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.