A Modest Proposal: Tax the Childless

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Reihan Salam, columnist for Slate and lead writer of the Agenda for the National Review, argues that the tax code should be made friendlier to parents -- and that people without kids should pay more to help them out. He'll make his case and take your calls.


Reihan Salam

Comments [190]

Ernie Dye

ABSOLUTELY NOT. If you cannot afford kids - DON'T HAVE ANY! I am tired of paying more taxes than my married with kids coworker. I work just as hard and get the same hourly wages but he pays a third of what I pay in various taxes. How about giving me a tax cut so I can buy cat food and litter for what I consider my children. I'll also whole-heartedly agree with the person who complained about having to pay school taxes for the property he owns even though he has no child in the school. Some taxes are fair, like gas taxes being used to help pay for road repair - I mean if you are buying gas you are obviously driving on the roads so chip in. Other taxes are not fair - in the San Francisco Bay area, if you buy a car you pay a tax to help pay for the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) commuter train - why? I mean I am buying car, not riding a train, let the people riding the train pay for it, same with busses. I walk to work in 10 minutes and have probably been on a city bus 20 times in 20 years, I'll gladly pay $3 or $4 to ride it when I need to or want to, but when subsidies and taxes keep the fare down to a $1.50 or so the busses are all too often filled with homeless people trying to stay out of the bad weather. We have Spare the Air days here when the air quality is so low they city decides the busses and train are FREE (to entice people to ride the bus rather than drive - then all the trains and busses stink to high heaven because the homeless camp out on them all day for free...
I personally don't care if someone's kids grow up stupid, if you want them educated, YOU PAY FOR IT...

May. 02 2014 06:01 PM

This suggestion is disgusting, insulting and infuriating. First of all, it makes the ignorant assumption that all people without children are childless by choice. So you're going to say people who can't have children should pay more? Will you pay for the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars that fertility treatments cost, which health insurance won't cover at all? People like you and your asinine position is what turns other people into "hateful curmudgeons".

That says nothing of the fact that many childless couples or individuals already pay school taxes because they own property. So let the people with children start paying exclusively for their child's education and then maybe we can talk about more tax breaks for them and tax penalties for people without children and not until then. Then there is the well documented issue that the poorest people typically have the most children. So we're already subsidizing them popping out children like rabbits, despite not having the fiscal responsibility to pay for those children. Many of these people pay zero in taxes and still get tax rebates, which would be ludicrous if it weren't true. Further, our population has continued to grow at a rapid rate. We don't need an even larger population, we need less of one. We're already straining our resources as it is. This your argument, Mr. Salaam, is horribly myopic.

Better to not have children than for the countless people who have children who shouldn't, because they are unprepared to be good parents. That is FAR more dangerous to our society.

Apr. 15 2014 09:07 AM
Inxy from Calif.

You are required to have a license to drive, to go fishing, or hunting. But anyone can have kids. They get to raise them with no training or money. Shouldn't people who want kids have to go through training and get a license and at least be able to pay for them? Most of these "oops" kids are filling are jails to full capacity. Of course that is because the good ole USA has more people incarcerated than any other country in the world. (Its a money maker).

I'm personally not a breeder and I think that is what we need more of "non breeders". In fact there should be a bonus in our tax return for it.

Apr. 15 2014 05:26 AM
Alex from Currently Afghanistan

Here's the thing. In order to stay at sustainment rate, every couple in the country needs to have two children, not counting for immigration and emigration. If they have more than that, that actually puts us at a positive growth rate, which is a good thing. Countries with a negative growth will be weaker economically and militarily. In the eyes of the government, the survival of child-producing people is actually somewhat more beneficial than non-child-producing people.

Apr. 15 2014 12:08 AM
Stephen from Arizona

Childless people are already discriminated against enough in our society.Enslaving others because one feels the need to multiply is an archaic approach to overpopulation and reeks of a supremacist attitude.

Apr. 14 2014 01:12 PM
JBT from Louisiaba

REALLY!!!!!!! My husband and I are childless, NOT BY CHOICE!!! This is just utterly me more.....WHY!!!!! How about you give me a child or two to claim on my taxes whose mother/father don't work, live on welfare, food stamps and their children have free medical insurance!!!!!!! Seems we are the ones paying for their daily needs already. The government needs to look into the ones who continue to get enormous refunds while making minimal money because they are screwing the system..... I have witnessed people bragging about their refund being thousands of dollars b/c they claim seperated from their spouse and they each claim a child or two ....... really!!!!!! What is this country becoming?????????

Apr. 14 2014 12:53 PM
JBT from Louisiaba

REALLY!!!!!!! My husband and I are childless, NOT BY CHOICE!!! This is just utterly me more.....WHY!!!!! How about you give me a child or two to claim on my taxes whose mother/father don't work, live on welfare, food stamps and their children have free medical insurance!!!!!!! Seems we are the ones paying for their daily needs already. The government needs to look into the ones who continue to get enormous refunds while making minimal money because they are screwing the system..... I have witnessed people bragging about their refund being thousands of dollars b/c they claim seperated from their spouse and they each claim a child or two ....... really!!!!!! What is this country becoming?????????

Apr. 14 2014 12:53 PM
Patti from Chicao, IL

What an idiot! What about the $9,500.00 I pay annually to the school district in my town WHERE I DO NOT HAVE ANY KIDS coming to school!
Can I get that money back? What about all my tax pay $$ which are going to pay for Mom's which decide to get pregnant before getting married OR avoid getting married because MY STATE taxes pay for that as well.
The chances of your kids paying for my SS# benefits past the age of 80 are SLIM!
It's people like you that are turning this country upside down.
STOP SPENDING FOOLISH WASHINGTON and with the money you take out of our paychecks every week will cover everything. STOP THE "I'm entitled" programs!!!!

Apr. 14 2014 10:19 AM
steve from florida

why why why should the family with kids get a break i have none and i will and have been paying for everyone having kids im tired of it if you cant afford it dont do it my tax rate is bsssss because im paying for everyone else and im not the only one that feels this way im sure its time to do something about it look at china look at hunger in this country wtf it starts with each and everyone saying enough is enough if you have them you take care of them perhaps them state and fed tax will drop why should i pay school tax my parents payed that for me ect. think about it wake up america

Apr. 13 2014 02:58 PM
Lori from Cleveland, Ohio

I can't believe this! This is insulting! This brings to mind the one and only time in my life that I needed help from the system after working 3 jobs my entire life and when I lost my full-time job I tried to apply for at least food stamps and they said I did not qualify for them due to the zip code I lived in and the fact that I had no dependents...WHAT??? I live in a normal city and I asked the welfare case worker so you are telling me that in order to qualify for benefits I have to have children? And she replied no, but if you did there would be benefits available to in other words, yes, you have to have children to get help!! How about about someone does a census of the neighborhood and if someone does NOT have children they do not have to pay for the numerous school levy tax increases and those that DO have children foot the bill for the schools instead of single people's property taxes going up all of the time to pay for your childrens' education!!! how does that sound???

Apr. 12 2014 10:55 PM
Patricia Dungan from MA.

How dare you force your beliefs on other people. You are not talking about just married couples with no children,which is THEIR CHOICE!!! what about single people who don't marry, and want to adopt!!! Do you work for the I.R.S??? Not that you would admit it. Leave the tax system alone. It is as screwed up as it can be now!!!!
Get a life and leave the married couples alone who chose NOT to have children.

Apr. 12 2014 09:10 PM
Mike from Pittsburgh PA

Also take into consideration people with o children also get saddled with school taxes, higher property taxes, people with kids should get no breaks on income taxes.

Apr. 12 2014 07:25 PM

All of you people w/children
Do what childless people do. Have children only if you can afford them .It's not our fault that you made your choices. We should not be paying taxes for something we're not using.

Apr. 11 2014 03:16 AM
Nuance from kansas city, mo

I am a single female. paid at 70% of what men make, paying my 33% of gross in taxes as required. my breaks are for interest on my mortgage and 401k deductions. My taxes support education, welfare, and support for the myriad of tax breaks for many, but mainly those with children get automatically (food stamps, earned income credits, housing, etc., etc., etc.,.) Instead of breaks, why not clean up the tax system (income, property, personal property.) You pay a percentage, no deductions or breaks. Government at all levels should function within that amount. Would take a bit of work, but should be fair to all, not a percentage of the people. And the original intent of Elected office being a temporary, thing and not a life career choice may come back. We could get a less bloated Government and more of by, for and of the People.

Apr. 11 2014 01:03 AM
Frank Bucchino from Ma.

We pay property taxes to the town for schools your childs education and teachers salary.
you should keep your legs closed and thank us .

Apr. 10 2014 06:25 PM

I feel people with without children are being punished, America makes it so difficult for these individuals to grow. Have kids and you damn near get every type of support; wic, food stamps, etc. I think people should not have kids if they cannot afford it. People without children work too hard to end up with basically nothing!

