March 6, 2013
Alstott: The Case for a Marriage Tax
In Real Freedom for All, Philippe Van Parijs advocates a tax on wages. Jobs, he contends, constitute a scarce resource that -- like inherited wealth -- should be taxed in order to fund the highest possible basic income. The same logic, it would seem, could justify taxing other scarce goods -- like marriage partners. Van Parijs considers the analogy and concludes that marriage partners might indeed be sufficiently scarce to warrant taxation. But Van Parijs stops short of proposing a tax on marriage.
This essay considers the possibility of a marriage tax. I conclude that marriage partners are not scarce in principle: that is, it is possible to craft first-best arrangements that guarantee everyone a fair chance to marry. But, given the legal and social conditions that today (unjustly) deny some the legal rights and economic resources they need to marry, a tax on those who can and do marry has some appeal.
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"Jobs, he contends, constitute a scarce resource that -- like inherited wealth -- should be taxed in order to fund the highest possible basic income."
These idiots really are socialists. Forget notions of fairness, or people working or earning anything - the ultimate aim is maximum wealth redistribution. At least he is honest about it. The Beatles classic "Taxman" comes to mind.
Thank you for once again providing a reminder of why academics are best kept in their little bubbles and away from the real world.
Posted by: Todd | Mar 6, 2013 8:39:54 AM
There is a tax on marriage. It's called divorce.
You know: "Marriage is grand; divorce is $100 grand."
Is marriage really as asset? Millions of poor single women have a revealed preference for government assistance rather than marriage to a low-income man who probably has additional deficiencies. That decision seems pretty reasonable to me.
Perhaps the government does need to intervene in the marriage market just as it does in other markets. It's not fair that hot women and high-income men have the most choices, and that they choose each other. We need arranged marriages to redistribute both income and hotness. Everyone should have a fair shot, with any remaining advantage going exclusively to the politically well-connected. Call it the Taliban plan.
Posted by: AMTbuff | Mar 6, 2013 1:34:19 PM