Less than a month before Hungary begins its policy of exempting all families who have four children from taxes for the rest of their lives, the official in charge of it spoke to Newsmax about the controversial approach to the problem of an aging and diminishing population.
"It's family-friendly and the early signs are positive," Katalin Novak, Hungary's Minister of Family and Youth, told Newsmax on Wednesday. She specifically cited as a hopeful sign the fact that in 2019, the number of marriages in Hungary is at a 40-year high.
Novak spoke to us during a break at the Second Annual Conference on the Family in Washington D.C. She also pointed out that in the last three years, divorces in Hungary have decreased 20% and the number of abortions has decreased 25%.
Assuming many families begin bearing the "magic four" and are exempted from taxes, we asked, might that cause a drop in revenues in Hungary?
"The fact is, we need to have children and the long-term responsibility of a nation lies in its children — children born to responsible mothers, she replied.
Simply put, Novak added, "If we are going to maintain our economy, we need to have more children."
As hopeful as it is about the "4 Children-No Taxes" policy, the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban is also laying out other measures in its "Family Protection Action Plan." Among them are making every young married couple eligible for an interest-free loan of $35,000 and increasing nursery places to provide day care to nursery-aged children if their parents wish to return to work.
Novak also noted that she has had meetings with officials in Poland and the Czech Republic. Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, she said, "is an economist who built several successful businesses and someone who understands the importance of the population to the economy. He's been very supportive."
The Vatican has also been supportive, Novak told us. Although she has not yet discussed Hungary's new policy on children and taxes with Pope Francis, the minister did say that she was met "with some representatives of the Vatican and they were positive about our policy."
As for the United States, she said, "it's actually very inspiring to see how well issues like this are received in the U.S. The [Trump administration] has embraced pro-family issues and it was a pleasure to spend time at the Conference on the Family with various officials discussing the national battles we face in our respective countries."
Among others participating in the conference were White House Domestic Policy Council Director Joe Grogan, and Republican Rep. Vickie Hartzler, Mo., and Valerie Huber, senior policy advisor at the office of Global Affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services.
At 42 and already a mother of three, we asked Novak, would she and her husband, celebrity chef Istvan Veres, consider having a fourth child to meet the hoped-for goal of the government policy she helped to sculpt?
"Our youngest is 11 and I think my time [for having children] has passed," she told us. "But I feel strongly that the best thing [Hungarian families] can do is to have more children. Parenting the Number 1 career one can have."
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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