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America for Singles

An informative piece by Michelle Conlin about Unmarried America . This is something I have always felt. Married people have special tax breaks, house subsidies and occasional special treatment, in addition to a generally higher salary. Long quote here, but important to read.

The notion that married people lose out because they pay more in taxes through the oft-cited marriage penalty is only partly true. Dual-income, high-earning marrieds and low-income couples sometimes suffer the penalty, but for slightly more than half of all spouses, marriage actually slashes tax bills, particularly for those with children. That means, for example, that mega-salary executives with stay-at-home wives get subsidies that single working mothers don’t. “It does seem unfair to me that there are single people in our exact same situation who pay more than we do in taxes,” says Scott Houser, a tax-code expert and economics professor at California State University at Fresno.” Fixing the marriage penalty is just going to make the single penalties worse.”

Indeed, the elements are in place for a new form of social warfare. That’s because what’s occurring is a wealth transfer to the married class, which imposes an array of unseen taxes on singles — no matter how many people they care for or are dependent on them.

In the workplace, unmarried people wind up making an average 25% less than married colleagues for the same work because of the marriage-centric structure of health care, retirement, and other benefits, calculates Thomas F. Coleman, a lawyer who heads the Los Angeles-based American Association for Single People.

In the civic arena, rising school taxes and growing inequities in pensions between marrieds and singles represent a big bonus for legal couples. The unmarried are often subjected to discrimination in housing and credit applications. They pay more for auto and homeowners’ insurance and are shut out of valuable discounts on gyms, country clubs, hotel rooms — even football-ticket lotteries. In some states, unmarried people, perhaps laid off from jobs and scrounging to pay their bills, are barred from taking on roommates to help pay the rent.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Raspil 1/5/2004, 7:23 pm

    we need to cut the country in half (longwise) and the marrieds can go to the north and the rest of us can go to the south because we need to hang out on the beach and drink umbrella drinks and the married people can haul their kids and spouses to the warehouse store in their SUVs.

    /i’m not this ignorant, i’m trying to be funny. it might not work.

  • Jenny 1/9/2004, 2:10 am

    Actually, some single working mothers (such as myself) should be able to declare “head of household” status when filing their taxes. There is somewhat of a break in that it’s a lower tax rate than for the “single” status. Of course, the point of your post is not lost on me — it certainly isn’t fair that those who choose to keep their chromosomes to themselves or who choose not to merge domiciles via bonded ceremony should carry the brunt of tax responsibility. But I don’t see this load shifting in any significant way until the politicos release their medieval notions regarding marriage and accept that in these times marriage is a luxury, not a necessity. Perhaps we should be assessing a luxury tax on the CEO with the stay-at-home tea-sipping arm-charm to balance things out.

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