Often, people who favor a policy change will claim that this change has no cost, because the existing policy doesn't work anyway. Opponents of torture claim that it never produces usable intelligence; opponents of high taxes claim that they don't raise any additional revenue.

Usually, these claims are ultra-premium high-test piffle. However, I am happy to report that in this case, I think I actually can make such a claim:

When we approached the agency we offered to pay the full fee and take whatever baby came our way. The social workers told us that we had to choose a program and that given that we were open to “any race,” we would be placed with a black child because there were fewer waiting parents in that program.

“You may as well get the fee break,” one told us. “Because if you are open to adopting a black baby, you will get a black baby.”



"Black babies are worth less than white babies" is a signal that society shouldn't send. Luckily, it doesn't have to. The main cost of adopting a healthy American baby of any race is non-financial; it is the queue. A couple determined to have a white baby will wait years. Babies of other races are in bigger supply, a side effect of black poverty and white affluence. It's unlikely that lower fees result in much shift in peoples' willingness to adopt transracially, so eliminating the fee break would have little cost.

On the other hand, getting rid of the fees entirely would probably be a good idea. If we want to take more money from affluent people, we should do so through the progressive income tax, not through charging people for the privilege of adopting babies that the state would otherwise have to care for. And there's no reason to set up financial barriers to adoption by loving parents of limited means.

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