ELECTION 2020: The Booker ‘free’ money scheme will reward youth unemployment

NEW YORK, N.Y. — Gropacus (f/k/a Cory Booker) is running for president, and he’s running hard on a scheme to give $50,000 in tax dollars to every low-income American child.

How would he pay for it?

Booker visited New York’s WPIX on Monday and insisted “it’s actually not expensive.”

If the United States adopted the estate tax rate from a decade ago, Booker reasons, “we could actually fund something like this.” The top federal estate tax rate was 45% in 2008; it’s 40% for 2018. Booker’s home state (New Jersey) repealed its on state estate tax as part of the 2016 gas tax hike compromise between Chris Christie and legislative Democrats.

Booker’s pitch has actually been criticized by both sides of the aisle. Conservatives point out that the math of how to finance such a massive new program is much harder than Booker suggests, and the program would also remove a key incentive for young people to work for that first home down payment; at least one liberal group complains the money would arrive precisely when kids are older and family finances are more stable (and therefore in less need of outside assistance).

It’s also been tried before.

“In ‘Losing Ground,’the Heritage Foundation’s Vijay Menon explained how six U.S. states experimented with a “negative income tax” between 1968 to 1980 with unintended consequences for the workforce.

“If recipients lost their jobs during the experiment,” Menon wrote, “they experienced significantly longer spells of unemployment compared with non-recipients — more than two months longer for husbands, almost a year longer for wives, and longer still for single mothers.”

“Policy should be designed to reward work, rather than replace it,” Menon added.

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