Marco Rubio Wants To Fight Abortion and Trans Battles in the Tax Code
With the passage of state laws intended to restrict access to abortion, some companies like Bumble, Yelp, and Salesforce have announced programs to assist employees who have to travel to other states in order to obtain the procedure. After the apparent leak of a draft Supreme Court opinion which would overturn the right nationwide, Amazon announced that for any employees who have to travel in order to receive an abortion, it would reimburse up to $4,000 annually.
Last week, Sen. Marco Rubio (R–Fla.) responded by threatening legislation.
Employees’ health care costs are typically tax deductible as business expenses for their employers. Rubio’s bill, the No Tax Breaks for Radical Corporate Activism Act, would bar a company from deducting the costs of reimbursements not only for abortions but also for gender-affirming medical treatments for transgender children. In a statement accompanying the legislation, Rubio said, “Our tax code should be pro-family and promote a culture of life.”
But directly disincentivizing behavior is a fundamental misuse of the tax code, and it’s unlikely to work anyway.
To be sure, government policies are inherently incentivizing: For example, laws against robbery and murder are intended to keep people from robbing and murdering. Regarding taxes, people with incomes near the top of their tax brackets are disincentivized to increase their income, to avoid paying a higher rate.
But writing specific incentives into the tax code is an inherent market distortion, where politicians choose what products and activities they think people should be buying and partaking in. This can take the form of cronyism when certain types of products are favored. Even something as seemingly benign and beneficial as a tax credit for purchasing electric vehicles can just become a giveaway to favored companies. Additionally, when a benefit exis
Article from Reason.com