It’s that time of the year when The Atlantic has a big feature on single people, and this time, it’s written by the founders of, and looks at why single people (with the focus on single women) are treated unfairly when it comes to paying for health care, housing, taxes, and retirement benefits.


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Megano! (#124)

At this point these articles are practically seasonal!

TheDilettantista (#1,255)

This was totally a response to last night’s Downton Abbey, hashtag POOR LADY EDITH.

I was a little embarrassed for them that they couldn’t find a real policy analyst to look at this question and instead tried to do it themselves. I have no doubt that there is a fairly large financial penalty to being permanently single (and, it is important to emphasize, childless — children dramatically change the financial equation) but the way they conducted the analysis is so amateurish that it’s pretty much useless.

These policies are explicitly designed to encourage marriage — aside from some of the SS provisions, which are simply relics of outdated gender/work norms — so the fact they do, in fact, provide preferential treatment to married people is not surprising at all.

Rather than making policy more amenable to the permanently single and childless (aside from SS which really should take better care of folks with no family or spousal support), a far more pressing concern is making these benefits more accessible to couples in stable, long-term relationships who may for whatever reason not want to commit to “til death do us part.” Such civil partnerships are quite common in Europe.

WaityKatie (#1,696)

@stuffisthings But why does our policy have to be based on encouraging coupledom at all? Is there a legitimate reason for this? I could see it if there was a housing shortage or something, but otherwise…

@WaityKatie That’s a good point and worth discussing. But the article was more like “hey guess what! policies designed to favor married people favor married people!”

And in fact they often don’t, as with income tax (the top comment thread over there, by BarbCarmel and the replies, goes into some of the problems).

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