Why did Sen. Rick Santorum suddenly surge to the status of a leading candidate for the Republican nomination for president after having been treated like a not-to-be-taken-seriously contender in the many television debates? It's not only because a significant segment of conservatives voted by a super majority to back him at a meeting in Houston last week.
It's because Santorum has sensibly addressed the intersection of fiscal and social issues. He has put on the table a consistent conservative economic and social message.
The majority of Americans, and certainly the big majority of Republican voters, say they support traditional marriage: the union of a husband and a wife. So why are we permitting our fiscal policies to discriminate against traditional marriage and against the right and need of children to have a father and a mother married to each other?
Don't let anyone tell you that federal policy should be neutral about marriage, children and the family. There is no such thing as a neutral tax or a neutral deduction or a neutral credit. Every part of our income tax return is a manifestation of some social policy.
The whole concept of a progressive income tax is social policy. We as a nation adopted the social policy that those with more income must pay federal income taxes at higher rates than those with less income.
It's a decision of social policy that we can deduct gifts to religious and charitable organizations and for retirement savings. It's a decision of social policy to promote home ownership by being able to deduct mortgage payments.
The Defense of Marriage Act overwhelmingly passed by Congress in 1996 and signed by Bill Clinton (now under attack by the Obama administration and supremacist judges), not only protects state marriage laws, but it also protects the 1,138 federal laws that the Government Accountability Office says depend on the traditional definition of marriage.
Traditional marriage was specifically favored in the federal income tax when the great Republican 80th Congress created the joint income tax return over President Harry Truman's veto in 1948. This enabled single-earner married couples to file their income tax return as two people, which they certainly are.
Social policy honoring and benefitting the full-time homemaker has been an essential feature of the Social Security system since its creation in 1935. Under the Carter administration, the feminists pursued a three-alternative plan to deprive full-time homemakers of this benefit, but they were not successful.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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