Some commentators argue that ObamaCare will “destroy marriage for the middle class the same way that the Great Society welfare state destroyed the black family with financial incentives for staying single.” Politically, the “marriage penalty” is also another Democratic kickback. This provision is designed to placate and cement the support of that 70 percent of unmarried women who voted for President Obama in the 2008 election. Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, a liberal firm that consults for clients such as Bill Clinton and John Kerry, said: “Unmarried women represent one of the most reliable Democratic cohorts in the electorate ... leading the charge for fundamental change in health care.” Many of these unmarried women are mothers (older women, rather than teenagers, currently drive the out-of-wedlock birth rates); women in their 20s had 60 percent of all babies born out of wedlock, and women over age 30 had another 17 percent. ObamaCare is a boondoggle for these older unmarried mothers.
Many pro-marriage activists view the bill as “a direct attack on marriage,” which the Heritage Foundation reports could go as high as a $10,000 annual “penalty” for being married, and, cumulatively, a married couple “could face a penalty of over $200,000 during the course of their marriage.” The bill would “hit young married couples hard” and “bite back at empty-nesters” by creating “enormous pressure for couples to live together without marriage — or even get divorced — by charging married couples thousands of dollars more in premiums and fees.”
ObamaCare means a new tax will disproportionately fall to lower and middle income couples who choose to get married rather than just live together. The House Republicans gave an example of an unmarried couple, each earning $25,000, for a total income of $50,000 who would pay annual health insurance premiums capped at $3,076. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that about 17 million people would receive such subsidies in 2016 under the House health care bill. A married couple with the same combined income, $50,000 a year, would pay premiums capped at $5,160 — a “marriage penalty” of $2,084.
Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation predicts that the disparity could be even higher. In his analysis of the Senate bill, “saying ‘I do’ would cost some couples over $10,000 a year.” Rector also said that empty-nesters “would pay an effective tax of $5,000 to $10,000 per year for the right to remain married,” the report continued. “For example, a 60-year-old couple, each earning $30,000 per year, would receive $10,425 per year less in benefits if they marry or remain married. Simply by divorcing and then living together, the couple can boost their post-tax, take-home income by nearly one-fourth.” Rector’s report warned, “The bill’s wedding tax is perpetual. ... Some couples who remained married throughout their adult lives would face cumulative penalties of over $200,000 during the course of their marriage.”
Stacy Dickert-Conlin, an economics professor at Michigan State University, explained, “You might like to have [the Health Care Reform Bill] be progressive, equitable and marriage-neutral. But you have to decide what your goals are, because you can’t accomplish all three.” Those who designed ObamaCare were willing to sacrifice marriage for the sake of seeming to be “progressive and equitable,” even though social science research reveals a clear link between single motherhood and poverty.
Today, poor children living in single-parent households comprise almost two-thirds of all poor children (63 percent). That figure stands in stark contrast to the time before liberal social welfare policies went into effect in 1960, when only 25 percent of all poor children lived in single-parent households.
The message is painfully undeniable and unequivocal. There is no way to address poverty in America without addressing the problem of single mothers and absent fathers. Yet, the Health Care Reform Bill that was just rammed through by the Obama Administration does exactly the opposite: ObamaCare ramps up the subsidies promoting single motherhood and discouraging marriage. These subsidies are just one more of the numerous financial incentives in current government policy that increasingly encourage individuals to reject marriage — the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), housing subsidies, food stamps, child support payments, and the welfare dependency programs that created and sustained the inner city matriarchal culture.
These perks are costing American taxpayers trillions of dollars a year. Current welfare programs total close to $1 trillion a year (twice as much as national defense and nearly the size of the federal deficit); ObamaCare is projected to add another $2.5 trillion after all its provisions take effect. There’s no end in sight to the increasing costs of these entitlements.
Democratic staffers supposedly told reporters that they “had to decide what their goals were” with Health Care Reform legislation. They should learn from history: more than forty years of failed policies have shown that when the wrong solution is applied to a bad situation, increases in funding simply magnify the problem.