Apr. 10 2014 07:49 AM

really bothers me how single ppl get no breaks. Think about it. Married couples with two incomes get tax breaks and yet the person with one income gets barely anything. It really is discrimination vs. single ppl. Marriage isn't meant for everyone. I tried it and it just didn't work out. So now I have a mortgage to pay alone... My choice but the couple with two incomes have it way easier financially speaking and yet get more breaks from the government. Just so unfair. The other day there was an article in my local newspaper about married ppl and new tax breaks. What about me??? Why can't I get a tax break. ?????

Apr. 10 2014 02:02 AM

How about if you can't afford kids in the first place, don't have them.

Apr. 09 2014 10:23 PM

Unbelievable! Unfair. I am single, work two jobs in health care and I'm taxed to the gills. As a single person, I am taxed at a higher rate than married people as it is. I can't afford to buy a home, let alone have a child. Families with children get tax breaks including the earned income tax credit, child tax credit, child and dependent care tax credit, and the dependent exemption and head of household filing status for single parents.

I do not have the privilege of being allowed those tax breaks. It is not fair to expect people who do not have children to pay "extra".

One way to help fund Social Security and Medicare might be to eliminate the cap on income for contributions. The maximum 2014 income rate is $117,000 (I believe per the SS website)on which someone pays SS and Medicare taxes. If this maximum income rate was eliminate and everyone continued to pay into those funds at whatever annual income one makes, it would be a huge help and a significant increase in monies into those funds for the future of EVERYONE.

Nobody should be punished for not having children OR for having children.
That's my opinion.


Apr. 09 2014 06:49 PM

Unbelievable! Unfair. I am single, work two jobs in health care and I'm taxed to the gills. As a single person, I am taxed at a higher rate than married people as it is. I can't afford to buy a home, let alone have a child. Families with children get tax breaks including the earned income tax credit, child tax credit, child and dependent care tax credit, and the dependent exemption and head of household filing status for single parents.

I do not have the privilege of being allowed those tax breaks. It is not fair to expect people who do not have children to pay "extra".

One way to help fund Social Security and Medicare might be to eliminate the cap on income for contributions. The maximum 2014 income rate is $117,000 (I believe per the SS website)on which someone pays SS and Medicare taxes. If this maximum income rate was eliminate and everyone continued to pay into those funds at whatever annual income one makes, it would be a huge help and a significant increase in monies into those funds for the future of EVERYONE.

Nobody should be punished for not having children OR for having children.
That's my opinion.


Apr. 09 2014 06:49 PM

Unbelievable! Unfair. I am single, work two jobs in health care and I'm taxed to the gills. As a single person, I am taxed at a higher rate than married people as it is. I can't afford to buy a home, let alone have a child. Families with children get tax breaks including the earned income tax credit, child tax credit, child and dependent care tax credit, and the dependent exemption and head of household filing status for single parents.

I do not have the privilege of being allowed those tax breaks. It is not fair to expect people who do not have children to pay "extra".

One way to help fund Social Security and Medicare might be to eliminate the cap on income for contributions. The maximum 2014 income rate is $117,000 (I believe per the SS website)on which someone pays SS and Medicare taxes. If this maximum income rate was eliminate and everyone continued to pay into those funds at whatever annual income one makes, it would be a huge help and a significant increase in monies into those funds for the future of EVERYONE.

Nobody should be punished for not having children OR for having children.
That's my opinion.


Apr. 09 2014 06:49 PM
peggy rozalski from pennsylvania

You have got to be kidding me....this shitty ass government already STE
ALS enough of my hard earned money from my paycheck every week. I am eligible for no benefits of any kind because I make to much, but this is the first year I have been able to live by myself and I'm only able to do that because my landlord gave me a break on rent. And now you want me to pay more to support the WELFARE NATION. Well fuck that and fuck you! How come they all have new cars, I phones, and tattoos. If they can afford those items and drugs to do on a daily basis, they certainly don't need anymore help from me....If you are that concerned about their status, why don't you give them some of your money...or better yet, give them condoms.

And they should all have to pass a drug test just like I do to get their money

WHAT A FREAKING JOKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Apr. 09 2014 01:19 PM
Face of Infertility

How dare someone assume that those who are childless have had a choice in the matter?

I have spent tens of thousands of dollars trying to have even one child and you want to further destroy me financially and emotionally by forcing me to pay more because I cannot achieve something I so desperately want?

Apr. 09 2014 12:38 PM
Lori from Indiana

You are an idiot. You have no idea why someone doesn't have children. I speak from experience. I went through five years of infertility to hopefully have the honor to raise a child. Did I see people standing in line to pay for my treatments. No I hear idiots like you say tax someone because they don't have children. Nothing like rubbing salt in a wound that will be with me the rest of my life.

Apr. 09 2014 12:05 PM
Karen from Lititz, PA

Families already get breaks, even though they draw more on the benefits of this country. Childless people should get the breaks, not people who continue to have children in this overpopulated world.

Apr. 09 2014 11:57 AM
Tom from Charlotte, NC

This is an absurd and illogical opinion.

Our nation (and planet) has an over-population problem. At some point in the not-so-distant future our natural resources (water, food, etc.) will not be able to sustain the growing population. This will lead to war (over natural resources), famine and disease. "Factory" farms, bioengineered seeds, over-use of antibiotics and pesticides and other attempts to increase our food production to meeet increased demand has arguably led to increased rates of cancer and significant reduction of the bee population which is necessary to polinate the plants we need for survival. Our tax policies should INCENTIVIZE behavior that will promote the short and long term survival and advancement of the human race. Therefore, if there is a group that should pay more taxes, it would be those that choose to have children.

As a childless individual I currently pay MORE than my fair share of taxes. My taxes support the public education and health care for children I chose not to have. I don't mind paying more than my fair share of taxes because the education of our children is our future.

Apr. 09 2014 10:44 AM

Are you kidding me? More taxes for the choice of other people? What about people who had kids, and they are grown and gone? What about these people who make dumbass suggestions like this one? The only reason people make suggests like this, is to benefit themselves. How about this suggestion, if you think people who do not have kids should pay more taxes, what about increasing the taxes on the people who would voluteer to pay more taxes, such as yourself. We could increase your taxes another 10 -15 percent, and use that money to give to parents with kids that want the money, and you would not have any say on how it would be give out.

Apr. 09 2014 10:23 AM
T from NJ from NJ

This is a joke, right? I already pay for schools, WIC, foodstamps etc. for people who procreate without considering that they cannot afford to do so. And I DON'T expect that other people's kids are going to do anything for me in my old age. As a child free person, I save as much of my income as possible to ensure that I can support myself after retirement. I pay for disability insurance in case something unforseen happens that reduces my ability to earn. I paid for college in an attempt to get a good paying job.

When other people's parents start helping me with college, paying my disability insurance, and funding my 401K...THEN we can talk about me paying some of their tax burden.

Apr. 09 2014 09:45 AM
Theresa from Illinois

Thats just absurd... I pay $8000 a year for property taxes and $4000 of it is for the schools... and I do not have any children... If anything I think I should get a break since I do not use the school system!

Apr. 09 2014 08:15 AM
sac1943 from Minnesota

We had a family. Two children, because that's all we could afford. We got a tax break at the end of the year for our dependents. Now we are retired and are STILL paying taxes. We are still paying for schools and welfare through our state taxes. A big portion of our taxes goes for these things. We are STILL paying our share. The state we live in has one of the higher tax rates. Even when our children were growing up, we were paying a lot of taxes for people on welfare who had more children than we did and being subsidized by welfare thru our taxes. BTW, our state has one of the highest welfare rates too. Some people are more irresponsible than others. Why should they be subsidized for it? Since when should government reward people for stupidity?

Apr. 09 2014 07:42 AM

People without children should get a tax break. We're Saving the Planet.

People with dependents already get a tax break.

There are plenty of other highly motivated people in the world who see the opportunities here in the USA. They will gladly immigrate to this country and pay SS tax. By the way you think you think you can retire on SS ?

Perhaps supporting your own self, taking responsibility for your own life, and your own actions is old fashion thinking to the liberal mind.

Apr. 09 2014 06:36 AM
tom from tn

Last time I checked about 60+% of my property taxes were allocated to paying for schools which I do not utilize having no children. I have always been a proponent of paying my fair share of taxes but if you have 4 children and I have none, you should effectively be paying 4X of that portion of the tax. Why should I be penalized even more for not having children. The list goes on and on if you think about it; use of roadways, etc. Taxes should be fair, although they never will be, but that doesn't mean we should get penalized (taxed) even more than we already are for not having kids. Pay for what you use, fair is fair. You want kids, expect to pay.

Apr. 09 2014 06:30 AM
E. Harris

What about those couples who CANT have kids??? Why in the world should they suffer even more financially by not being given a break when high tech fertility treatments are already not covered by costly medical insurance?!?!!!! Outrageous!!!

Apr. 09 2014 02:12 AM

And, what about a couple that can not have children, you now want to penalize them MORE for something that they already want but can not have?

