November 07, 2017

Trump’s Tax Plan Encourages Abortion

There are no sacred cows in the Republican quest to cut taxes

by Chris Thomas

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Image via freestocks.org

In order to get the Republican Tax Cut through the Senate without the possibility of a Democratic filibuster the GOP has to keep the cut from increasing the deficit by more than $1.5 trillion dollars over the next decade. In order to beat that $1.5 trillion dollar deficit-cap, the bill eliminates or curtails a lot of tax breaks without much regard for what those cuts mean beyond simple arithmetic.

Pernicious Incentives

This is not to say that the goal of the GOP tax plan is to encourage abortion, crater the sub-urban housing market, cut teacher salaries, or jack up the cost of daycare. Republicans just need corners that they can cut to finance a tax cut for the 1% and those decisions have consequences. Tax policy is about incentive and the incentives in the Republican Tax Cut are pernicious.

The Incredible Shrinking Child Tax Credit

While most exemptions in the bill are indexed to the rate of inflation, the child tax credit is not. This leaves the credit, and a substantial portion of the tax-cut promised to the middle class, vulnerable to the sort of weak dollar economic policies pursued during the Bush years. Of course, it also drives the cost of the provision down and allows the bill’s supporters to crow about the benefits parents will see in 2018 while glossing over how those benefits will shrink with time.

The End of the Medical Expense Deduction

As the Republican Party was unable to marshal the votes to repeal Obamacare, the party’s strategy has shifted towards financially undermining the ACA. The Republican Tax Plan contributes to this goal by eliminating a policy which allowed the deduction of large medical expenses. In conjunction with President Trump’s attempts to starve Obamacare, this will force a lot of Americans to make hard decisions about medical expenses, including pregnancy.

The Elimination of the Adoption Tax Credit

Adoption is stupidly expensive. The average new car costs less than the average adoption, but you can’t finance children. The federal government helps defray that cost significantly, offsetting adoption expenses with generous tax credits. Ending the adoption tax credit puts that cost back on the adopting family and will almost certainly shrink the pool of candidate families, making adoption an even less viable alternative for non-white children.

Result: A Pro-Abortion Tax Bill

The result of these three provisions is a strong economic incentive to abort pregnancies. Certainly the bill also discourages getting pregnant in the first place, but an expectant mother has essentially three options: abortion, adoption, or motherhood.

The elimination of the Medical Expense deduction makes giving birth ruinously expensive for lower-income families. This, in and of itself makes both the parenthood and adoptive options tremendously expensive as adoption agencies rarely if ever assist with maternity expenses.

The shrinking of the Child Tax Credit makes raising children an increasingly pricey prospect, effectively disincentivizing parenthood through biological or adoptive means.

That leaves the adoption tax credit. Adoption is a sacrifice to begin with and adoptive parents are often taking on real health challenges on behalf of the child they welcome into their lives. This, on top of the substantial costs of adoption as a legal process leaves would-be adoptive parents especially vulnerable to changes in the tax code.

If pregnant, lower-income women can’t afford to give birth to children, can’t afford to raise children, and few would-be parents can afford to adopt them, that leaves one choice.

Tell Congress what you think!

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