Shame on the “Pro-Family” GOP for Eliminating the Adoption Tax Credit

Posted at 10:00 am on November 04, 2017 by Kimberly Ross

On Thursday, Trump’s GOP introduced their tax cut proposal entitled The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). The plan would add $1.5 trillion to the national debt over the next ten years and is fraught with issues, but never mind that. This would be a huge legislative victory for the Trump administration.

And we all know he’s desperate for that.

Earlier, Patterico explained why his answer is a firm “no” to a tax cut bill that essentially does the opposite; raise taxes. Also, Joe Cunningham gave four reasons why most conservative can’t support the bill in its current form.

Personally, I take issue with several aspects of the TCJA, but will just focus on one glaring problem in the form of the elimination of the adoption tax credit. As a very vocal, pro-life conservative who is active in the cause, the removal of this credit bothers me greatly. In fact, it is quite opposite of what a supposedly pro-life and pro-family party should be doing.

For the 2017 tax year, the adoption tax credit was capped at $13,570. That credit can be spread over six years, the year claimed followed by five more years. As the North American Council of Adoptable Children explains here, not everyone qualifies for the credit. If you make more than around $242,000, you cannot claim the credit.

Furthermore…

Families with adjusted gross incomes of less than $30,000 are not likely to benefit from the adoption tax credit at all because they do not owe any federal taxes.

Those making $30,000 to $50,000 will probably be able to use only a portion of the credit (maybe a few thousand), with the benefit spread out over six years.

Those making more than $100,000 can typically use most of the credit for one child in a year or two.

As you can see, the credit is very specific and is not dragging down the whole of the U.S. government and their revenue stream.

The benefit of the credit hardly offsets the entire cost of an adoption (which can reach up to $40,000+), but for families looking to add to or begin their brood, it is especially helpful. Beyond that, a fair number of families adopt physically or mentally handicapped children who have been waiting for their forever home. They are aware that a one-time credit is merely a drop in the bucket when looking at expenses in the years ahead, but still, they are grateful.

It is for these reasons that the often-used “if you’re adopting just to get a tax credit, you’re doing it for the wrong reason” argument falls flat. Really? What a groundbreaking thought! A lifetime commitment to parenting is too costly an investment to enter into all for a few thousand dollars, which may or may not be fully accessible to you depending on your gross income.

So give me a break.

Pro-adoption advocates are rightly bothered by the proposal to eliminate the credit.

“If they want to promote family-friendly policies, who needs help more than a child without a family?” said Mary Boo, executive director of the North American Council on Adoptable Children.

“This will make it tougher to adopt. Period,” Schylar Baber, executive director of Voice for Adoption, said.

…adoption advocates said the proposed changes to the U.S. tax system would end up discouraging adoption.

“It doesn’t balance out the loss and doesn’t act as an incentive,” said Adam Pertman, president of the National Center for Adoption and Permanency.

Jedd Medefind, president of the Christian Alliance for Orphans, said he’s seen the tax credit bridge the difference between families being able to move forward with adoption and backing out. He expects that there will be fewer adoptions if the credit is eliminated.

Baber, of Voice for Adoption, said the tax credit’s loss would be especially hard on foster-care adoptions, where it becomes more difficult to find homes for older children.

And some members of Congress are not pleased with the proposed removal, either.

If the TCJA proposed a flat tax where everyone paid the same rate despite income, I can see eliminating credits altogether. But this plan doesn’t. Additionally, with this proposal, the child tax credit is being raised from $1,000 to only $1,600. Lawmakers like Representative Kevin Brady argue this mere $600 increase “is a better approach for the vast majority of Americans” and why we needn’t be concerned about the elimination of the adoption tax credit. Sure.

Traditionally, the GOP is the party that fervently protects the unborn. Republican lawmakers usually lean pro-life, with few exceptions. Being a voice for the voiceless is a privilege, especially these days when abortion is seen as just a routine aspect of women’s reproductive rights.

But the pro-life issue does not just center on the womb.

Being pro-life also includes supporting adoption as an alternative to abortion. This means encouraging women who face unplanned/unwanted pregnancies to see their pregnancy through to term and support them in their adoptive placement. It also means not condemning these women who make difficult choices we could never see ourselves making. Adoption is never a disgrace.

When you discuss the abortion issue with someone on the other side of the aisle, inevitably they’ll argue that Republicans only care about inhabitants of the womb and forget children once they’re born. By striking a very necessary credit for families who choose to adopt, the GOP is slowly proving them right. Those who advocate for the removal of this credit must think they’re teaching “entitled” Americans some sort of difficult life lesson. I guess that argument helps those Republicans who famously lack compassion rationalize their position away.

The bottom line is that eliminating the adoption tax credit will make adoption more difficult. It will discourage families (most of whom are not independently wealthy) from the process. Adoption advocates and adoptive families attest to these truths.

Shame on the GOP for seeking to cut the necessary adoption tax credit while continuing to fund Planned Parenthood.

It’s as if the claims of being pro-life and pro-family were just lip service all along.