Monday, April 8, 2013

The wages of sanctity

Roy Edroso's latest column in the Village Voice is about conservatives' sudden desire to scold straight people for not getting married. A factoid that most of the wingnuts mention is that married people tend to be wealthier than single people.  Needless to say, they know as well as you and I do that the chain of cause-to-effect there runs from money to marriage.  Nevertheless, all the wingnuts pretend to believe that it's the other way around, that getting married causes people to become wealthier.

It isn't hard to see why they prefer to lie about the cause and effect. Given their insistence that marriage is a Good Thing, then if they admitted that financial security encourages marriage, they would have to embrace the idea that the way to get more people to marry would not be scolding them, but bribing them.

Since the wingnuts won't go there, I will. I hereby declare that marriage is a Good Thing, and that the government ought to encourage marriage by offering married couples a guaranteed annual income of $50,000. And since wingnuts are so insistent that the point of marriage is procreation, I further propose that the guaranteed annual income be doubled if the couple has a child, and doubled again for each subsequent child. The salary continues for as long as the couple is married; if they get divorced, it not only ends, but each person has to pay an annual divorce tax. (However, if the marriage ends with one spouse surviving the other's death, the surviving spouse continues to receive the full income.) Furthermore, in order to encourage couples to remain married to their original spouses, a second marriage does not result in resumption of the guaranteed income. And just to hammer home the fact that Divorce Is Bad, a second marriage that ends in divorce results in a doubling of the divorce tax.

And since I believe in rewarding past good behavior as well as future good behavior, I propose that couples who are already married should get their income retroactive to the year they were married. For instance, since I just celebrated my 15th wedding anniversary last week, my wife and I ought to receive a lump-sum payment of $750,000. And my parents, who will be celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary next year, ought to be getting . . . well, actually, this is going to be complicated. They married in 1954, and had six children over the next ten years, so their lump-sum payment would be:

1954: $50,000
1955 - one child: $100,000
1956 - two children: $200,000
1957 - three children: $400,000
1958 - three children: $400,000
1959 - four children: $800,000
1960 - four children: $800,000
1961 - four children: $800,000
1962 - five children: $1.6 million
1963 - six children: $3.2 million

and an additional $3.2 million dollars for every year from 1964 to 2012, which works out to $161.95 million dollars total.

Wingnuts, if you want to encourage marriage, that's the way to do it. No need to thank me, I'm happy to help, but you can contact me by email to offer me my Heritage Foundation fellowship.


Jordan179 said...

The causal chain may run both ways, and in addition both may be caused by other things. The rich are more likely to marry (they are more attractive as potential mates), those who marry are more likely to become richer (marriage promotes increased mutual stability of many kinds) and many attributes such as intelligence, determination, and self-restraint make one both likelier to become rich and likelier to marry.

Not sure why you believe that the only possible chain of cause and effect is from wealth to marriage.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

But what about the basenji bonus? Wouldn't there be a basenji bonus?