Even supposedly centrist Democrats such as Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh are willing to use the marriage penalty issue to stick it to homemakers. While his GOP gubernatorial opponent, Rep. David McIntosh, promotes comprehensive pro-marriage tax reform, Sen. Bayh introduced yet another Democratic marriage tax cut on April 4 that only two-income couples can apply for. Under Bayh's proposal, like Clinton's, a one-income family making $50,000 will pay much higher taxes than a two-income family with the same income.
That is Daschle's final objection to the GOP marriage tax cut: "60 percent of the Republican benefit goes to those who have no marriage penalty -- in fact, who have a marriage bonus." He means those undeserving homemakers living on a median family income of $33,000 a year. The claim they get a "marriage bonus" has been repeated ad nauseum, but it is complete hogwash. Think about it: If those homemaking married moms were not married, they would be single mothers, eligible for a whole host of federal benefits, from welfare, subsidized medical and child care, to the earned income tax credit.
Just what is it with these Democrats? Propose ending the marriage penalty in a way that's also fair to homemakers, and suddenly that's just "too much" money for marriage tax relief?
Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.