Apr. 08 2014 05:10 PM

This is a crock of crap!I'm tired of being punished because I decided not to have children. It's my choice. Doesn't the world have enough homeless and starving children just because someone couldn't keep it in their pants?
I think we should have to follow China's example. If you have more than 2, their taken away for adoption. These headliners that keep having kids just so they can stay in the limelight should be neutered.I feel that people who don't have children should not have to pay taxes for the schools. Our local school is in a panic because they've had 37 kids quit school this year. Do we get a break? No. They have another tax levy this month. It's been voted down the last 3 elections. I hope the students are smarter than the school system. You would think they would get the drift by now.

Apr. 08 2014 05:03 PM
Syncerity from Michigan

I am horrified at the idea of my taxes being raised on my husband and me becuase we both have medical conditions which make it near to impossible for us to have children. It has caused a great deal of suffering and hardship for both of us, and then to tax us more on top of all of this? Talk about adding insult to injury. I think whoever came up with this idea just wanted something shocking to make the news circuit. Obviously, he has never struggled with something as upsetting and life altering as infertility. People with children already get many tax breaks and write offs that us childless couples do not. Unfair to punish people who are yearning to have children of their own, but are struggling with an already horrible situation. Shame on you for suggesting this absurd idea!

Apr. 08 2014 04:44 PM

Alright...I'll bite. Here's a modest counter proposal for you: If I have to pay more taxes on your children then I should retain the right to see how you raise your children. How about that? Here is my proposal: I get to pick 1 to 5 families with children and get to monitor how said children are being raised. Firstly, no more Facebook, Twitter and other meaningless, self-indulgent wastes of time. No more Xbox, Playstation or any other video game drivel. No personal cell phones or texting. Now I will require that these children pick up books on Science and Mathematics only! My own aptitude tests will be administered at my own will at any given time. Said children will have to be able to attend the universities of my choosing and major in careers that will automatically yield large salaries upon graduation. And since you've proposed that they will be paying for me in my 80s, then a contract will have to be made out in which there is some payback to me or mine if I, in fact, don't make it to my 80s. Now I'm ready to negotiate.

Apr. 08 2014 02:35 PM
Scott from Seattle

The comment that anyone who lives past 80 is taking more out of the Social Security System then they put in is dumb. If a person contributes their entire life, and if the government INVESTED THE MONEY WISELY or just invested modestly (and stopped raiding it as a personal piggybank) then we would need YOUR KIDS to fund our social security. There are far too many people having too many children that they cannot support - not to mention huge numbers of people having childing while they live on welfare and do nothing to add to our economy. Pay for your own kids and choices and get your hands out of my pockets.

Apr. 08 2014 01:54 PM
Theresa from Chicago

I'm 62 years old. I only had one daughter. I could only afford one daughter. I never expected a tax break because I had a child. If you want six kids then have them but don't expect me to subsidize them. If you choose to not have children you shouldn't be penalized for someone else that choose that life. I've worked since I was 15 years old. I've saved money but I want my social security benefits. My mother and father collected their social security and saved but I felt that old people have no choice again no choice. They need help. But people who have children decide to have children. No one choses to get old but people choose to have children. It is not a given right that I help them raise their families. I still pay for the schools, fire department, infrastructure that supports families. I have none. But I don't think people should get all the extrahelp for having children. IT WAS THEIR CHOICE! Not mine. They will get old someday and we need to take care of our old but no one should pay for someone that chooses to have children. Maybe if we didn't pay or give all those extra credits for families maybe people would think about how many children they have and that they can afford to support.

Apr. 08 2014 01:47 PM
Tish from Manhattan

Ms./Mr. Webster -- please save your sugar-coated and moralistic preaching for another platform where the audience is uneducated, inexperienced, and unenlightened and easily played by your attempt at guilt. Although I will say that your argument to take advantage of adoption as a way of getting a tax break is about the most craven I've ever heard. Even we childless citizens wouldn't stoop so low.

But the point still holds that American parents are already well compensated for having children with a cost that we all pay in our income and property taxes, not to mention the burden on our planet. Mr. Salam, and apparently you, think this still isn't quite enough and that we without children should not only pay our share but yours as well.

Sorry -- the world needs fewer, not more children. Fortunately, Mr. Salam's proposal is going nowhere.

Apr. 06 2014 04:55 PM
K Webster from nyc

The benefit to all of us in having children in our world isn't quantifiable. They bring us back to reality, to joy, to what matters in this life. How would we not want to back the effort to care for them?
More enlightened countries pay parents for parenting. This is a very very small nod in that direction. Those countries do better on every index regarding happiness and living well.
Everyone benefits from the next generation. Even you. Among other things, if you get old, the generations after you will be paying for you.
But for any of you who feel you want to get in on this "give away" tax break, there's always adoption. Check this out:
In the U.S. 400,540 children are living in the foster care system. 115,000 of these children are eligible for adoption, nearly 40% of these children will wait over three years in foster care before being adopted. World wide there are 17,900,000 orphans who are living in orphanages or on the streets and lack the care and attention required for healthy development.
So if this "bonus" is just too good to pass up there is always a way to take advantage of it.

Apr. 06 2014 10:48 AM

I agree with this: "We should be given a BONUS for not reproducing."

I have a cat, can I start claiming him as a dependent on my taxes?

Apr. 05 2014 12:31 AM
zach from Port Chester NY

What a ridiculous proposition.

But if this is the direction of Mr. Salam's thinking, he will love this.

In light of former Mayor Bloomberg's trouble with passage of the 16oz soda rule, let's propose a dedicated tax on non soda drinkers to fund a support infrastructure for those who consume gallons of the stuff, so that they can maintain health and well being. And imagine this, society as a whole would benefit too! And on, and on.

Apr. 04 2014 07:13 PM
Ashley from California

What also doesn't make sense is for parents who's kids are grown and can't be claimed but are still living at home because they can't get a job, are still paying their undergrad loans, or tangibly suppirting them somehow will they start to get taxed as childless adults?

Apr. 04 2014 06:18 PM
Capt_Spaulding from NYC

So who is putting Mr. Lehrer up to hosting this person? The Koch brothers in order for us to look the other way and fught amongst ourselves while millions of dollars are poured into local races? While our DINO governor stabs our mayor in the back?

Apr. 04 2014 02:22 PM

Its some really great comments on here so great I dont have to state my feelings because u all did..Im glad so many people agree with overpopulation etc Im proud..I dont feel joy when I see pregnant people or hearing new arrivals because of the over population..and then u want me to pay taxes for that lol I will take jail as well

Apr. 04 2014 12:19 PM

I suppose the title "A Modest Proposal..." is a tip off that he thinks this is a stupid idea....

Apr. 04 2014 11:30 AM
Gregg from New York

He's joking, right? Couples with children should pay MORE in taxes. They use MORE services -- the easiest example being public schools, but there are many more examples. Now, I'm happy to pay for public schools because a well educated populace improves the living conditions as a whole. But to say that childless couples should pay more is just insulting. We are the ones preserving the environment by not contributing to over-population. We should be given a BONUS for not reproducing.

Apr. 04 2014 11:25 AM
Ben from NY

Some childless couples have spent tens of thousands of dollars on fertility treatments and adoption lawyers. This would be adding insult to injury.

Apr. 04 2014 10:58 AM
Freddy Snyders

I so agree with mlewis78, Elizabeth and Jeanine De Nitto.
The single people are already taxed to the hilt. If you want to procreate you should plan your finances accordingly.

Apr. 04 2014 09:07 AM

Some of us don't have children because we can't afford to, so why should we subsidize other people's procreation?

Apr. 04 2014 08:21 AM
rich from westchester

Too much time was given to a proposal made sensational only to gain the writer attention. While the idea of providing greater tax assistance to families has some merit, this proposal for financing that assistance does not. Had this author argued in favor his premise with any rational tax reform idea it would not have received the same attention. I don't know why he chose the childless as his beasts of burden. He might as well have chosen to increase taxes on people with blue eyes. Brian got it right at the beginning when he compared this with Swift's A Modest Proposal. It should have been left there. The time would have been better spent looking at Paul Ryan's proposed budget.

Apr. 04 2014 07:52 AM

Those of us without children are already paying more taxes. Parents get a tax deduction for each child they have. I heard a little of this part of your program on the radio and will listen to the podcast this week. The part I heard did not make sense to me.

Apr. 04 2014 04:34 AM
Jeanine DeNitto

Um, YEAH thats Crazy. I think he should flip that Idea and have higher taxes for people who HAVE kids, as they use more of our precious rescources.

Apr. 03 2014 11:27 PM
Amy from Redding CT

I'll certainly go above and beyond the white boards, Ipads for all, artificial turf stadium and all the other have-to-haves if the little darlings would be indentured to my service in retirement (after social security collapses).

Apr. 03 2014 10:25 PM
CB from Brooklyn

We should be doing the exact opposite - give tax credits to the childless. Children, especially the poor, are significant burdens on the municipal tax capacity and directly contribute no revenue toward it until they are old enough to shop (and even then only if they can afford to). Penalize parents for the extra burden they put on the taxpayers and stop encouraging the poor to have more children who only take away from common goods and resources.

Apr. 03 2014 09:49 PM

Did they asked me whether i want them to have children or not? If I will pay I will have a say. my dear don't let me stop you. you can give them as much as you want. bless you!!!

