The tax code should be more or less scrapped and rewritten from scratch. The sheer volume of the thing leads to a complexity that could be taken as evidence of a complete lack of interest on the part of lawmakers in creating comprehensible law. A lack of interest in creating comprehensible law can only lead to mischief at best and, at worst, leads to laws that simply cannot be obeyed even by citizens of above average intelligence and with the best intentions. Some critics now claim that the current tax code has exactly this nature.
How should the tax be? As flat as possible, with preferential treatment for the raising of children. If entertainment is an expense of doing the business of commerce, then why aren’t good food, good clothes and good education considered legitimate expenses of doing the business of raising a family?
Now, just about the worst turn we could take would be to reframe the discussion of raising children in the language of business. One problem with our society is the tendency to idolize business and try to view everything as some sort of business. There are specialized philosophical discussions in which doing this makes perfect sense, but it is unnecessary and even destructive to carry this practice over into the everyday discussions we should be having about raising our children.
There are certainly times when it makes sense to provide government funding for some development activities, such as when a developing technology seems essential to the nation’s competitiveness or security, but this shouldn’t be handled through the tax system, where provisions are buried so deep that no ordinary citizen could possibly decode what’s going on. A better system is to insist that everyone and every business pay some reasonable rate of tax. Then, let those who think that they deserve help apply for a loan or a grant, just as any ordinary citizen would have to do. That way, the help is in the public record, clear as a bell, and the votes that approve the help are on record and easy to review.