood what I meant, but I'm not sure you're argument about your kids' income is correct. How old are your children? Were they making an income at, say, 0-16 years old?

Even if yours were, most children under the age of 16 aren't making any taxable income at all, and so childless people are paying more taxes that build roads, schools, and all the other things that taxes pay for that benefit a family that gets a tax break.

In other words, childless people are subsidizing families with children, and other than the vague notion that society as a whole will be better at some point in the future (i.e., when the kids are grown up, functioning adults), there's really no guaranteed benefit at all for the childless, but plenty of immediate (and hopefully future) benefit for the family with children.

Last edited by Snowboarder Bo; 04-04-2011 at 08:28 PM.
  #41  
Old 04-04-2011, 08:44 PM
Dangerosa Dangerosa is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota
Posts: 22,174
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowboarder Bo View Post
woodstockbirdybird understood what I meant, but I'm not sure you're argument about your kids' income is correct. How old are your children? Were they making an income at, say, 0-16 years old?

Even if yours were, most children under the age of 16 aren't making any taxable income at all, and so childless people are paying more taxes that build roads, schools, and all the other things that taxes pay for that benefit a family that gets a tax break.

In other words, childless people are subsidizing families with children, and other than the vague notion that society as a whole will be better at some point in the future (i.e., when the kids are grown up, functioning adults), there's really no guaranteed benefit at all for the childless, but plenty of immediate (and hopefully future) benefit for the family with children.
11 and 12. Yes, they make income - capital gains, dividends - and have since they were toddlers, and make enough that their tax on those gains exceed their exemption.

Of course, my tax this year was probably more than most people on this board made last year. My husband, children and I are VERY busy subsidizing people who are less fortunate than we are with our tax dollars.
  #42  
Old 04-04-2011, 09:33 PM
Magiver Magiver is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Dayton Ohio USA
Posts: 27,734
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dangerosa View Post
11 and 12. Yes, they make income - capital gains, dividends - and have since they were toddlers, and make enough that their tax on those gains exceed their exemption.

Of course, my tax this year was probably more than most people on this board made last year. My husband, children and I are VERY busy subsidizing people who are less fortunate than we are with our tax dollars.
Are your children TV stars or did you redistribute money to them?
  #43  
Old 04-04-2011, 09:50 PM
kunilou's Avatar
kunilou kunilou is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Posts: 23,946
Quote:
Originally Posted by pkbites View Post
Until high school they all attended public schools. Which means we paid the same towards school tax (property tax) as someone who had 2, 1, or no children.
Both my sisters and I spent most of our elementary and secondary years in private schools, so my parents not only paid the same property tax as someone with no children, they also paid out of their pocket to NOT send us to public schools.

And of course there were all those years my mother didn't work outside the home. Why should she have gotten the same tax break for the years she didn't work as for the years she did?
  #44  
Old 04-04-2011, 11:15 PM
Snowboarder Bo's Avatar
Snowboarder Bo Snowboarder Bo is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Las Vegas
Posts: 23,498
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dangerosa View Post
11 and 12. Yes, they make income - capital gains, dividends - and have since they were toddlers, and make enough that their tax on those gains exceed their exemption.

Of course, my tax this year was probably more than most people on this board made last year. My husband, children and I are VERY busy subsidizing people who are less fortunate than we are with our tax dollars.
I'm also subsidizing many people less fortunate than I am, and really have no problem with that. What was your point in bringing it up?
  #45  
Old 04-05-2011, 05:03 AM
Manda JO Manda JO is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Posts: 10,724
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowboarder Bo View Post
In other words, childless people are subsidizing families with children, and other than the vague notion that society as a whole will be better at some point in the future (i.e., when the kids are grown up, functioning adults), there's really no guaranteed benefit at all for the childless, but plenty of immediate (and hopefully future) benefit for the family with children.
Are they also subsidizing families that are supporting Grandma, or a non-working spouse? I don't understand why an exemption for dependent children is any different than any other dependent exemption.
  #46  
Old 04-05-2011, 07:25 AM
Dangerosa Dangerosa is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota
Posts: 22,174
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowboarder Bo View Post
I'm also subsidizing many people less fortunate than I am, and really have no problem with that. What was your point in bringing it up?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manda JO View Post
Are they also subsidizing families that are supporting Grandma, or a non-working spouse? I don't understand why an exemption for dependent children is any different than any other dependent exemption.
Manda Jo got it in one. Why kids? Why not anyone who pays less taxes than you or is currently getting more out of our government than they put in.

