Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • olyclimber

      WELCOME TO THE CASCADECLIMBERS.COM FORUMS   02/03/18

      We have upgraded to new forum software as of late last year, and it makes everything here so much better!  It is now much easier to do pretty much anything, including write Trip Reports, sell gear, schedule climbing related events, and more. There is a new reputation system that allows for positive contributors to be recognized,  it is possible to tag content with identifiers, drag and drop in images, and it is much easier to embed multimedia content from Youtube, Vimeo, and more.  In all, the site is much more user friendly, bug free, and feature rich!   Whether you're a new user or a grizzled cascadeclimbers.com veteran, we think you'll love the new forums. Enjoy!
Sign in to follow this  
chelle

Married vs. Single

Recommended Posts

We've had some interesting discussions about marriage in the past. Thought this might stir the pot a bit.

 

From the NY Times

January 25, 2004

Single and Paying for It

By SHARI MOTRO

 

mid all the heated discussion on both sides of the gay marriage debate, a broader point has somehow gotten lost: why should formally committed couples, straight or gay, enjoy special privileges in the first place?

 

Married couples can receive thousands of dollars in benefits and discounts unavailable to single Americans, including extra tax breaks, bankruptcy protections and better insurance rates. Why, for example, should a married poet whose wife pays the bills get tax breaks that are unavailable to a single poet who struggles to write between telemarketing jobs? Why should all workers be required to make the same Social Security contributions if retirees with non-wage-earning spouses get more back from the system? If we force single mothers off welfare on the theory that they should pay their own way, why don't we require married stay-at-home moms to pay market prices for health insurance?

 

Though most people would agree that these distinctions are arbitrary and unfair, as a society we tend not to notice that breaks for people who are married translate into penalties for those of us who are not.

 

Take Gary Chalmers and Richard Linnell, two of the plaintiffs in the famous Massachusetts gay marriage case. Because they could not marry, Mr. Chalmers was unable to add Mr. Linnell to the health insurance policy offered by his employer. They had to purchase a separate policy for Mr. Linnell at considerable expense. In effect, this meant that Mr. Chalmers was paid less than his married co-workers for the same labor, as was every other unmarried employee.

 

The Massachusetts court found in November that excluding same-sex couples like Mr. Chalmers and Mr. Linnell from the benefits of marriage violated their civil rights. The court's decision, though, ignored the rest of Massachusetts' unmarried workers.

 

Singles' rights advocates face an uphill battle because their demands for equality are easily mistaken for anti-marriage assaults. Furthermore, because most Americans, myself included, believe that marriage provides a valuable social framework, many are quick to dismiss challenges to marriage-based benefits as a threat to the institution. Though well intentioned, this impulse makes no sense in the face of current realities.

 

Many marriage-based benefits, for instance, are seen as proxies for helping families with children. Yet marriage is no longer a good indicator of parenthood. As of 2000, one in three children were born to unmarried parents. Distributing benefits intended to support child rearing on the basis of marital status gives a windfall to childless married couples while leaving empty handed single parents and their children — who as a group already face harsher realities.

 

Benefits are also defended as vehicles for promoting marriage. Their effectiveness in achieving this goal is dubious at best, counterproductive at worst. Common sense says that couples who are otherwise unprepared to take on the obligations of marriage and who do so for financial reasons only are prime candidates for divorce.

 

Finally, marriage benefits may be seen as a way to reward citizens who take on the weighty obligations of wedlock. But if 50 percent of marriages end in divorce, 50 percent of marriage-based "rewards" are nothing but an expensive mistake. The marriage dole also subsidizes a growing number of unions governed by prenuptial agreements. Such pacts are usually intended to protect the assets of moneyed spouses, effectively undoing the very protections that, in part, make marriage worth defending in the first place.

 

Research consistently shows that unmarried Americans are on average poorer, sicker and sadder than their married counterparts. Yet they are denied perks given to married couples who, in many cases, neither need nor deserve them. Though gay couples certainly lose out as well, singles of any preference pay a triple price for not finding love: they don't enjoy the solace and support of a life partner; they don't profit from the economies of scale that come from pooling resources with a mate; and they effectively subsidize spousal benefits that they themselves can't take advantage of.

