The Tax Reform: The Benedict Option vs. Homeschooling

By John Zmirak Published on December 21, 2017

The Republican Congress’ passage of the Trump-sponsored tax reform is a crucial win for the administration. Now Trump can point to concrete achievements. The list, so far, is decent:

  • Defeat of the Islamic state without massive U.S. involvement, cost, or casualties. We had no dogfights with Russian planes, and cut off aid to “rebels” that was ending up with jihadists.
  • Protection for Syria’s Christians — in contrast to the fate of Iraq’s Christians under previous GOP administrations.
  • An economic boom, with a growth rate approaching 4 percent. That’s double the anemic figures for most of the Obama administration.
  • A long list of reliably Constitutional judges appointed to courts at various levels, including the Supreme Court’s Neil Gorsuch.
  • Relief for the Christian groups targeted by Obama’s abortion pill mandate.
  • And now, significant tax cuts that should further boost the economy.
  • Plus, the repeal of the most unconstitutional aspect of Obamacare, the individual mandate to buy health insurance.

Not bad at all. Trump has amassed some real accomplishments, though the media have successfully kept him or the GOP Congress from taking much of the credit. That will be the uphill task of Republican candidates in 2018.

With all of that said, there are some aspects of the tax bill that should disappoint us. The president isn’t to blame for them. In fact, we shouldn’t blame the GOP leadership in Congress. Some of the best provisions in the tax bill were stripped out at the last minute by Democrats. The Republicans lacked the margin of votes to override their maneuvers — a point I’ll get to later.

Here is saddest loss from the tax bill.

The Best Thing for the Birth Rate

Ted Cruz deserves the lasting gratitude of parents across America for the provision he added to the tax bill, which mostly survived. It expanded the tax-exempt 529 savings accounts that once applied only to college funds to those who need it most: Parents trying to keep their children out of public schools. I wrote here three weeks ago that such tax credits were the best move lawmakers could take to boost our failing birth rate.

Is anyone out there is still paying attention to the Benedict Option, and its author’s message on the futility of “voting Republican”? Then think about this: A million and a half parents, many of them Christians, just lost a chance to make their lives a lot easier.

After all, responsible parents think ahead. How many of them limit the size of their families to those they think they can afford to educate responsibly? In large swathes of America, it’s irresponsible to place your kids in a public school. Not just in big cities where you’d fear they might become practice stabbing dummies. No, in suburbs and small towns where leftist teachers unions and social engineers in principals’ offices will saturate them in graphic sex education. Where the bathrooms will be “transgender,” and teachers will encourage them to explore their “gender options.” Where impressionable 14-year-olds will be sent to Planned Parenthood to learn about “safe” sado-masochism.

Sadly, parochial schools such as I attended are shrinking or closing, as parents find tuition unaffordable. If millions of parents learn about and take advantage of 529 accounts, that trend could slow or reverse.

A Sharp Stick in the Eye for Homeschoolers

So what’s the down side?

One alert citizen on Twitter captured what Cruz himself emerged to bemoan: Democrats who couldn’t kill this popular measure took their revenge. They reached into the bill to poke a stick in the eye of the Americans they like the least: homeschoolers.

Why single out this group of Americans who kids cost the taxpayers nothing, since they never darken the door of a public school? Another observer suggested a motive:

The Sandinistas Hated Homeschooling

Should we really be surprised that Sen. Bernie Sanders led the charge for this vindictive measure against 1.5 million harmless, civic-minded Americans? He’s the same man who honeymooned in the Soviet Union and ran interference for the Sandinistas. The idea of citizens educating their own kids, entirely cut off from the Borg? That’s a bridge too far.

Is anyone out there is still paying attention to the Benedict Option, and its author’s message on the futility of “voting Republican”?  Then think about this: A million and a half parents, many of them Christians, just lost a chance to make their lives a lot easier. Thousands of dollars they could have saved tax free for books, laptops, lab equipment, curriculum plans, tutoring, sports activities just vanished from their pockets. Who knows how many will find it financially unsustainable to go on home-schooling without this tax relief? How many Christian kids will end up in anti-Christian public schools — baffled, indoctrinated, impregnated, or otherwise lured away from the church?

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That will happen because of the government. Which we as sovereign voters control. If more Christians voted primarily on social issues such as religious liberty and life, hostile socialists like Bernie Sanders wouldn’t be able to target them. They’d be outvoted by better senators.

Burying Our Talents

So we see here a direct connection between people “not voting Republican” and other people losing their chance to educate their children. It’s reckless, irresponsible, and self-indulgent to abandon the public square in the hope of finding a hole where you can hide. That has never been what Christian citizens did. Even real, live monks and nuns (not laymen “playing friar”) usually register and vote.  

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