It’s hard to say no to children in need. The desire to help children is so fundamental that it can be hard for some people to reject poor public policy if it’s enacted in the name of needy kids. This conflict between the desire to protect children and the desire to enact sound fiscal policy is at the center of the S-CHIP debate, a topic we have written about numerous times (here, here and here, among others). Unfortunately, many legislators and voters do not realize that these two goals need not be mutually exclusive; sound fiscal policy helps everyone—adults and children, rich and poor.
A new article from the Mises Institute titled “How Can You Oppose Health Care for Children?” analyzes the drawbacks of expanding S-CHIP with higher tobacco taxA tax is a mandatory payment or charge collected by local, state, and national governments from individuals or businesses to cover the costs of general government services, goods, and activities. es, including some of the tax policy concerns we have written about. The article concludes:
Those favoring expanding SCHIP trumpet their compassion for children and attack opponents as inexcusably mean. But the Scrooge-versus-Tiny-Tim imagery is neither accurate nor complete. Instead, it crowds out rational consideration of an extremely questionable policy, especially when combined with urgent “we must act now” rhetoric. And if the strongest arguments supporters can make for it require both substantial misrepresentation and high pressure, they have a poor case.