Reductio Ad Absurdum: The tax code needs provisions for a “blue tax”

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Ed. Remark: This is the latest in a series of articles on motherhood in the legal profession, in partnership with our friends at MothersEsquire. Welcome Alyssa S. Hodges to our pages. Click on here if you would like to donate to MothersEsquire.

On May 19, 2022, Oklahoma State Representative Mickey Dollens (D) facetiously invited the House to co-write a outrageous bill with him. The bill would require pubescent boys “to undergo a mandatory vasectomy that is only reversible when they reach the point of financial and emotional stability.” Telling young men what to do with their reproductive organs is abhorrent. She is intrusive and controlling. And some of these young men may never even achieve financial or emotional stability. So what I’m proposing instead is that Congress introduce a “blue tax” into the Tax Code.

At puberty, young men should begin paying modest federal and state “blue taxes.” If a young man is not employed by the time he reaches puberty, he will not be expected to pay his blue taxes, but his blue taxes will start earning interest. Once the young person has obtained a job, their accrued interest must be paid in addition to the blue tax on their first tax return. The blue tax should continue to be due each year, until the death of the man. If the man fails to pay the blue tax, the government should put a lien on his property or estate until the blue tax, and any subsequent accrued interest, is paid in full.

How should Congress allocate “blue tax dollars”? I have several ideas.

First, Congress should allocate a portion of these blue tax funds to help low-income pregnant women access quality health care. If young men see that their blue tax money is being used to fund health care for pregnant women and their infants, surely those young men, especially if they are pro-lifers, should make a happy to pay their blue taxes every year.

Second, the blue tax should be used to bridge the 15% to 20% “maternity penalty” gap, by providing education funds to pregnant women who have not had access to higher education. In turn, access to higher education will ensure that pregnant women and new mothers get better jobs. Better employment for single mothers will reduce the need for social assistance programs, as the legislative intent of many of these programs was to help low-income single mothers.

Third, the blue tax should be used to enable low-income single mothers to access affordable work-related child care. In the 1930s, there were federally funded preschools for children. These kindergartens were expanded during World War II when women started working outside the home because men were fighting in the war. After the war ended, women were expected to take over custody of the children at home, and federal preschool programs were no longer funded. Today, if blue taxes were enacted, blue tax money would allow the government to fund these programs again. These programs would allow low-income single mothers to access work-related child care at low or no cost. If single mothers get better-paying jobs — and childcare to enable them to work those jobs — it follows that welfare programs wouldn’t need as much funding.

Fourth, blue tax dollars could fund state agency welfare programs for children. In Missouri, the Children’s Division investigates cases of child abuse and neglect. The children’s division is so underfunded that some social workers are selling plasma just to support themselves. Meanwhile, politicians are currently advocating to further cut funding for the Children’s Division. Blue taxpayer money could mean more funding to protect children who are at risk of abuse or neglect.

Critics may argue that Congress might not have the power to create a blue tax. Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution gives Congress the power “to lay and collect imposts, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay debts, and to provide for the common defense and general welfare the United States”. Therefore, a blue tax is well within the power of Congress to pass. A blue tax would be constitutional.

If you are now wondering how it could be constitutional to charge a person with lifelong responsibility to others simply because of their gender, welcome to the club. Until Congress enacts a blue tax, I am actively looking for ways to help single parents in the meantime, because I know they will need help more than ever. Regardless (or, perhaps, despite) your religious and political views, I hope you will join me in seeking ways to help low-income single parents and their children.


Alyssa S. HodgesAlyssa S. Hodges is the founding partner of ASH LAW LLC, a boutique firm focused on fierce family law advocacy and thoughtful estate planning. In 2022, she completed an LLM program in tax law at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. Visit FireBreathingLitigator.com for more information. Interested in helping single parents attend law school? Visit law.umkc.edu/give and select the “RBG Endowed Scholarship Fund” from the drop-down list.

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