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Marriage Tax Bonus Expansion = Singles Tax Penalty Expansion
Subject: Marriage Tax Bonus Expansion = Singles Tax Penalty Expansion.
Don't Make Permanent So-Called Marriage Tax Penalty Relief, As It Also
Makes Permanent a Large Singles Tax Penalty
On April 28, 2004, the House passed HR 4181 which will make permanent
the temporary "marriage-bonus/marriage-penalty" laws passed by
Congress in 2001 and 2003. And also that it voted to exempt it from
the "pay as you go" rule. Now the bill has moved to the Senate (
Prior to 2001, about half of married couples got a bonus, and about
half paid a penalty, and the average bonus was about equal to the
average penalty. So overall, the pre-2001 situation was almost
overall marriage neutral (actually I understand that most studies
found a small overall marriage bonus of a few billion dollars). It
was unfortunate that some married couples got bonuses and some couples
paid penalties, but that is mathematically unavoidable in an overall
marriage-neutral tax system where higher incomes are taxed at higher
rates and which also allows married couples to pool their incomes and
file jointly .
The 2001 and 2003 legislation eliminated the marriage penalty for
almost all married couples (except for some high-income couples with
nearly equal income). Unfortunately, the way the marriage penalty was
eliminated has resulted in bonuses for almost all married couples who
previously paid penalties, and for expanded bonuses for couples who
previously enjoyed bonuses. These new and expanded marriage bonuses
are of course paid for by singles. Resulting in a situation where
almost all pairs of people pay more taxes as singles than as marrieds.
That is not marriage neutral, and it is not fair.
While some singles may be rich and carefree, singles are predominantly
female and many are elderly (especially elderly females with
statistically little prospect of marriage). Many singles are single
because they have mental health issues, are low income, have
disabilities, are unattractive, and so on. Many also have children.
These are people who do not deserve to be punished with a larger
portion of this nation's tax burden in order to pay for new and
expanded marriage bonuses of people more fortunate than themselves.
Particularly, considering that married couples get bonuses in many
other ways such as inheritance and Social Security. ( See: "The High
Cost of Being Single in America Or The Financial Consequences Of
Marital Status Discrimination", by Thomas F. Coleman,
Some may argue that taxes aren't being raised for singles, but only
lowered for marrieds, so what are singles complaining about? Singles'
taxes aren't being raised. Well, consider this -- what if I suggested
that white men should have their taxes reduced, but not women nor
people of color? Would you say that the "white man bonus" was OK
because we're not raising taxes on women and people of color? And
what happens when tax rates will inevitably have to be raised to pay
for growing deficits and the future doubling of the elderly
It is especially galling that almost all media reports have presented
so-called marriage penalty relief as a matter of simple obvious
justice, and completely left out of their reporting the aspect of
nearly universal marriage bonuses -- bonuses paid for by singles.
Please contact your senators and ask that the current so-called
marriage penalty relief not be made permanent. One easy way to
contact the senators of your state is to go to
You can reach me at: jumieeremuuv zat iname zdot com
(Get rid of spaces, replace zat with "@", zdot with "." and wipe out
For a Congressional Research Service report that explains why it is
impossible to have strict marriage tax neutrality (where no couples
pay penalties or receive bonuses) see:
RL30800: The Federal Income Tax and the Treatment of Married
Background and Analysis, Gregg A. Esenwein
The above report, by the way, discusses the difficulties of
determining the size of the overall marriage tax bonus / penalty, and
describes 3 studies (done before 2001). One found a marriage tax
penalty of $1.6 Billion, while the other two found a marriage tax
bonus of $10 Billion and $49 Billion respectively. Remember this is
in the era when there was approximately overall marriage neutrality.
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