Apr. 03 2014 08:51 PM
Gabriel from Fresh Meadows

Not I nor anyone else, regardless of income, should have to subsidize the bad decisions of others. Can't afford to have children? Then you shouldn't be having children. Simple as that.

I recognize how heartless that may seem since sometimes condoms break, the pill decides to stop doing whatever it's doing in there, and the more effective birth controls, like IUDs or vasectomys, are pricey and tend to not even be an option for those of us that are on the lower end of the socio-economic scale, but I do not believe it is fair to tax the childless. Or the way Mr. Salum put it, to raise taxes for everyone and give parents a tax break.

That being said, I'm not against raising taxes, but things like raising the minimum wage and making the cost of living in this damn city more reasonable need to be solved first.

Apr. 03 2014 08:44 PM
Jim K

NO.. I do not agree. I already pay taxes that support schools and programs for people with children. I am also the first person to say I would pay more tax to help out schools but that is in relation to EVERYONE paying more taxes not punishing those who have not had the opportunity, interest or capability to have kids.

Apr. 03 2014 07:15 PM
Bob from Brooklyn

I wouldn't pay it, and I would gladly go to prison for not paying it.

Apr. 03 2014 06:39 PM
Childless by choice from NYC

seriously? Raise taxes for those who generally use fewer services and resources, and aren't contributing to the problem of overpopulation?

Apr. 03 2014 06:03 PM

Higher taxes for the childless?
Are you kidding me????
Here is my proposal:
Abolish the current US tax system and replace it with a nationwide sales tax only. Those who consume should pay taxes. That is fair.
You eliminate the IRS and any tax loop holes for the rich AND the poor. Make taxes simple and transparent for everybody.
God bless America!

Apr. 03 2014 06:01 PM
Childless by Choice from NYC

How about couples who have more than two children pay MORE taxes, given that they've now foisted upon a dying planet yet another mouth to feed, another consumer of resources, and another generator of waste and pollution.

We don't need to create incentives for foolish people to keep creating more humans. We need incentives to get them to STOP doing that.

This sense of entitlement amazes me--you're entitled to have children, even if you can't provide the emotional and financial support that children require, AND you're entitled to have people who are more responsible in their decision-making to help you do that?

Get a grip.

Apr. 03 2014 05:37 PM

But we already do - we pay school taxes. If you can't afford them, don't have them.

Apr. 03 2014 05:36 PM
tonio from westchester

There are personal satisfactions having children, but a societal benefit requiring incentives to further population growth? nah, I don't think so!

Apr. 03 2014 05:29 PM
Ana from Manhattan

Leaving aside the pro-/anti-natalist argument; increasing the tax burden on the childless, especially at the income level suggested seems to me to be the worst way to increase the birthrate. You are penalizing those who very well may intend to have children and are trying to achieve financial stability; those prudent enough not to have kids they can't afford; people who would rather be partnered first but can't find a mate (let's face it mostly women in large metropolitan areas); and the infertile. Seems very unfair. What about people who are taking care of elderly parents, thereby (one hopes) easing the burden on the taxpayer? Where is their tax break?

Apr. 03 2014 05:24 PM

This has to be a joke, I, as a conscientious objector to over burdening the planet, have chosen not to bring a life into this world. I should be payed handsomely for my thoughtfulness towards my fellow humans. Instead I pay handsomely for schools that, frankly, suck, parks where I cannot walk my dog, and a myriad of services I will never use.

I believe in the common good, so do not take this as humbuggery, but there has to be a line somewhere. I think about how amazing the trains would be if half my taxes for kid services went into transit. As graphic as this is, my sister is fond of saying, "Look having a kid is a biological function, like going to the bathroom..." You can see where this is going, I am sure.

Apr. 03 2014 05:16 PM

So people who are smart enough to avoid having children and who are industrious enough to earn a lot of money should "help out" people who are too stupid to know how to apply a condom?


Apr. 03 2014 04:48 PM
Randy L from brooklyn, ny

it's not de facto true that we're better off because of people having children. taxing social ills is already iffy, though probably okay. i'm also not morally obligated to pay the costs for other peoples decision to have children (or their accidental children for that matter). why tax more? how about take some money that was going to bail out banks and use some of it to support working parents? i pay plenty of taxes as is. can't wait to move out of ny/nj because of it.

Apr. 03 2014 04:20 PM

If this had aired on Tuesday, I would have assumed it was an April Fool's story.

Apr. 03 2014 04:13 PM
alayton from westchester county, ny

Childless by CHOICE. I work in a school and I pay loads of taxes to educate someone else's kids just like someone paid for me to go through school. How about corporations paying more taxes so individuals, whether with kids or wothout pay less?

Apr. 03 2014 03:47 PM
Terrmann from Out East

This cultural condemnation of DINKS (double income, no kids) which makes the assumption that childless people are selfish and need to be somehow punished, needs to end. I know many people who desperately want to have children but have been unable to conceive, despite spending scores of thousands on fertility doctors; a punitive tax for their medical condition seems pretty barbaric.

Aside from the mean spiritedness of all this, how would the "barrenness tax" work logistically? Can I get an extension if I submit the bill from my GYN saying I paid $17,000 for IVF that tax year? Can I carry-over a miscarriage like stock market losses? Sillyness.

Apr. 03 2014 03:41 PM
No kids by choice from Brooklyn, NY

So, let me get this straight: in addition to living with the stigma of being a woman in her late 30s without children, this guy wants me to also pay more taxes? Being a parent is a choice. Yes, an expensive choice, but a choice all the same. Those who make a different choice should not be penalized.

Apr. 03 2014 03:37 PM
Steve from NY, NY "So nice they named it twice"

Whoa! Let me understand: those of us who chose to be Child Free ("childless" has always implied, like the word "homeless", that one wants offspring) and live our lives for ourselves and with people we choose to spend time with are supposed to further (look at the tax code) underwrite those unlucky individuals who thought they could have children and have a life? I don't think so. Walking the streets I see very fews "happy" parents. Wait, I'm wrong. There are those parents pushing strollers while gabbing on their phones (usually bitching about how overwhelmed they are) and interrupting their conversation only to issue a "don't put that in your mouth!" or "Kennedy, puh-leez, mommy/daddy is trying to talk!" to there beloved progeny.

Apr. 03 2014 03:27 PM
Glamourwig from NYC

Now that's a good one! I may consider paying taxes when they breeding requires a license. I am already paying plenty in taxes for the schools, roads, hospitals, airports, food, those ankle biters, I have no interest in having around me, already consume. If you can't pay for it, don't make it. In fact, the problem is that breeders take from the pot more than they put in.

Apr. 03 2014 03:18 PM
SUsan from NYC

Horrified. I pay enough as it is.

Here's an idea, why don't CHILDREN pay taxes?

Apr. 03 2014 03:12 PM

Sorry, We have way too many folks on the planet as it is. I never had any children so that i didn't add to the burden on the Earth's resources & I didn't have to worry about paying for them, educating them & making sure they turned into proper adults. So, Somehow it's my burden to pay for other people's children? I don't think so. I pay plenty in taxes now. Folks need to deal with reality. If you have no substantive long term plan for their health, happiness & expenses, then you can't have them.

Apr. 03 2014 03:02 PM

This segment was full of rather harsh words and statements about child rearing "...burden, sacrifice, burden, raising kids is hard and stressful, burden, burden, hardship, burden..."

Reihan Salam hardly ever mentioned the positive sides of parenting - pleasure, companionship, mental stimulation, compassion, empathy, humor, enlightenment, intergenerational enrichment... the list of benefits goes on and on.

One person's burden is another's blessing. But, the real burden is that all of us but the wealthy are taxed to the max already. If you're looking for more $$ to help produce the best children a nation can - go to where the money is - the undertaxed wealthy.

Apr. 03 2014 03:01 PM
e from jersey

this may sound cold, and i do not deny anyones desire to want to have a family, but the world is overpopulated as it is and with very real climate and economic challenges, to me it makes more sense to sometime in the foreseeable future, credit people for NOT having children rather then having them ....

Apr. 03 2014 02:23 PM
Bill from Manhattan

no. my property taxes and other taxes are already subsidizing people who have chosen to have a child or multiple children. i chose not to, they chose to have them. If they can't afford to have them, perhaps they should think about the costs of child rearing on a lot of levels: emotional, intellectual, and financial.

Apr. 03 2014 02:16 PM

So this guy is pitting financially strapped people with children against financially strapped people without children, while ignoring that the tax burden is ridiculously low for wealthy individuals who make most of their money through their investments, and for corporations who use all kinds of loopholes? Seems like a great way to distract from the real issue, which I suppose makes sense if he is a conservative political commentator. To imply that middle-income working professional folks like me (who has always had roommates in NYC because of the high rent and still pays more than some of my my dual-income no kids friends) are "affluent," is absurd. And, as others said, we already have the child tax credit and in many places, property taxes that people pay toward education, whether or not they have kids in school.

Apr. 03 2014 02:13 PM
David from UWS

Absolutely not. The world has way more people than the resources needed to support them. What is this madness? Not having children is one of the most responsible decisions a person can make. How about tax cuts for those who adopt instead.

