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February 18, 2012

Controversial plans to tax the childless are being proposed by German MPs to tackle a demographic time bomb. All adults over the age of 25 without children would be charged an extra one per cent of their income under the scheme. The tax would be halved for the first child and stopped when a second child arrived. The idea has been proposed by MPs from Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union. Supporters argue there should be no exceptions for those unwilling or unable to have children because childless adults have more disposable income and the money is badly needed to pay for social care starting in 2040 when a third of the population will be over 60. Merkel, who does not have children, said she did not want to create a divide between childless adults and parents. The opposition Social Democrats would rather end married couples’ tax advantages if they have no children. –

I tweeted about this article about the German MP’s want to tax the childless a day or two ago, and as I understand it, which is an incentive for them to have children by avoiding the tax.  I do not see how coercing adults into doing something they don’t want to do will lead to a better workforce and country in the future. It is like they are trying to demolish the advantages of childfreedom by taking away disposable income from those who choose not to have kids, to help support those who chose to have them. Not only is it ludicrous, but it is downright immoral.

If Germany has a low birthrate, follow France’s lead and have more incentives for those who choose to procreate instead of taking away from those who choose not to. If they made the choice, it is for a reason (or many) and by forcing them to procreate or making life childfree more difficult–they are taking away from the fundamental act of making reproductive right choices. If someone came to me and said “Hey, if you don’t pop a kid out in the next three years before you turn 25, I’m going to take an additional X amount of money from you!” I would not just sit around and take it. I would be furious. I would go to City Hall. I would protest. I will fight it. And German’schildfree/childless population should be too.

This shows Germany sees its childfree as cash cows, which is taking advantage of these hard-working individuals. If they want to have a higher birth-rate, they should encourage those who WANT kids, not punish those who choose not to have children–or what is even a colder move, punishing those who cannot biologically reproduce. It does not make any sense to pick on those who are infertile, or who wish to do other things with their life to have to support those who get knocked up. The childfree are already paying taxes, anyways. I would suggest to these very pro-natal Christian nutjobs to make life more affordable and more convenient for those who choose to have kids, and leave those who don’t want kids alone. Offer them more tax breaks, give them full-time government funded kindergarten–do what you have to do to make HAPPY parents produce HAPPY kids. Quality over quantity, isn’t that better?

  1. Yanno, I was with you right up until you started saying how it’d be forcing people to have children. If being taxed one percentage point more than someone with kids is all it takes then deary me you need to think about why you aren’t having kids in the first place… or the mathematics of having kids. Costs WAY more than one percent of your income to have even one kid.

    Child-free as cash cows? Uh, well, maybe because they have more money because they don’t have to put lots of money into raising kids. Give tax breaks to those with kids? Great! Problem is you have to put up taxes across the board to offset these tax breaks and everything else. A self defeating exercise.

    I’m not saying Germany have got it right, I see their logic and I’m a little curious as to how they got to this conclusion rather than the miriad of alternate options. However, your indignation is misplaced when you forget the whole idea of “Who’s going to pay for you when you’re older?” which is probably what the Germans were thinking. “No kids? That’s fine, but then you’re not producing any future tax payers so you’re gonna foot the bill, and that means a bit extra now” to round it off.

    • It’s not one percentage more than parents, but one percent of your total income which is a large amount especially since many 25 year olds are still students, or just recently graduated with tons of student debt. The fact they are not making ANY exceptions for anyone over 25 is worrisome–including those going for their doctorates, infertile couples–or those who are just plain single and are not having children because they haven’t met the one yet…Not everyone is going to be paired off, married and ready to reproduce at the age of 25. It’s preposterous. Maybe 45 is a better option, since you MAY actually have more disposable income, and probably have less excuses.

      I’m nearly 25, and if the government taxed me 1% of my income that is $**** roughly. I don’t know about you, but that is a HUGE amount of cash for me. It’s tax season and the government just raped me for a couple thousand bucks. With the 1% childless tax, they’ll be raping me for $4,000 or more. I don’t think it’s fair for the childless/childfree Germans. I do understand they are thinking about the retirement factor, but isn’t it all rounded off?

      I’m not sure about Germany, but here, US childfree are paying for public schools and their services like buses–and maybe in return, those same kids can foot the bill for the people in retirement homes (when they grow up)–many who are not just adults who don’t have kids, but elderly grandparents as well who have kid that are able to take care of them–they just choose not to..(Why not tax THEM?)

      • I can see a blanket tax being the better idea, but the Germans may be thinking, well if we do that then we have to put up child benefit by a specific amount which is variable depending on income etc. Bit damn complex and that increases costs.

        Also yes, it’s one percent of total income over and above that paid by parents of two or more children. Your point?

        As for the whole “Why am I paying for everyone elses kids?” then that’s fine, the logic being that you’re investing in the future of the country in a variety of ways. I’m not saying it’s a good logic but that’s what they like to use. If you want it to be fair then you’d never pay tax except for police etc whilst everything else you’d pay insurance premiums.

        I’ll admit to always being a little wary of discussing tax with someone in the US as compared to Europe, you’re quite lightly taxed.

      • I don’t mind paying taxes for many services–even those I do not need–like Wheels Trans for the disabled, festivals, etc that the people of our great city/country should partake in–but it feels as if the government of Germany is attacking those in Germany who do not wish to have kids. I can see many alternatives, just like you, to this. Since it is just in the talks right now, they may actually come out with a better idea. I am glad they thought about how it would cause hostility between the childless/parents. Socially speaking, nobody likes to feel marginalized.

  2. A.Roddy permalink

    Just look in US nursing home and you can’t tell some have children. Nulifuture one should think of the financial impact of kids before they have them. It is not someone elses responsibility. Childless people do not always have more income than parents. Then what about the infertile? I thought the US was bad about rewarding certain behaviors.

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