The Atlantic’s latest offering on sex and politics comes from two more female bloggers bent on kicking out the foundational structures of our once great society, and replacing them with something less upsetting to their childlike sense that everyone deserves a cookie. Why are they demanding these changes? So they can have a few more bucks in their purses, of course.
I swear you could write this stuff by formula. The ladies in question are Lisa Arnold and Christina Campbell, who run “a website about being single today,” and this week their Fairness-Undermined-by-Patriarchy Alert Systems (F.U.P.A.S.) are blaring ALL HAMSTERS ON DECK because of the financial benefits that accrue to married people. They break these down into a number of categories: taxes, Social Security, housing, etc.
To give you a sense of the caliber of reasoning Ms. Arnold and Ms. Campbell bring to bear on this issue, check out their analysis of the unjustly high housing costs faced by single women:
Our single woman making $40,000 spent $955,200 on housing over 60 years, whereas our married woman making $40,000 spent only $573,600. The married woman saves $381,600 in comparison to her unmarried equivalent.
This is because the married woman splits her housing costs with her husband. Put another way:
(Your Rent) > (Your Rent) / 2
The same holds true for (Your Mortgage Payment). The most fundamental operations in mathematics discriminate against single women, evidently.
Notice that, in the excerpt above, the authors have arrived at their totals by holding housing costs constant for 60 years. Your typical mortgage is paid off in 30 years. For more examples of their vain struggle with numbers, see basically every meaningful comment appended to the Atlantic’s post.
There’s more. Ms. Arnold and Ms. Campbell insist housing cost inequality goes beyond married couples splitting their rent payments. Why, singles could save all sorts of money on housing if only the government would…
…provide housing options for alternative family structures or collective lifestyles that might benefit singles. Just one example might be a house or condo complex with several private bed/bath areas but a shared kitchen and shared living/dining room…
A house or condominium with “several private bed/bath areas” and “a shared kitchen and shared living/dining room.” They have these already, you know. They’re called multi-bedroom houses and apartments, and there are literally millions of them available, for rent or for purchase, all across America.
Small sampling of the housing options for single broads.
But okay. We’ve established that these authors’ areas of expertise include neither math nor logistics. Still, even if you discard the trumped-up difference in housing expenses, they did find that over 60 years, a single woman of average income loses about $100,000 on things like taxes and Social Security as compared to a married woman with the same income. A single woman with more income ($80,000 annually) loses about $260,000 compared to her married equivalent.
Let’s pretend for a moment the authors nailed their calculations and these numbers are beyond question. Why are government policies saving married folks money? The authors say it’s because marriage might make people “healthier and happier,” and after all, the government is in the business of subsidizing your personal health and happiness.
This is wrong, and since Ms. Arnold and Ms. Campbell do run a website germane to this topic and are presumably informed about these things, I assume it’s a deliberate lie. It is true that the government gives certain tax and entitlement benefits to married people. The reasons, however, are nothing so fuzzy as marginal improvements in self-reported happiness.
The government likes marriage because it makes people more stable, more productive, and more prosperous. The reasons for this are not complicated.
- Married couples have two salaries, or at least two eligible wage-earners. They spend more, they save more, and layoffs, accidents, illness, and all the other vicissitudes of life are less apt to land them (and their children) on the welfare rolls.
- Married couples are more involved in their communities. They split the time and costs involved in childcare and running a home. This means more money for charity, and more time for volunteerism and side businesses. Stay-at-home wives and wives who work part time once were (and in some American cities, still are) the lifeblood of PTAs, religious organizations, and all manner of volunteer groups. Careerist single women don’t have time for quaint pursuits like strengthening the social fabric of their communities.
- And married couples raise better children, who perform better in school and, thanks to their parents’ greater time and money, get to participate in more extracurricular activities.
Or look at it another way, one of the ladies in the crowd will appreciate: marriage is the ultimate form of welfare. It pools two people’s resources to provide them with more freedom and financial security. Though it doesn’t make married people into model citizens, it does push them in that direction. That is exactly the sort of thing I want my government to incentivize.
And while single people aren’t deadbeats by default, you don’t see a long row of hard-luck married women lined up outside your local welfare office. One survey found that 95 percent of women entering New Jersey’s welfare program were unmarried. To all the single ladies paying more in taxes, just think of it as insurance against the rest of us having to underwrite your iPhone bills.
Not that I oppose government subsidies for high-res boob pics.
Of course, Ms. Arnold and Ms. Campbell’s decision to run the numbers only for single women obscures the fact that single men like me also pay more in taxes and more for healthcare. If my sole interest were maxing out my checking account balance, maybe I could get behind this effort.
But as it happens, I would like to live in a prosperous nation, one where people raise their kids properly and have the time and money to help their neighbors. I may never get married myself, but I’m not going to cheerlead the atomization of our society through dismantling all incentives to marry.
Men who do get married are making one hell of a sacrifice for a good greater than their own. I’ll happily pay a little more to avoid doing the same. And I’ll keep calling out the shrikes, like Ms. Arnold and Ms. Campbell, who pretend their rootless profligacy makes them deserving of the same benefits given to married couples. Ladies, your situation may not be “fair,” but there are things in this world more important than fairness.