What a ridiculous article!

Apr. 03 2014 01:55 PM
Jim from NYC

Americans claim to be proponents of equality, and that everyone should be treated equally. But they always find exceptions/excuses when they want the special treatment.

Apr. 03 2014 01:41 PM
Sui from New York

I'm a single female professional and I cannot disagree more. What a nonsense proposal. Parents already get a tax break for having dependents. Everyone should consider the financials (and all other factors) before deciding to have children. Not doing so is simply IRRESPONSIBLE. I've already experienced in the past having to work longer hours than my parent-coworkers because they had to be home to take care of children, yet I don't get any extra financial benefit for working longer hours. And now this? I consider myself a community-minded person, and I would support an increase on my taxes for purposes such as funding universal healthcare. This, however, seems to me like a selfish perspective from a parent's point of view.

Apr. 03 2014 01:30 PM

There are two kinds of adults: the ones that want children and the ones that do not want children. I am of the latter kind. Don't tax me for your choices, or for mine for that matter.

Apr. 03 2014 01:29 PM
Tony from Canarsie

I face palmed myself so hard my head fell off.

Apr. 03 2014 01:27 PM
lester from manhattan

completely moronic and waste of everyone's time.

Apr. 03 2014 01:22 PM

I don't have and never wanted children and frankly, resent having to pay school tax for almost 30 years when I didn't go to public school and don't have kids to go to the school. And then they cut Adult evening classes, the one place I could take advantage of a little bit of what I pay! I'm seriously considering moving south now that I've retired and school tax is the 2nd reason why(winter is first).

Apr. 03 2014 12:59 PM

I'm fine with that, as long as it is combined with a 90% estate tax on estates greater than $10million. If everyone is investing in society's children, society's richest children should give back.

Apr. 03 2014 12:48 PM
Katherine from Bronx

My husband and I can't afford having children and now with this proposal... how disgusting.

Apr. 03 2014 12:34 PM
Wendy from NYC

Very silly proposal. No one forces people to have kids, let alone more than they can handle paying for, or taking care of. And it appears that more and more parents have ignored the warnings of overpopulation that was such a hallmark of the 60's and 70's by having more than 2 children. If you can't handle individual childcare, there are more and more communes and communal childcare alternatives springing up.

It's a choice to have children, and a choice that comes with large financial responsibility. Lobby the govt. for more tax credits for families if you wish, but it's absurd to expect people who have chosen not to take that path, for whatever reason, to subsidize those who did. Should childless families really have to pay for Hasidim who choose to have 8 children per family? Why not penalize families who have more than two children by taxing them more?

Apr. 03 2014 12:19 PM

Imagine if Quiverfull Movement families such as the Duggars demanded even more tax breaks no matter how clowny the car? And then if they didn't get what they wanted, they'd cry "religious expression!"

Apr. 03 2014 12:00 PM

Interesting that Salam immediately dismissed anyone who didn't agree with him as angry. I disagree with him but am not angry. It's not fair to raise taxes of people who choose not to have children. We could afford one child. She is a blessing and well worth any financial sacrifices we've made. Also, she had a fine public school education in NYC and we've received tax breaks for many years.

Apr. 03 2014 11:58 AM
David Vassar from Manhattan 10027

I'm at home with my sick 14-yr old son Ben, having to take precious vacation time from work despite having a huge unused personal sick day balance. Employers like mine cut their parenting personnel absolutely no slack, so I'm not too proud to accept a minor "windfall" from the US Treasury. And, Ben has no sibs, so his parents cannot be said to be contributing to the general global overpopulation problem.

Ben is working hard at school, getting a great education, and before long will join members of his generation ably running an American economy which sustains us all. He'll also be living more sustainably than previous generations of Americans, as his mom and I have taught and encouraged him to bicycle and walk everywhere (no car in this family), recycle as much as possible, and even compost food scraps.

I get the outrage of naysayers, but I believe our world is and will be a better place with great kids like Ben in it.

Apr. 03 2014 11:48 AM
D from Hastings on Hudson, NY

The author is being dismissive of anyone who disagrees with him. You are either a hypocritical liberal, a libertarian or a crazy tea party person. That is facile and demeaning to people who have any other view than him. That is the oldest and cheapest trick in the book. As for the "burden" parents feel placed upon them, having a family is a personal is not having having don't place the self imposed "burden" of raising a family on others. I am not anti-family but the author is phrasing his argument in a way that if you are not for his proposal then you are anti-family. My wife and I pay lots and lots of taxes for services that we do not use but benefit the community as a whole. We get it. But perhaps the opposite tax should be additional user's tax for those who use those services. As the world's population is quickly surpassing the 7 billion mark I hardly think there is a significant risk of a withering tax base in future years.

Apr. 03 2014 11:47 AM
John A

Proves we have been nurtured by PACs and political parties to be really stupid (yet opinionated) on matters of taxation, I guess.

Apr. 03 2014 11:41 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Sure, presume that people who choose to have children will do their best to raise them right so they'll contribute to our society & economy. But what about parents who abuse their children? Those children are more likely to *cost* the society & economy in terms of needing more social services & through the prison system. Given Mr. Salam's own statement of the basis for his advocating this tax, shouldn't the resulting comparative tax break for parents depend on how they're raising their children? But I'm sure he wouldn't want government interfering w/childraising.

Apr. 03 2014 11:36 AM
genejoke from Brooklyn

I'm a parent who could use a bigger tax break, but even I am surprised and annoyed by the suggestion that those without children should help subsidize my life choices. It's not at all fair.

Apr. 03 2014 11:33 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Bottom line, marriage and family should be abolished and no one should be allowed to have kids who should be produced in factories by the government or by corporations. If no one was allowed to have family or kids, and the government produced the number of babies it needs to produce taxes, the we wouldn't have any of these problems.

Apr. 03 2014 11:32 AM
Lisa from Oakland, ca

We're on in this together, why not try to make sure everyone has a chance at a decent life.

I don't have kids and I never will, but I am ok with paying a little extra tax to help those who do have kids, why? Because raising kids is hard and stressful and if my tax dollars can help ease the stress, I feel that it is fair. I see my single-parent friends have to put up with so much that my giving up money seems so minor compared to the sacrifice of time and sanity parents have to give up.

Apr. 03 2014 11:32 AM

Mr. Salam is transparently trying to advance his conservative agenda and play off different segments of the liberal voting block (working families against more educated childless singles and couples, gays etc). As a single, childless middle-class adult I already pay a lot towards social programs designed to benefit other people's children, and fully support doing so. I'm incensed, but instead of taking the bait and turning on families and children (who indeed need more money for education, cost of living etc), let's remember who the real tax burden is, the group that gets all the tax breaks, hides their money *and* uses the majority of resources on earth: the Rich.

Apr. 03 2014 11:31 AM
Ben from Westchester

One of the dumbest segments I've ever heard on the Brian Lehrer show.

And not because of the topic -- as callers noted, we already have a tax cut for parents -- it is called the "dependent deduction" and it is a major part of the tax code.

It is because this guy just seems to be one of those Republican A-holes you went to college with who just want to make clever points to provoke people, except that he's not all that clever.

So just end the segment and you can check off the box and tell Orrin Hatch that you were willing to put someone from National Review on the Brian Lehrer Show blah blah blah.

Apr. 03 2014 11:31 AM
John from Hoboken

Congrats to Reihan Salam for coming up with an original and outrageous idea that got him 15 minutes on the radio. He's the male version of AnnCoulter.

Brian Lehrer is simply riling his listeners by putting him on. I'm not that stupid to fall for that....Well actually I am because just spent the last ten minutes listening and writing this post!

Apr. 03 2014 11:31 AM
Katie from Huntington

To the woman who is childless and is moaning about paying school taxes--true, she has no child in school, but other childless parents before her, paid for HER education. That's the way the system works. This goes for the private school parents as well. The generation before, pays for the present generation.

Apr. 03 2014 11:30 AM
Joe from Connecticut

Salam is sooooo obnoxious. But here's my comment: I am unable to have kids. So, on top of this gut wrenching situation, I'll be forced to pay more?!?!

Apr. 03 2014 11:29 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Bottom line, marriage and family should be abolished and no one should be allowed to have kids who should be produced in factories by the government or by corporations. If no one was allowed to have family or kids, and the government produced the number of babies it needs to produce taxes, the we wouldn't have any of these problems.

Apr. 03 2014 11:29 AM
John A

This reminds me of being in the classroom before the teacher arrives. Just a mess of disorder. The missing teacher in this is congress with the necessary reform to the tax code that has been promised for years. The US debt is crazy, as is the tax policy.

Apr. 03 2014 11:29 AM
LKS from Philly

Please end this segment.

Apr. 03 2014 11:29 AM

One of the most ridiculous ideas I've heard. Reihan Salam says not all families who have kids are "reckless" but the opposite is also true. He is making the assumption that more kids are better for society. Why?

I didn't have kids because I can't afford them. Now I get penalized for being responsible?

This seems more of a publicity stunt for Slate, Agenda and the National Review than a serious discussion heading toward a change in our taxes and laws.