 

Advocates for gay marriage have exposed a huge blind spot: married-only benefits also discriminate against America's 86 million unmarried adults. Contrary to popular belief, marriage penalties are far outweighed by marriage bonuses. The concerns of single Americans are urgent and deserve attention. Next time you're filling out a form that asks you to check the box next to "married," "single," "divorced" or "widowed," ask yourself this: Why should it matter?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
...Next time you're filling out a form that asks you to check the box next to "married," "single," "divorced" or "widowed," ask yourself this: Why should it matter?

 

Definitely a good read there, ehmmic, and a finely tuned argument to boot.

 

But as a counter-point to the article, I can't help but recall how much extra $$$ I had lying around in cash and other investments before the wife-to-be moved in 3 years ago, compared to my financial state as of late, what with said wife and now a baby boy. confused.gifyellaf.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, maybe you should get a better tax accountant. Obviously you aren't taking advantage of all the benefits. yellaf.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think Captain Black Bart just became my new favorite avatar on this site!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd look at life from both sides now from win and lose and still somehow

It's life delusion I recall I really don't know life at all

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
no, we banned them all, Seattle-liberal style rolleyes.gif

 

yelrotflmao.gif

OK then, I'll speak for em.

Ta Hell with all your single whinnin and pinin. Married people are ten times more likely to to be PLANNING children. It takes time and planning to "BE READY". Even though you never really are. But, kids are a responsibility that takes a little more than one person has to offer. Ask any single parent. It takes two, and it takes a stable home. Statistically, we are not staying together as long, I know but that has a lot to do with two things. One, the US became a secular society in or around the sixties. This means that morals and ethical principles lost some importance- living for what comes after, as apposed to just for the here and now, became unimportant. Of course there are many non-spiritual people who uphold the highest of moral and ethical standards but they were raised in a society that had a underlying mythology that provided a moral and ethical compass and was originally based in spirituality.

Two, mobility created a cosmopolitan society that allowed a broader sense of belonging. In other words, if you screw up your life you just move so your nose doesn't get rubbed in it for the rest of your life. Case in point, my first wife. Gone. Tahoe, last I heard.

But these are not excuses. They are side shows. The basis for this society was christianity followed by strong family values followed by industriousness. We are slidin on all three and more so in the last 40 years than before. So should we just give up on 1.Christianity, 2. Strong nuclear families, and/or 3. industriousness?

Or do you disagree with everything said above?

Discuss.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah, but I did not say we should give up on any of them. I asked if we should. I think not. 1. Christianity. As with all organized religions, it has it's good points and it's bad points, both expressions of man. I think the good points out weigh the bad points. Our society is proof that it works. We got here by hook and by crook as did everybody else in history but we are at a pretty good place. We can have this talk without fear of being banned. We can have children and move about freely. As a whole, we take pretty good care of our under priveleged. Although we could do better, there is also something to be said for taking responsibility for where you are. In fact it comes from the Bible. 2. Nuclear families. We need them. Mine wasn't all that good and look how I turned out. People who come from strong nuclear families tend to be more normal in their respective societies. It is the combine effect of all that wisdom and practice interacting. 3. Industriousness. Can't have a country without it. Our welfare situation has created a generation of slackers. Generations have seen their parents get by just by watching TV and living in separate places. Nothing motivational and looking at our side of the fence is a mixed bag of incomprehension, anger, and envy.

So what does any of this have to do with Emmhic's great post? Marriage should be encouraged because it fosters stable relationships out of which come morally and ethically sound kids with strong work ethics. Are single people being ripped off by our tax structure? I don't think so. If we stop supporting and nurturing our foundational institutions, we will crumble.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

People who come from strong tribal families tend to be more normal in their respective societies.

 

Social darwinism and conspicuous consumption have created a generation of demoralized people.

 

Couple that with the fact nobody trusts the government if their guy ain't heading it up and we crumble.

