Saturday, August 30, 2008

Washington Blade has major article on how gays pay more taxes


David W. Unger has an important article “No Taxation without representation: Gays will pay $1 million more in taxes during lifetime than straights,” on p. 34 of the print edition of The Washington Blade, Business Page, for Friday, Aug. 29, 2008 (published weekly). The online does not appear to have the article yet. Maybe we can have a "Boston tea party" in print, at least.

The Media Buyer Planner claims the average gay annual income as between $52000 and $62000, compared to an a national average of $26000. That would certainly support the “discretionary income” “complaint”, but would also lead to higher taxes. More significant are tax rates (the marriage penalty for those with approximately equal incomes is in temporary phase out, but that gets complicated). Survivorship benefits for social security really favor heterosexual marriage, but the biggest tax issue would be children.

To be objective, this gets into one of our most profound public policy debates. One the one hand, we want parents to be responsible for the children they have; on the other hand, it’s almost impossible for them to raise children without a lot of public support, some of which comes from people without children. Unger writes “So, the next time the religious right starts complaining that we are an abomination because we don’t have children and therefore should not be given marriage rights, let’s remind them of how much extra we are paying in taxes to feed and teach theirs on a federal, state and local level.”

Unger also points out that there are many issues with inheritances. Gays must normally have wills for partners (except possibly in states accepting gay marriage), and it is common for angry blood relatives to challenge wills. And in some families, openly gay children may be disinherited, particularly if they left home and did not remain involved in looking after the interests of the family (with caregiving, the tables can be turned sometimes). The culture of the “heterosexual world” always depended on strong social and emotional support for blood relationships for their own sort, as strengthening marriage and protecting other members (even adults) within the family unit. Of course, that cultural norm has become quite a bit weaker in the West (both Europe and the US) in recent decades, and can exacerbate cultural and other international tensions with non-western (including Islamic) countries and non-state groups.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Blargh. When I grow up, I want to move to Canada.