Apr. 03 2014 11:29 AM

Reihan if you want to give up your money that's fine. But leave mine the hell alone! If you can't afford kids, then you shouldn't have them. My mother was a single parent who raised two kids without a dime from government or anyone else. She cleaned people's houses and we're damn proud of her.

Apr. 03 2014 11:29 AM
thatgirl from manhattan

Until they are wage earners, and paying said "contribution" to the elderly, your kids are the takers. They'll take all manner of public services, including schools. I already pay for all of those things with my tax money. Breeders already get federal tax credits for children. You won't get another dime from me, an average earner who couldn't afford to have children.

Raise the FICA cap, and we'll well take care of the present and future elderly. This is a silly idea.

Apr. 03 2014 11:28 AM
Rita DC

I don't think the planet needs anymore people. I chose not to have any, could not adopt, but encourage others to give orphans a home instead of adding to the population.
Taxes? There a huge amount of money to tap into among the 1%. Tax the "middle class" - sounds like a bad joke.

Apr. 03 2014 11:28 AM
Susan from Queens

Is he deliberately trying to be antagonistic, he wants to generate hostility. He's presupposing that parents are raising their children as valuable members of society, and this money should be theirs as of right. If he wants to voluntarily pay more, then he absolutely should.

Apr. 03 2014 11:28 AM
Jason Carey from brooklyn

This makes me sick. There are too many children on earth. I think we would be better of as world without more people

Apr. 03 2014 11:27 AM
Robert from NYC

If this nut's going to interpret what everyone "means" then what's the purpose of this segment. This segment sucks to start with. Peace be with you Salam, now go away and write something else.

Apr. 03 2014 11:27 AM
amy from brooklyn

this is about as ridiculous as taxing according to weight. hey, i'm a chubby, childless woman. i didnt have kids because i knew i wouldnt be able to afford it. now i'm sad and my life is empty, so i'm fat. i think society should help me out.

Apr. 03 2014 11:27 AM
Publius from Reality

Sooner than we think we will be toe to toe with China. For national security reasons we need a larger population. We need more kids and more immigrants, who produce more kids.

Apr. 03 2014 11:27 AM
gus kaikkonen from manhattan

We already do this. Parents get dependent tax exemptions. We all pay for public schools already. Children pay no taxes, so every tax payer is subsidizing them when they use the the roads, public transportation and all the services the government provides.

Apr. 03 2014 11:26 AM

I doubt anyone's gonna pop out half a dozen spare kids just to get a few grand off their taxes. But why raise taxes on middle class people, rather than make corporations pay their fare share?

Apr. 03 2014 11:26 AM
Ed from Brooklyn

What about those couples who cannot have kids due to infertility reasons? Should they be punished as well?

Apr. 03 2014 11:26 AM
maw from nyc

I'm definitely not a conservative, and I have no children, but I support this suggestion. If we could decrease corporate tax subsidies and increase tax breaks for average people, I'm in full support. I have plenty of incentives in day to day life not having children that I would love to help out regular parents, and make corporations pay their fair share.

Apr. 03 2014 11:26 AM
Demetri from NYC

I made the responsible decision not to have children because I can't afford it. Why should I get penalized?

Apr. 03 2014 11:25 AM
jessica from westchester NY

all the entitlement programs are paid for people who work. so if we continue to unfairly tax epople with children, it would continue to discourage people from having kids (already we discourage people from getting married with the marraige tax) and it is not inconceivable we would become a society like so many where people are aging and no one are having kids to replace those aging people and continue to work and paying into the system.

Apr. 03 2014 11:25 AM
Pam from Brooklyn

Absolutely disagree. I'm a gay man who doesn't even have parental rights recognized in all states of this country, which is one reason I have not had kids. Instead, I have to spend extra money for long-term care insurance. Is this guy going to pay for that? I think not.

Apr. 03 2014 11:24 AM
Robert from NYC

Well maybe you should have had less than four children, Pablo. That's all I'm saying here. If four is too much to handle don't have that many.

Apr. 03 2014 11:24 AM
Lisa from Washington Heights

No way - I'm a democrat and although I am all for paying state taxes to support social services, I would never want a tax increase to support parents, whether they made a "reckless" decision or not, to have children.

I didn't have children for several reasons, the primary reason being that I didn't want to incur the financial responsibility involved with raising kids.

The decision to have or not have children is a very personal one - those who choose do so, hopefully, with eyes wide open.

Apr. 03 2014 11:24 AM
Kevin Sullivan from Montclair, NJ

My parents (WWII generation) raised 11 children.
They made sacrifices and in my mind did an excellent job.
Educationally: 10 bachelors degrees, 6 masters, 1 phd
7 bilingual, 2 trilingual
9 marriages, 2 single
23 grandchildren (including 4 adopted bi-racial)
1 divorce and remarriage
1 gay
I believe that society has benefited from their efforts and sacrifices in raising 11 children. My father was career US military and we received military healthcare and housing growing up.

I believe that supporting parents to be successful in raising their families would be good social policy.

Apr. 03 2014 11:24 AM
Muriel from Financial District

Do you no realize that childless already support people with kids by paying for schools through taxes anyway.

Apr. 03 2014 11:24 AM
Michele from Glen Rock

As a parent of 3 kids I never anticipated college would cost $60 K a year if that could be addressed maybe we wouldn't need a tax break.

Apr. 03 2014 11:23 AM
Roger from Brooklyn

Wait a minute. One couple has three kids.
Three kids grow up and go into the workforce and make money .
Three kids look after their aging parents, help pay for care etc.

We have no kids to look after us as we age.
We willingly pay land taxes to help pay for school.
We acknowledge the need for a health educated youth.

But you want us to pay MORE taxes. To help people have MORE kids who can look after them when they got old

OK.. Sure but then your three kids have a financial duty to pay elder taxes to childless seniors.

Apr. 03 2014 11:23 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

I think young people should not be taxed to support so many old people. Old people should get what they put into the Social Security system, and no more. If they have lived too long, let they die on the street. They did not produce enough children to help support them, so why should young people support so many old people who have not saved enough to support themselves? Let them die on the streets if they haven't saved enough or provided society with enough workers to pay taxes for them.

Apr. 03 2014 11:23 AM
Robert from NYC

What makes them reckless is that those who can't afford more kids but have them. If they can afford so many kids, fine, but if they can't afford to raise more kids then don't have them. That's where the irresponsible v responsible enters here.

Apr. 03 2014 11:23 AM
MikeInBk from Clinton Hill

Reihan, you talk too much, you worry me to death.

Unfortunately, your fast talking is confused for logical dribble by shows like BL, giving you platforms to spew your screed all over.

Apr. 03 2014 11:23 AM
JR from NYC

Yeah, I'd love to pay more taxes in order to subsidize other people's choices. Like we don't pay enough to live in NYC.

I was raised in a 6-children household and it was not easy, financially and otherwise.

If you cannott afford to have children, DO NOT. Be responsible.

Apr. 03 2014 11:22 AM
RW from Manhattan UWS

This is a strange social perversity. So worked up? Paying attention? Should childless individuals pick up the slack for those who have not considered the ramifications of the costs and general stresses of raising a child or many? Yes. My head is exploding at Reihan Salan's proposal —which seems set-up to be a provocation.

Apr. 03 2014 11:21 AM
Fishmael from NYC

One small point - the idea of having a criteria like "a family of 4 earning $70,000" seems senseless, unless it's somehow indexed to the local essential costs of living - using a number like that as a cap or a criteria is not the same in Wyoming as it is in New York. That rarely seems to make it in to these abstract policy discussions.

Apr. 03 2014 11:21 AM
Alan from NYC

I'm somewhat confused about why this is so shocking. Don't we already have tax credits for children?

On the other hand, I do find it problematic to extend this for high earning couples. Rather, why not tax all individuals the same (irrespective of kids), and then provide for more generous subsidies for schools and college. We've socialized old age (social security), why not socialize childhood?

Apr. 03 2014 11:20 AM
Amy from Park Slope

If you can't afford kids, don't have kids! END OF STORY.

Apr. 03 2014 11:20 AM
kurt718 from Brooklyn

I'm already paying for your children. Just look at my school taxes.
In a world of declining resources (food & water), why should we encourage increasing population?
Having children is not a right, it's a responsibility. If you can't afford it, don't do it.

Apr. 03 2014 11:20 AM
trimcd from NYC

Just because we don't agree with him, why does he think we aren't aware? That is his elitism coming through. We are all aware of the tax breaks others are getting that we without kids don't, but why should I be penalized for a legitimate choice NOT to have kids.

Apr. 03 2014 11:18 AM
BK from Hoboken

First caller nailed it. If someone has three kids and is squeezed, maybe they shouldn't have had that last kid. Guest keeps saying its so simple! Yes it is so simple. Don't have kids if you can't afford them- they cost about $500k to get them to age 18.

Apr. 03 2014 11:18 AM
Wendy Wilson from New Jersey

has anyone been noticing that the world is overpopulated? and that global warming is killing us? Should we encourage making more people?