 

Marriage is a legal arrangement (both secular and in the eyes of your diety of choice). Love and committment are personal. What Bush is thinking, promoting "marriage" is most likely "which side are you on boys, which side are you on?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting but many of the benefits listed are through the private sector (health care) which is used to attract better employees. Also, married couples get taxed at a HIGHER rate than two singles living together.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some data to consider in light of the statements you made Bug:

 

- When it comes to Christianity, the most devout are the most divorced. Fundamentalist/Born Again Christians have the highest divorce rate amongst all Christian denominations.

 

-Atheists and Agnostics have a lower divorce rate than all major religions in the US (if you include all Christian denominations as a whole). If you parse Christians a bit further it turns out that Atheists and Agnostics have the same rate of divorce as Catholics and Lutherans, who are tied for the lowest rate of divorce amongst all major Christian denominations.

 

Interesting stuff.

 

Source: http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_dira.htm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The NYT article starts with a fallacy - that the law confers nothing but benefits upon married couples. Even if this is so, the article ignores the question it asks, which is whether we, as a society, "ought" to confer such benefits.

 

It is true that in some areas (sometimes tax, some entitlement programs, some private transactions like insurance) that the married enjoy some economic benefit not available to the single. Conveniently ignored are the benefits available to the single and not to the married. Example - at my company an employee who purchases "family" or "spousal" health insurance coverage pays far more additional than the rate for a single employee.

 

Those who are married are also in a legal status that they are not free to change without a significant degree of interference from the state. Anyone who has ever been through a divorce, even one not fought out, can tell you that the state will be in your business in a significant way, for quite a while, especially if there are children. Married persons may, depending on the situation and on state law, be responsible for debts and other actions of the other. Marriage is a legal "status," one of he last left in the law, that comes with both benefits and burdens. The current whining from some (like the NYT author) seems to me like men complaining that they have to pay more for life insurance and isn't that unfair, while women complain about paying more for health insurance or for a pension annuity. Both want to talk about the situations in which they are disadvantaged while insisiting on preservation of advantages.

 

Even if it were true that the married are "advantaged" by the law, a dubious proposition, would there not be good reasons for encouraging marraige and the pair-bonded family? With the utmost respect for my single-parent friends, who do much for their children, raising kids is a two-person job and both men and women bring unique features to the process. I am disturbed by the possible scandanavization of our society, where conceiving and raising children is accomplished by single women and men are only temporarily and not significantly involved (except maybe as payors of support). This is not to pass a moral judgment on single parents or having children out of wedlock, but I firmly beleive there is a good for society and for the kids in having two-parent families. There is probably a reason that successful human societies have been organized on that basis for a very long time.

 

None of that addresses the issue that lurks behind this article, whether "marriage" should be allowed between same-sex couples. Though many clamor for it on the basis of perceived economic advantages, I think when some of those couples later decide that the relationship isn't working they may not be so entranced with the idea of marriage. Alhough those who ask for same-sex marriage talk about economic and legal advantages, I think the real agenda here is to seek a social stamp of approval or legitmacy (dare I say "equality") on such relationships, and that is why those who wish for same-sex marriage are not entirely content with a "civil union" that addresses the legal and economic isues while still denyng them the "label." Obviously others think that the label ought be denied. But that is what this is really all about, isn't it, is a moral judgment and a "label" or stamp of approval on a relationship. And the NYT article pretends otherwise, which is why it is fundamentally bullshit.

 

It will be interesting to see how this one plays out over the coming years in the several states and I predict this is going to be a "hot button" in the coming election, too. I just hope people can be honest about what is really going on here, which is fundamentally a discussion about a moral judgment and the meaning of some pretty important labels, or symbols, and not, like the NYT author, try to pretend that this is simply an economic fairness issue, or try to pretend that all forms of social organiazation for raising children are equal and are equally valid. They aren't.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What kind of BS is this?

 

Tax benefits for married folks? hahahahaha

 

Ever heard of the marriage penalty? Tax benefits my ass. It would be substantially cheaper for my wife and I to have NOT gotten married, as far as our tax burden goes.

