Spending

Véronique de Rugy: The narrowing gap between our two parties on spending | Winchester star

For the past few years, I have been sounding the alarm about a growing wave of conservatives trying to make Republicans indistinguishable from Democrats when it comes to social spending. Some say that to win elections, Republicans need to pay more attention to families — by that they mean handing out ever more money to families like Democrats do. Exhibit A for this development is the new New Parents Act.

The law has recently been reintroduced by the senses. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Mitt Romney, R-Utah. It’s a massive handout for parents, pretty much regardless of income level. If passed, it would greatly expand the role of the federal government, as it further inflates the deficit and the national debt.

The proposal has many parts, but two best illustrate my point:

First, it would create a federal paid leave program that would allow new parents to advance up to three months of parental leave benefits today by drawing funds from their Social Security retirement benefits. This scheme is based on misconceptions that are difficult to explain. Romney and Rubio ignore the reality that the private sector, not the federal government, is the best provider of paid time off.

In fact, the majority of women today are paid while off work by their employers through various and flexible arrangements and programs. A government program is unlikely to solve the problem that most worries workers who still do not have time off. This is partly because they work in a very small business, are self-employed, or are temporary and/or part-time workers. By forcing the issue with all employers – no matter who ends up footing the bill – it could cost this vulnerable group of women jobs and promotions, as we have seen in many countries with national paid leave programs. .

It’s amazing that senators are even considering using Social Security, an already insolvent program, to provide paid time off, and believe that advanced benefits will be paid back decades later. We cannot tie the hands of future Congressmen, and future politicians are likely to bow to the pressure to cancel these debts when they come due. When this happens, the cost to social security will become enormous.

Second, there is an extended child tax credit that benefits most families, even the wealthiest. The cost would be extreme. According to the plan, “parents would receive a credit of up to $3,500 per child and $4,500 per child for children under age 6.” Imagine a huge credit, fully refundable, with no work or marriage conditions. A family with four children, for example, would not start paying taxes until they earned more than $118,000. Over time, the expanded CTC amounts to $69,000 per child. If you’re worried that this mess will discourage work and marriage, you’d be right, as the work of economist Scott Winship of the American Enterprise Institute shows.

The budgetary cost is also astronomical. A friend of mine has six children aged 4 to 13. She and her husband work and are comfortable enough to take on the responsibility – and the joy – of a large family. But as she recently told me, under the Rubio-Romney regime, “that would mean other people would have to pay $414,000 in taxes to support the family I chose to have.” The elimination by law of the state and local tax deduction would do very little to recoup the cost.

It is not clear if any version of these documents will be promulgated. Democrats support the extended child tax credit, but they do not support using Social Security to provide paid time off. (They prefer an even more expansive and distorting agenda, like the FAMILY Act.) However, the risks are high precisely because beneath every policy lies identical support for using the government to disburse money to every family, even if the evidence says it will backfire on you.

Between the push from some conservatives and Republicans for federal family grants and their new embrace of bailouts and industrial policy, the difference between right and left on economic issues is narrowing dramatically. If many more of them give in to pressure from their more radical peers to reject economic liberalism altogether, the political transformation will be complete.

Véronique de Rugy’s column is syndicated by Creators.