The idea stems from a ludicrous opinion from American journalist Reihan Salam, who believes childless citizens should pay more taxes, while those with kids should pay less. Salam reckons that in order to give working families a fair go, those without children who earn over the average wage bracket (AU$57,400) should cough up the extra cash. Those with a family, he says, should pay approximately $5000 less.
“By shifting the tax burden from parents to non-parent, we will help give America’s children a better start in life, and we will help correct a simple injustice,” he writes.
“We all benefit from the work of parents. Each new generation reinvigorates our society with its youthful vim and vigour.”
According to a study by the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling, the pinch of a tighter economy means it’ll cost you around $400,000 to raise a child until the age of 21. Middle-income families were hit with the biggest increases, with spending up by 50 per cent from 2007.
It’s a noble gesture and Salam has good intentions. While the days of the Baby Bonus are well and truly over, the Federal Government replaced the one-off payment with a rate increase of the Family Tax Benefit. This means that as of March 1, 2014, parents receive a $2000 payment for their first child. For any subsequent children the payment is a lesser $1000. Wonder where that’s coming from? Oh that’s right. Our tax dollars. Then there’s Paid Parental Leave, where a new parent is allowed a maximum 18-weeks off work at a minimum wage salary of $622.10 per week. Then there’s the Parenting Payment for single parents or guardians, and the Dad & Partner Pay scheme, which gives dads two weeks of government-funded pay based on minimum wage. None of which is available in the United States.
So while it’s all fine and dandy to lump the financial woes of family onto those without, it’s important to note that we’re already doing our bit — and paying a higher marginal tax rate while we’re at it.
That’s not the tax we pay on the extra bits; public schools, parks, health care and childcare subsidies. What do you think?
Some extracts taken from news.com.au