April 16, 2008
What’s wrong with this article? Marriage and Taxes, part 2
Especially in light of my critique of ‘marriage’-centric social organization, check out this article from CNN.com:
“Study: Single parents cost taxpayers $112 billion”:
Divorce and out-of-wedlock childbearing cost U.S. taxpayers more than $112 billion a year, according to a study commissioned by four groups advocating more government action to bolster marriages.
hmm…what’s wrong with this so far? (hint: it’s something to do with the premise of the article)
Ok, I’ll tell you.
And that’s just the first paragraph. Next:
Sponsors say the study is the first of its kind and hope it will prompt lawmakers to invest more money in programs aimed at strengthening marriages.
And that’s just the first paragraph.
Could it possibly be that our social and economic structures heavily favor married parenting, and that’s what needs to be investigated, rather than ‘strengthening marriage’??
Two experts not connected to the study said such programs are of dubious merit and suggested that other investments — notably job creation — would be more effective in aiding all types of needy families.
…which is good, especially since I heard on NPR recently (I can’t find the show reference! aah!) that divorce and income are correlated (and ya know, ‘the sanctity of marriage’ etc. is of utmost important to preserving ‘traditional’ –read: patriarchal capitalist –values).
Scafidi’s calculations were based on the assumption that households headed by a single female have relatively high poverty rates, leading to higher spending on welfare, health care, criminal justice and education for those raised in the disadvantaged homes.
Right, because there’s a natural connection between single mothering and poverty, apparently, so we need to fix the ‘single mothering’ rather than, say, the ‘feminization of poverty’ or the socio-economic structure that perpetuates single-parent (mother) poverty.
See, there’s two problems here with our socio-economic structure:
- The assumption of two parents present and sharing a home. The model used to be male breadwinner/female domestic servant. Now, women are ‘allowed’ to have economic independence but continue to bear the homemaking burden.
- Women are paid less money, plain and simple.
So in a single-parent family where that single parent is a woman, she’s doubly screwed economically.
At the end of the day, the article–along with the study and those who commissioned it–assumes the natural and neutral center of American life (ought) to be marriage and specifically, married-parenting. Further, they conclude that we should tell people how they should structure their networks of association in their life because it would cost less in government expenditures and because they are deviating from some sort of arbitrary ‘normal’. Sure marriage is the norm in American society; that doesn’t make it natural. It’s still an arbitrary primary structure of social relations.
Sure sounds like life, liberty, and all that jazz to me!
cross-posted to The Reaction