Austria is nervous about its future, because Austrians have stopped having children in sufficient numbers to maintain the population. The government has proclaimed 2008 as Year of the Family.


The new Family Minister Andra Kodolsky, reports Der Standard, is proposing  that parents have a choice of how long and how much money they would receive from the state as a subsidy for a child. This Kindergeld is not controversial, except for the cost.


What she is also proposing as a tax reform, Family Splitting, is much more controversial. This would allow the husband and wife to split the family income between them and their children and pay tax at a lower rate (the Austrian tax system is progressive, like ours.) This has provoked the left because it gives an advantage to the family model in which the husband works and the wife stays home with the children. If there are two children and he earns 100,000 Euros, the family pays taxes only at the rate for 25,000 Euros. The more children, the lower the tax rate.


This allows families with children to keep their income, but it also encourages mothers to stay home. Why work, withal the expenses and inconvenience that it entails, when it would be more profitable to have children and to stay at home to care for them.


The left complains: “The family splitting model is directed against women and favors well paid men who are the sole bread winner.”


The left does not like to encourage women to stay at home, or even to make it easier for them to stay at home. Like capitalists, they think that the only social role that is important is participation in the work force. Encouraging women to work potentially doubles the work force. The larger the work force, the less pressure is there on employers to raise wages.

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