Most of my kid's income is theirs. The original principal was gifts. They have investment accounts.
  #47  
Old 04-05-2011, 08:41 AM
Malthus Malthus is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Toronto
Posts: 18,184
Quote:
Originally Posted by woodstockbirdybird View Post
What does paying for schools have to do with tax credits for parents? Those tax credits don't go to the schools, they go to the parents. That's what Snowboarder Bo meant when he said the childless subsidize those with children.
I don't think you understand the point that money is fungible.

It doesn't matter that tax credits "go to the parents". The net effect is that parents pay less in taxes than non-parents.

Why is this fair? Because it is progressive. Parents have higher costs than non-parents, because they have dependents. Their income must support more individuals, who have certain irreducable basic needs for food, shelter, and the like.

It is the same reason that individuals have deductions - the government, in its infinite wisdom, has determined that average tax rates be lower for poor folk; one way of doing this, of making the tax system somewhat progressive, is to have a basic deduction for each individual (another way is to increase marginal tax rates for folks earning more money). Thus, the government will not dip into the bare pittance needed by the individual to survive.

In the case of adults with dependants, they get to count this deduction as well as their own - because they are responsible for feeding, sheltering and clothing other humans.

The fact is that the childless are better-off at this basic, subsistence level than those with kids: their incomes may be the same, but their basic, irreducable expenses for absolute necessities such as food and shelter are not.

I suppose some sort of fairness argument can be made that progressive taxation is, in some cosmic sense, "unfair" - and that a flat tax be imposed, no deductions and no increase in marginal tax rate for high earners. Certainly this would have the effect of greatly increasing the tax burden on low earners, and decrease the burden on high earners (as it is, high earners"subsidize" a great many folk).
  #48  
Old 04-05-2011, 09:30 AM
even sven even sven is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: DC
Posts: 19,401
Most people, at some point in their life, have children.

Basically, we decided it makes sense to pay slightly higher taxes during the periods that we do not have children dependent on us so that we can pay slightly lower taxes during the periods that we do.

The fact that those who do not ever have children never get the benefit of this restructuring is unfortunate, but does not mean that "those who do not have children subsidize those who do. Mostly, it's those that do not currently have children are subsidizing those that currently do, and when it's all averaged out, mostly people are subsidizing themselves during their childrearing years.
  #49  
Old 04-05-2011, 09:41 AM
Malthus Malthus is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Toronto
Posts: 18,184
I think the question is fundamentally misconceived. Generally, basic taxation is not based on some notion of user fees, but on ability to pay. Usually, taxation has progressive features, so that those who are poor (low income) or otherwise impaired in ability to pay (have dependants) pay less as an overall percentage.

This has nothing to do with "fairness" in terms of payment-for-use, as very often the poor and those with dependants use more in tax money-funded government resources than the not-poor and those without dependants.

In short, it is not a bug, it's a feature - and one that most, the extreme right wing aside, agree with.
  #50  
Old 04-05-2011, 10:41 AM
woodstockbirdybird woodstockbirdybird is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Oakland, CA
Posts: 6,426
Quote:
Originally Posted by Malthus View Post
I don't think you understand the point that money is fungible.

It doesn't matter that tax credits "go to the parents". The net effect is that parents pay less in taxes than non-parents.

Why is this fair? Because it is progressive. Parents have higher costs than non-parents, because they have dependents. Their income must support more individuals, who have certain irreducable basic needs for food, shelter, and the like.

It is the same reason that individuals have deductions - the government, in its infinite wisdom, has determined that average tax rates be lower for poor folk; one way of doing this, of making the tax system somewhat progressive, is to have a basic deduction for each individual (another way is to increase marginal tax rates for folks earning more money). Thus, the government will not dip into the bare pittance needed by the individual to survive.

In the case of adults with dependants, they get to count this deduction as well as their own - because they are responsible for feeding, sheltering and clothing other humans.

The fact is that the childless are better-off at this basic, subsistence level than those with kids: their incomes may be the same, but their basic, irreducable expenses for absolute necessities such as food and shelter are not.

I suppose some sort of fairness argument can be made that progressive taxation is, in some cosmic sense, "unfair" - and that a flat tax be imposed, no deductions and no increase in marginal tax rate for high earners. Certainly this would have the effect of greatly increasing the tax burden on low earners, and decrease the burden on high earners (as it is, high earners"subsidize" a great many folk).
Hey, I have kids, and I qualified for the EIC for most of their childhoods. But, as a responsible parent, I made sure I could afford to feed and clothe them before I had them, so my tax credit didn't go toward any basic necessities - it was basically extra spending money for frivolous items (or money to put into savings). Most people I knew who got the credit used it similarly. I'm sure some parents use it for food and clothing, but it was never my experience.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:19 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017