The familist redistribution of time

Australia’s leading left-familist academics are at it again today, with a 39 point list of more taxes and regulations, which they call ‘Benchmarks: Work and Family Poilcies in Election 2007’, to enforce their view on family life on the rest of us.

I have criticised much of the underlying analysis in previous posts (eg here, here, and here).

While I have objected to the way familists want to redistribute money to people with children (or to people with children on behalf of children, as backroom girl would insist), I have not emphasised they way they propose to redistribute time.

Given that most taxpayers earn their income via personal labour, some redistribution of time is implicit in the tax system. To get a given amount of after-tax income, the higher the taxes levied to support families the more pre-tax income a worker has to earn, and that means longer hours. Most men prefer to work full-time anyway, so while familist policies appropriate the results of their labour, they probably don’t actually significantly increase male hours. Women, however, are often more sensistive to the financial rewards from working (hence the complaints in ‘Benchmarks’ about high EMTRs) and their part-time work is used to bring household income up to a desired level.

But also important is the redistribution of hours within the workplace. Continue reading “The familist redistribution of time”