 

I can't even comment on the rest, if the lead off is oo completely incorrect. Man the NYT has really slipped in the past five or so years.

Edited by Rodchester

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I share your sentiments Rodchester. As soon as I read the part about single people getting paid less for their labor because they are not married I pretty much stopped reading. What a load of horsecrap.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Divide and Conquer, people.

The more interesting article was this one:

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/01/25/opinion/25KIPN.html

 

Jan, 25, 2004

NYT

 

Should This Marriage Be Saved?

By LAURA KIPNIS

 

 

Marriage: it's the new disease of the week. Everyone is terribly worried about its condition, though no one can say what's really ailing the patient. Others are simply in denial, like President Bush, who insisted that heterosexual marriage was "one of the most fundamental, enduring institutions of our civilization" in his State of the Union address last week. Yet this statement came shortly after his own administration floated a proposal for a $1.5 billion miracle cure: an initiative to promote "healthy" marriage, particularly among low-income couples. And what of all the millionaires in failing marriages or fleeing commitment? Where are the initiatives devoted to rehabilitating this afflicted group? Sorry, they're on their own in the romance department. In this administration, the economic benefits filter upward, the marital meddling filters down.

 

The administration may think that low-income Americans need to be taught better communication and listening skills, but actually they're communicating just fine. Conservatives just don't like the message being communicated, which is this: We don't want to get married.

 

More and more people — heterosexuals, that is — don't want to get or stay married these days, no matter their income level. Yes, cohabitation is particularly prevalent in less economically stable groups, including the women counted as unmarried mothers. But only 56 percent of all adults are married, compared with 75 percent 30 years ago. The proportion of traditional married-couple-with-children American households has dropped to 26 percent of all households, from 45 percent in the early 1970's. The demographics say Americans are voting no on marriage.

 

The fact is that marriage is a social institution in transition, whether conservatives like it or not. This is not simply a matter of individual malfeasance; in fact, it may not be individual at all. The rise of the new economy has gutted all sorts of traditional values and ties, including traditions like the family wage, job security and economic safety nets. Women have been propelled into the work force in huge numbers, and not necessarily for personal fulfillment: with middle-class wages stagnant from the early 70's to the mid-90's, it now takes (at least) two incomes to support the traditional household.

 

But as the political theorist Francis Fukuyama has pointed out, the changing nature of capitalism since the 1960's also required a different kind of work force; it was postindustrialism, perhaps even more than feminism, that transformed gender roles, contributing to what he calls the "great disruption" of the present. The increasing economic self-sufficiency of women has certainly been a factor in declining marriage rates: there's nothing like a checking account to decrease someone's willingness to be pushed into marriage or stay in a bad one. And interestingly, welfare reform has played the same role for lower-income groups: studies have shown a steep decline in marriages among women in welfare-to-work programs, for many of the same reasons.

 

So how about a little more honesty and fewer platitudes on the marriage question. Sure, most people would like a lifetime soulmate, but then there's that widely quoted 50 percent divorce rate to consider. If more people are resisting marriage, or fleeing the ones they're in, or inventing new permutations like cohabitation and serial monogamy, here's one reason: for a significant percentage of the population, marriage just doesn't turn out to be as gratifying as it promises.

 

In other words, the institution itself isn't living up to its vows. A 1999 Rutgers University study reported that a mere 38 percent of Americans who were on their first marriages described themselves as actually happy in that state. This is rather shocking: so many households submerged in low-level misery or emotional stagnation, pledged to lives of discontent. But perhaps there's also a degree of social utility in promoting long-term unhappiness to a citizenry. After all, those accustomed to expecting less from life are also less accustomed to making social demands — and are thus primed to swallow indignities like trickle-up economics along with their daily antidepressants.

 

As for those better communication skills the Bush administration wants to teach low-income groups, particularly regarding "difficult issues" like money: that could backfire. If the lower and middle classes did start communicating better about money, that could include communicating to their elected representatives that they're fed up with condescension and election-year pandering for conservative votes while central issues in their lives like jobs, pay and working conditions are studiously ignored.

