By now, you’ve probably heard Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann’s inaccurate and inflammatory quote about the IRS ruling reversal that allows breast pumps and pump supplies tax-sheltered status: “I’ve given birth to five babies and I breast-fed every single one,” Bachmann said. “To think that government has to go out and buy my breast pump. … That’s the new definition of a nanny state.”
We know that this is simply wrong, and that “tax-sheltered” doesn’t mean “government-purchased.” It means that moms can purchase pumps and pump supplies through health spending accounts or that they can deduct the costs of those products when they file itemized income taxes. (For a clear explanation of the tax break for moms, see this post.)
Instead of opting to correct Bachmann’s statement or focusing on an explanation of what the new ruling means, the story quickly deteriorates into fodder for the Mommy Wars.