The Marriage Penalty That Has Nothing to Do with Taxes

If you’ve read Singled Out, you know my take on the so-called marriage penalty in taxes – it is actually a bonus. Single people are the one who get penalized. A law review article comes to the same conclusion.

There’s a different sense of the marriage penalty that actually is real, according to sociologists Naomi Gerstel and Natalia Sarkisian. They talk about marriage as a greedy institution, because it wants all of the interpersonal time and attention for itself. As I’ve been discussing at Living Single, people who are married pay less attention to other people in their lives than do people who are single. They are less likely to stay in close touch with their siblings, friends, parents, or neighbors, or to support them in emotional or practical ways.

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Sweating the Small Stuff: Micro-Inequities and Micro-Affirmations

In my writing about singles, I’ve often pointed to the big ways that singles are targets of discrimination. Singles are discriminated against in the housing market, in ways that are blatant and yet not recognized as wrong. They pay more than their share in taxes. Single men are paid less than comparably-accomplished married men, and both single men and single women have less access to benefits such as health insurance. That’s unequal compensation for the same work. There are more than 1,000 federal laws that benefit married people. And that’s just the beginning. (Other examples are in Chapter 12 of Singled Out.)

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UK Couples Want Better Treatment of Singles

Readers have been alerting me to the new UK study that calculated the extra money it costs to live solo compared to living as a couple. I’ll get to that topic in a later post. As is my custom, I went to the original report to see what it actually did say, and discovered some other findings that surprised and impressed me. So far as I can tell, they have not made it into the media.

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