 

But you can also see why conservatives might be getting nervous about the marriage issue. According to the historian Nancy Cott, marriage has long provided a metaphor for citizenship. Both are vow-making enterprises; both involve a degree of romance. Households are like small governments, and in this metaphor, divorce is a form of revolution — at least an overthrow. (Recall that our nation was founded on a rather stormy collective divorce itself, the one from England.) Come November, how many of the disaffected might start wondering if they'd be better off with a different partner? How many will find themselves murmuring those difficult, sometimes necessary (and occasionally liberating) words: "I want a divorce"?

 

We're a society whose social institutions are in flux, and the interplay among economic transitions, shifting gender roles and changing emotional expectations are impossible to quantify until the dust settles. If the Bush administration really wants to improve the lives of low-income people, here's some simple advice: Rather than meddle in their love lives, raise their incomes. Start by throwing that $1.5 billion into the pot. Once low-income groups are making middle-class wages, their marital ambivalences will be their own business, just like millionaires. Or members of Congress. Or all the rest of us.

 

Laura Kipnis, a professor of media studies at Northwestern, is the author of "Against Love: A Polemic."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Conveniently ignored are the benefits available to the single and not to the married. Example - at my company an employee who purchases "family" or "spousal" health insurance coverage pays far more additional than the rate for a single employee.

Unless you are paying the full cost of that health plan(highly unlikely that your employer pays nothing for dependants/spouse) you're receving more benefits than the single person - your employer has just chosen to subsidize families of employees less than employees.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with Rodchester. I never really recall having any tax benefits when I was married. Oh wait we got to file together, yeah, what a benefit that was, compiling reciepts, write-offs, and bills for two people. Yeah lots of fun. cantfocus.gifcantfocus.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

CJ - I am the employer. The difference is in BCBS ratings - they charge the spouse more than they would charge for a single employee of same sex and age. This is what the insurer charges, regardless of what I subsidize for my employess (and myself).

 

I pay almost 9000 a year to insure my family (4 of us). Me alone would be about 2100.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
...Tax benefits for married folks? hahahahaha

 

Ever heard of the marriage penalty? Tax benefits my ass. It would be substantially cheaper for my wife and I to have NOT gotten married, as far as our tax burden goes...

 

Rodchester,

I do believe that the filing for Tax Year 2003 now removes the "marriage penalty" and the standard deduction (for non-itemizers) for a married couple is now exactly twice that of a single person. thumbs_up.gif (we do not have enough to itemize, since we rent our house)

 

Not how it used to be, as you know.

 

As for the rest, I am in agreement with both yours and Rob's position: Tax benefits for married folks, my ass. As stated earlier, I lived way more comfortably as a single person.

 

And ehmmic, it's got nothing to do with accountants, it's got everything to do with controlled vs uncontrolled spending. cantfocus.gif But we are finally getting a handle on that now. thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some things in the article Should This Marriage Be Saved?

By LAURA KIPNIS are not clearly addressed. Has marriage ever been a "happy" or "blissful" state of affairs? Hardly by my studies of ancient history through the current time. The institution is not there "just to make us happy". It is supposed to be "For better or for worse, through sickness and through health until death do us part". These are VERY tough words. My marraige was hell for a few years here and there. Both of us had to do a lot of changing and both of us thought about divorce now and then. Hopefully, not that many go through our trials but all will be tried hard at some point and only a respect for the institution will hold them together. Or not. Of the happy married couples I know, none would say their first year was easy nor a few here and there after that. All of them, myself included, had a very hard time around the seven year mark. those who make it to fifteen and beyond seem to have a little more communication going on. If not they bust up at around 18 years. After that, the fights still come but the resolutions are easier to come by.

I asked a friend at his 50th wedding anniversary what the secret to keeping his marriage alive was. He just laughed and said, If you ever hear a good secret about that, pass it on. It just plain takes a lot of work and a lot of forgiveness on both sides.

 

As far as I can tell, it has been this way for thousands of years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

×