Apr. 03 2014 11:18 AM
Madame Echs from Bklyn

Aren't there already tax breaks for people with children?

Apr. 03 2014 11:18 AM
Juli from Skillman, NJ

I don't think that people understand that society, in itself, is raised as more members experience more educational opportunities - even, if we are just referring to the boost that preschool will bring to the children. The children are our future. We need to see to it that they have the opportunities to grow intellectually and inspire them to become strong productive and educated members of our society. We will all benefit from living in a more educated society. Even we, the childless.


Apr. 03 2014 11:17 AM
Bill from UWS

We do need to increase our young population, but I prefer that we increase immigration to subsidizing reproduction. I don't have kids because the world doesn't need more kids, among other reasons.

Apr. 03 2014 11:17 AM

I'm turning off the radio now. He's a right wing troll.

Apr. 03 2014 11:17 AM
RLF from Yonkers

this guy is a moron!

Apr. 03 2014 11:17 AM
Francis from NYC

Given that I'm still paying off my student loans, and my wife and I, who make more than the median household income, still cannot afford to buy a home, increasing our taxes is ridiculous. Would just hurt the economy.

Apr. 03 2014 11:16 AM
Robert from NYC

So should we not charge education tax to childless families? Are we going down this road again?

Apr. 03 2014 11:15 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

The problem is not too many humans. The problem is too many Liberals.

Apr. 03 2014 11:15 AM
KD from Manhattan

The childless are already penalized by the tax system, so no!! Instead, the tax policy should disincentive having children by persons at all income levels(something it does not currently do, because overpopulation is burdening the planet in many ways.

Apr. 03 2014 11:15 AM
trimcd from NYC

HIGH EARNERS... Doesn't matter. Why do I get shafted if I earn money and CHOOSE to be without children and earn more than whatever he thinks is okay for a childless person to have.

I don't live in subsidized housing because I don't want to be told how many rooms I can live in based on my income LET ALONE be told I have to pay more without having had kids.

Apr. 03 2014 11:15 AM


Apr. 03 2014 11:15 AM
jessie henshsaw from uptown

this guy is TRULY clueless. (both culturally, environmentally and economically)

Apr. 03 2014 11:15 AM

No one who writes for the National Review and uses the term "folks" has any credibility.

Apr. 03 2014 11:14 AM

I totally agree with Kim: too many humans are the problem. Salam's proposal is a recipe for further degradation of the planet. Those who cannot have (or decide not to have) children should be thanked!

Apr. 03 2014 11:14 AM
N from NYC

I don't want to have children partially because they're expensive. If I don't want to pay for my own kids why should I be forced to pay for other people's kids?

Apr. 03 2014 11:11 AM
Kim Doggett from East Village

All of our problems can be solved not by treating all the symptoms but by addressing the one cause, too many humans on the planet. There should be a significantly high tax on reproducing yourself. It is a self centered action that is killing the planet.

Apr. 03 2014 11:07 AM
Barbara A. Edelman from New Paltz, NY

Does every bit of ridiculous noise that manages to break out of the constant cyberyapping have to get serious scrutiny? If we're honestly going to debate this in public forums, I demand that my economic revitalization concept be given proper respect: hat wearing within the 5 boroughs shall be made mandatory, thereby creating job opportunities for former lucrative careers in millinery (for the ladies!) and hat blocking (for the dudes!). I developed this idea over many hours of watching 1940s movies on TCM. The Greatest Generation wore hats! You can't argue w/that reasoning!

Apr. 03 2014 10:59 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

If we just copy Japan and do whatever they are doing, we'll be just fine. They have the third largest economy on earth with less than half our population, living on a territory no larger than California and are the biggest creditor nation, while their aging population is much larger than ours proportionately speaking. But they are doing fine overall.

Apr. 03 2014 10:59 AM
Barbara A. Edelman from New Paltz, NY

Does every bit of ridiculous noise that manages to break out of the constant cyberyapping have to get serious scrutiny? If we're honestly going to debate this in public forums, I demand that my economic revitalization concept be given proper respect: hat wearing within the 5 boroughs shall be made mandatory, thereby creating job opportunities for former lucrative careers in millinery (for the ladies!) and hat blocking (for the dudes!). I developed this idea over many hours of watching 1940s movies on TCM. The Greatest Generation wore hats! You can't argue w/that reasoning!

Apr. 03 2014 10:58 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

if we just copy Japan and do whatever they are doing, we'll be just fine. They have the third largest economy on earth with less than half our population, living on a territory no larger than California and are the biggest creditor nation, while their aging population is much larger than ours proportionately speaking. But they are doing fine overall.

Apr. 03 2014 10:58 AM
calebcrawford from Bklyn

We need the opposite. We have a population problem that is significantly stressing the world environment. We should structure our tax code to reward fewer children, not penalize those who choose not to have children. I'd make an exception for adopted children. (In the interests of disclosure, my wife and I have one child and made a conscious decision not to have more.)

Apr. 03 2014 10:56 AM


"Social security, medicare, etc..all these program are designed with the concept that there are replacement people to continue funding it. most studies show people who grow past 80 will easily take out more than they put in. "

We're aware of this, which is why we're find with the credits currently offered to parents and tax resource allocation for public schools and other programs meant to benefit children. And as much as some conservatives scream about single parents, they're making even more of a sacrifice than two parent homes.

However, not everyone is in a financial position to responsibly bear and raise children. Women also have to have a huge physical commitment, and no reference to future Social Security replenishment is suddenly going to convince a woman to subject herself to pregnancy if she was previously undecided. This also brings us back to the lack of socialized medicine and inconsistent/astronomical delivery room costs across geographical locations and insurance plans; hopefully the ACA will ease this burden on parents-to-be.

Apr. 03 2014 10:53 AM
The earl of HK from DowntonAbbey

You know he's right! I don't wanna pay for EMS, police officers or fire-fighters either!

All this discussion does is make the mid-level successful folks think they're on par with the 1%...
Which makes them long for feudalism...

Let's get Economist Richard Wolff on this show one day to break things down...

Apr. 03 2014 10:51 AM
RJ from prospect hts

I will take this as it's titled--"A Modest Proposal"--i.e., a version of Jonathan Switft's that suggested eating poor children as to be the most effective way to reduce the number of poor and homeless children and deal with hunger. The true issues of taxining have nothing to do with parenthood: They are purely a function of tax breaks for the overstuffed wealthy who care little or nothing about the vast numbers of homeless and hungry. This is a diversion and a silly brooha.

Apr. 03 2014 10:51 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To hjs

Robots.That's what Japan is doing and we'll just have to copy Japan the way we did with cars. We'll just buy robots from Japan the way we buy cars from Japan. We buy cars from Japan because they are apparently smarter than us.

Apr. 03 2014 10:49 AM
Dan from Brooklyn

I always thought Reihan was a thoughtful right-winger. Making it interesting to listen him discuss and argue with other thoughtful people on NPR and Bill Maher and writings in he's joined the ranks of the Bachman.

This is another way to say the only people who matter in this country are those with families. Who cares if a 30 year teaching veteran is single. Who cares if your plumber's wife can't have kids...

Another way to discriminate against citizens. Disgusting, insane, creepy, obvious.

Apr. 03 2014 10:49 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Wow, Even though, my original comment stands, I'm surprised at the anti-child vitriol here.

People in every civilized society, including childless taxpayers like me, must invest in its children but, I don't know why I should have to do so, more than their actual parents?

Also, as the whole NYS pre-K debate showed us, government under-funds and mismanages our kids' education, in addition to their nutrition and health.

The money is already there, it's up to advocates to fight for it.

Apr. 03 2014 10:48 AM

I ask how do we pay for social security and Medicare in 30 years with fewer worker?

Apr. 03 2014 10:47 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

There is no such thing as "too much demand on resources" in science today. There is an infinite amount of resources. The universe is vast and our ability to transform materials today is beyond belief. This whole "too much demand on resources" is the same liberal blah blah blah as was eggs and fat and butter are no good for you. It's always the same liberal gloom and doom crowd. Meanwhile we have electric cars that can run on solar power. We are reducing our need for resources if we act wisely, like moving from regular cars to electric cars as just one way to save the planet from choking itself. But science is opening up new marvels every day. The future is bright except for doom n' gloom leftists who always see the sky falling.

Apr. 03 2014 10:46 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Why are single women allowed to have children without fathers? The problem is the persecution of fathers, and driving them out of the lives of their flesh and blood children. The government should not help any single mothers if they refuse to let the biological father have a big part in the child's life, unless he really doesn't want any part and testifies to it. Why are we supporting single mothers when the biological fathers are alive? We have totally annihilated fatherhood, and what we have now is the natural result of this left wing social insanity.

Apr. 03 2014 10:41 AM
RUKidding from New York City

Because I am unable to bear children, I should be financially penalized by the state? That is a fantastic solution.

Maybe we could also extend this idea so that anyone who can not carry a tune should be responsible for paying extra taxes or maybe anyone who can't whistle, or can't bench 200lbs.

