USA Today: ‘Can We Blame Marriage for Income Inequality?’
January 31, 2014 - 11:14 am
Marriage is one of the best predictors for whether one will do well in life or not. Married people tend to make more money and children raised in households with married parents tend to do better in school and afterward than children raised in single-parent households. Marriage and education are two excellent predictors of economic success, while face tattoos remain an excellent predictor of a limited economic future.
Progressives have a problem here. Married people, men and women, tend to vote Republican. Single people tend to vote Democrat. Progressive policies objectively tend to injure marriage, either by watering down or redefining what marriage means, or by assaulting it through taxes. But apparently they’re developing a solution: Blame marriage for income inequality.
Seriously. Danielle Kurtzelben editorializes along this line in USA Today.
If you really want to fight inequality you could campaign for a higher minimum wage or advocate for education reform. Or, as it turns out, you could do your patriotic duty and marry down (or up).
You could also get government out of the way and establish low-tax policies aligned with predictable and fair regulations. You could devise economic policies that reward, rather than punish, marriage. You could de-emphasize “income inequality” and focus on equality of opportunity. But journalists tend not to think along those lines. It’s just not in their wheelhouse. It doesn’t occur to them that income inequality is not a problem and is not solvable even if it was a problem. Even the glorious workers’ paradise known as Cuba has its economic winners and losers. They’re just chosen by the windbag with the beard and his cabal, not the invisible hand of capitalism and free enterprise.
According to a new study, the way Americans choose their spouses has contributed significantly to increased inequality. From 1960 through 2005, Americans increasingly engaged in “assortative mating” – an academic way of saying rich people are increasingly marrying rich people, and likewise poor people choose poor spouses.
People tend to marry people that they’re more likely to be around. Shocking!
Less household labor combined with more women working outside the house has meant that men and women are choosing their partners on different merits, and women’s earning power may be playing a greater part in the equation than it once did (likewise, men’s earning power may be playing less of a part). Or it may have less to do with money – people can simply now be “pickier” about their spouses, says Greenwood. That may mean seeking out a spouse with whom one shares common interests and values – seeking someone of similar class or education levels can sometimes go a long way in fulfilling those commonalities.
People marry people they share common interests with and tend to be comfortable around. Shocking! It’s as if people marry people they actually like and expect to get along with. Knock me over with a feather.
It takes a study to figure this stuff out?
The solutions to this non-problem seem to be 1) abolish marriage; 2) have government force people in different economic strata to marry each other; or 3) shame people about their marriage choices so they go out of their way to marry up or down economically, or out of their interest zone.
They’re all stupid, ghastly solutions. But the first may not be far off, thanks to the same-sex marriage movement. That conflict is going to end either with a patchwork definition of marriage across these United States (an unsustainable mess over the long haul, and unlikely given how courts are taking the issue over), or a full devolution away from the institution itself, with hate speech penalties levied on anyone who defends the traditional view.
That might accomplish the goal of reducing “income inequality” quite nicely, while also doing away with that pesky tendency of married people to vote Republican. Two birds, etc.