Saturday, December 14, 2019

The Rise Of Single And What To Do About It

Viki Larson wrote an interesting article in Aeon titled, "Marriage should not come with any social benefits or privileges" in which she discusses the rise of the single person and how unfair marriage laws are for them.
Spouses in the US can pass on Medicare, as well as Social Security, disability, veterans and military benefits. They can get health insurance through a spouse’s employer; receive discounted rates for homeowners’, auto and other types of insurance; make medical decisions for each other as well as funeral arrangements; and take family leave to care for an ill spouse, or bereavement leave if a spouse dies.
Her solution is to, "give singles the same perks and protections to which married couples are privy".

I more or less agree with Larson but I would phrase it differently - we need to remove marriage from government control. Marriage should be a religious rite or commitment between two (or more for that matter) people not a government controlled and regulated arrangement.

Medicare, social security, disability, veterans, and military benefits should all go to the person earning the benefit. Why would a spouse or anyone else deserve it?  Now you might say what about a stay at home spouse? What of it? That spouse can be paid a wage by the working spouse and earn social security benefits or not as they desire. The effect this would have would be to eliminate the gender gap in employment, wages and which spouse stays at home.  This in turn would eliminate the gender gap in business and political leadership. That is not a bad thing.

As for who makes funeral arrangements, discounts for auto and homeowner insurance, and such single people and non-married couples living together already deal with these effectively.

Health insurance is the biggest problem. However, private companies have already led the way. Long before anyone thought we would ever have same sex marriage my company provided partner insurance to people co-habituating regardless of sex or marital status. The biggest discrimination with health care is that children are included. Childless people in effect subsidize those with children. The only way to fix this would be universal health care which will eventually come.

Eliminating marriage from the law would not only have a huge and positive impact on the economy but would greatly reduce gender inequality as well.

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