Santorum wants tax code to reward traditional marriage and families

at 11:01 AM ET, 01/03/2012

Rick Santorum’s socially conservative brand has helped him break through with a last-minute surge in Iowa. But his agenda isn’t restricted to reimposing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” outlawing gay marriage nationwide, or promoting prayer in public schools. Santorum also wants to use the federal tax incentives to promote traditional marriage and families.


(Associated Press - Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum. )
“Tax policy as social policy” is the most distinguishing characteristic of Santorum’s tax reform platform. The Pennsylvania Republican wants to reduce taxes by tripling the child tax credit, which currently stands at $1,000 per child. Santorum also wants to reduce federal taxes that penalize married couples. Under the current tax code, some spouses who earn about the same salary on the middle-to-upper end of the spectrum pay more in taxes by filing jointly as a married couple than they would as individuals. Justin Wolfers explains further: “The U.S. has a household-based taxation system which subsidizes married families when one person stays home and taxes most people extra if they choose to marry and both work full-time. The average tax cost of marriage for a dual-income couple is $1,500 annually.”

As James Pethokoukis points out, such policies are in line with a pro-natalist policy that some policy analysts have pushed for, both for social and economic reasons, citing Robert Stein’s commentary in National Affairs. “Too many free-market economists still consider families an afterthought — ­arguing that the tax code should be ‘neutral’ about raising children, as if parenting were merely one hobby among many. But raising children is hardly just another pastime: It is one of the most important services any American can perform for our country,” Stein writes, arguing that higher fertility rates would also bolster the financial future of Social Security and Medicare. By contrast, candidates like Rick Perry would eliminate the child tax credit and most other kinds of deductions in the tax code.

The rest of his platform is similar to his 2012 rivals’ tax proposals, and he’s in the middle of the pack in terms of how drastically he’d change the tax code. Santorum would flatten and simplify the tax rates to 10 percent and 28 percent—with a slightly higher ceiling than Perry and Huntsman’s proposals, but more concrete than Romney’s platform—lower the capital gains tax rate, but not eliminate it entirely, and cut the corporate tax rate in half.

 
Read what others are saying

    Most Read: Business

    DJIA
    0.03%
    NASDAQ
    0.17%
     Last Update: : AM 12/25/2014(NASDAQ&DJIA)

    World Markets from      

     

    Other Market Data from      

     

    Key Rates from