Family-Friendly Tax Policy: Practical Ideas for Helping Parents

Comprehensive tax reform is a perennial challenge to policymakers in Washington, D.C. Over the years, a number of serious plans have been offered by Congress, the Executive Branch, and various think-tanks and private scholars to remedy the extraordinarily complex tax system with which individuals, families, and companies of all sizes deal.

On September 27, 2017, President Donald Trump, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), and Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), in conjunction with the leaders of the relevant committees in the House and Senate, released Tax Reform: More Jobs, Fairer Taxes, Bigger Paychecks—a Unified Framework for Fixing Our Broken Tax Code (“Tax Framework”), which seems to have broad support. In fact, it includes a number of the pro-family tax provisions we discuss in this paper, including maintenance of the charitable deduction, repeal of the death (estate) tax, provision of a credit for caring, and an increase in the child tax credit. These provisions will have a profound impact on families. What Washington does to the family budget has a direct effect on the well-being of millions of moms, dads, and children.

The family is at the heart of our economy. As Family Research Council (FRC) has noted elsewhere, “The family is the great generator, and the intact family the greatest generator, of human capital (knowledge, attitudes, skills and habits of the individual), and of much financial savings and capital as well. The vast majority of small businesses (out of which eventually grow the large businesses of the nation) begin as family businesses, started on the savings of family and relatives, and on the human capital formed by parental investment in the education of children.”

So, given the imperative of family economic well-being and the relative sluggishness of economic growth, Family Research Council proposes the following shorter-term but still productive actions federal policymakers can take to bolster private family economies and the ability of moms and dads to better provide for their children.


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