Yes, let's make anyone who is not ready to be a parent pay fines on a regular monthly basis until they produce a child. Or just offer financial incentives for people to have children. Because that could only lead to mature parents who are able to provide stable, well adjusted homes and it would never backfire and become a burden to the state.

Clearly childless people are not contributing enough to society and we need to make them pay for their selfishness.

Apr. 03 2014 10:41 AM

Insane proposal. We already have too many demands on resources, land and housing. Let's replace working population was immigrants already through expense of childhood years with proviso that there are no tax breaks for their kids. Let's benefit and let them benefit from their initiative and help more of the world's people, not subsidize our own selfish procreation.

Apr. 03 2014 10:39 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Population is NOT A PROBLEM at all! Look at Singapore, with the highest population density (more than Manhattan) and yet they have one of the highest per capita incomes on the planet. They are developing entire cities inside skyscrapers, and they recycle and reuse EVERYTHING. They even have vertical skyscraper farms producing food without soil or taking up much real estate. Population is only a problem in poor countries, not in the innovative countries with brains like Singapore. The US is one of most underpopulated countries on the planet. There are vast parts of the US where you can drive and see no one for miles.

Apr. 03 2014 10:37 AM
Fed Up from Central NJ

This is nauseating. Poverty among single women has increased quite a bit in recent years. Up until recently, single poor people weren't even eligible for Medicaid except in rare circumstances. I didn't have kids in large part because I was poor during my childbearing years and was in an unstable relationship. I didn't think it was responsible to raise kids I couldn't afford. Most of my property taxes go to the public schools, which I have always been fine with. But I have become increasingly dismayed at how selfish parent culture has become. I may have to start voting selfishly if legislators start floating these kinds of unfair taxation ideas.

Apr. 03 2014 10:37 AM

I'm just fine with the current tax deductions for those with kids, and of course I know that I'm doing my part by funding public schools. I still roll my eyes at precious "smug married" benefits, but I guess I can just find someone who wants to get hitched for benefits if need be.

Who knew that my commitment to birth control all these years was actually an "irresponsible" choice?

The most disturbing part of this suggestion is that it suggests there really is no "default" state. You're either pressured to reproduce, or penalized. In addition to the comment asking about infertility exemptions, what about women with tokophobia (fear of pregnancy/childbirth)?

I'm not sure if Salam leans left or right, but sometimes it doesn't matter. In the US, people on every part of the political spectrum may carry the mutated Protestant Work Ethic virus, which manifests itself in the form of bipartisan admonishment toward the middle and lower classes (it's much easier to shame this population as opposed to the wealthy and corporate entities). If his suggestion was embraced here, single childfree people in the US would be paying the greatest percentage in taxes for the least percentage of social return. At the very least, it's a delusional expectation. Maybe it's time to go teach English elsewhere. :)

If an increase in taxes paved the way to socialized medicine, legally mandated vacation laws, free/inexpensive education for the population, etc., then I'd be on board. As is, Salam seems to think that Americans who either choose or cannot have children for various reasons should shoulder more of a burden than counterparts in any other industrialized country.

Apr. 03 2014 10:36 AM

So, the autonomic liberal chorus whines that it's a terrible thing that we use tax policy to encourage the existence of more children, because we don't need more people, let alone more young people. Out of the other side of their brains, they mouth their support of Obamacare, whose explicit premise is that we must force in large numbers of the young on piss-poor economic terms in order to pay the health costs of the old. The unique liberal brain-thought barrier prevents them from seeing the disconnect. Impressive.

Apr. 03 2014 10:32 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Some corporation should start producing babies and selling those babies to customers who will contribute the eggs and sperm, or pick what they want out of a catalog. The government can provide subsidies when it feels it needs more young people for the future.

Apr. 03 2014 10:32 AM

This proposal doesn't recognize that the problem is population. People without children should get the tax relief. And we should increase immigration to keep the working base up to help support the existing retiring population. This saves some of the costs of education and allows us to bring more of the world's people into a relatively free and democratic nation where their initiative can be rewarded. We should only need enough kids or immigrantswest orangeto replenish the population...not so many that we have to keep taking over areas from nature and increasing our resource demands

Apr. 03 2014 10:32 AM
Dubl Trubl from Hell on Earth

Tax the irresponsible creeps who knock up 5 different women and then skeedaddle out of their lives never to be heard from again.

If you have kids pay for them. End of story. Nobody except you cares about your little "miracles."

Apr. 03 2014 10:31 AM
dan from New York

the people commenting here fail to understand a few basic government financial issue. Social security, medicare, etc..all these program are designed with the concept that there are replacement people to continue funding it. most studies show people who grow past 80 will easily take out more than they put in. If you havent produced kids, then you are relying on other people to subsidize you. As for the education argument, its hard to believe this is even raised, god help us. First, unless you were privately schooled, you too had taxes pay for your education. second, are you seriously arguing it is not in the public interest to fund education? and by the way, these arguments werent even raised by the slate article, which is more of a 30,000 feet look at how does society expect to produce the next generation of innovators if we make it so tough on kids. I come at it from a basic fairness angle: who do yo think will be paying for the hospitals, roads, your benefits when you are 80, your dog? or my kids?

Apr. 03 2014 10:30 AM
RLF from Yonkers

This is the typical academic takes into account almost nothing but economic issues. The only possible reason that makes this argument make sense is that we need more young to pay for SS and medicaid. This is an argument that has the sole goal of keeping taxes on the wealthy low. It is crazy that Brian even gives this ridiculous sham time to voice his right wing crap! It is becoming more common all of the time on this show!

Apr. 03 2014 10:05 AM
neil from port washington

The problem that the world is facing is too many people, we are on the way to 8 billion and we should give tax breaks to those who produce huge families for their own selfish needs?

Let's give the planet a tax break!

Apr. 03 2014 10:05 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

Here we go with the clickbait... is Salon Gawker now? In addition to the numerous tax benefits that already benefit parents there should be punitive taxes for those that do not reproduce? Predictably moronic idea for an article/segment. One thing we do not need any more of is "people". There is no shortage. From 1 to 8 billion in the last 100 years and most are living in squalid poverty. But we need more? What about those whose children grow up to be incarcerated felons? Who can't have children? Who can't qualify to adopt? Who don't make enough $ to adopt or don't want to raise someone elses kid? What about those who grow up to be dependent on state benefits or just plain old bums? How are THEY contributing to society? Will there be clawbacks? There are already 22 million able bodied Americans of working age who cannot find work but we need MORE mouths to feed, huh?

OK, I'll just say it and yes I lose automatically according to Godwin's Law but this is a NAZI policy. Any policy that coerces people to procreate with penalties/taxes of any sort constitutes a totalitarian social force which is not surprising coming from "Mr. American Heritage Institute" Reihan Salam.

Apr. 03 2014 10:00 AM
trimcd from NYC

I find this ridiculous. What if you CAN'T have children? Are you then exempt from this tax? What medical test will they force me to take to PROVE that I can't have kids?

Or what if I just simply feel that the world is overpopulated and I SHOULDN'T have kids?

Or what if I am aware of the cost of having children and realize that I can't AFFORD to have kids? Am I then punished for that very thoughtful and economically intelligent choice?

What about the fact that I already don't get any tax breaks as a single woman without children, while married people (childless or not) and families already get special breaks I don't?

What about the fact that I already pay school taxes? Can I then, at least get that money back if I don't have kids in the system to offset the higher taxes I will be paying?

What happens after your children are grown? Do you pay more then? Or, god forbid, you have one child and the child dies. Do you then pay that higher tax rate and get hit emotionally and economically? Or do you have to have another one just to keep the tax break?

What about younger people who are paying taxes on income in college or high school? Do they have to pay this tax rate or is there an age limit on who has to pay it... say at 25 when you SHOULD HAVE HAD children.

As you can tell I (and the other ladies in my office) am incensed by the idea that I should be PUNISHED for not having children. I already get enough sideways glances when asked if I have kids and I say no. Do I need to have both the societal stigma (which is still quite intense) PLUS an economic one?

The non-breeding ladies in my office all agree; this is totally unfair.

Apr. 03 2014 09:59 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

I was about to say, I thought that was already the case? In addition to subsidizing schools via property taxes and the earned income tax credit.

Perhaps Mr. Salam should convince his conservative cohorts to have the rich pay for things like pre-k first.

Apr. 03 2014 09:44 AM

I have never understood the logic of people with children paying less in taxes. They consume a higher percentage of our government sponsored services especially education. On a similar note, why do single people pay a higher tax rate than married people? Gay couples can now take advantage of lower tax rates. Why? The old adage that two people can live a cheaply as one is true. Singles of the world should unite against this discrimination!

Apr. 03 2014 09:35 AM
mwong from nyc

Why should people w/o kids help out? That's outrageous. Pw/oK did not ask Mr. Salem to have kids so we should not subsidize his life choice. Aside from adults who never had children, does this group include empty-nesters, senior citizens?

I don't have kids but I do have a dependent elderly parent. I want Mr Salem to help me out.

Apr. 03 2014 09:34 AM

Isn't the deduction of the new dependent already a tax cut? The proper headline is should parents get a BIGGER tax cut.

Apr. 03 2014 09:16 AM

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