As Alstott notes, nearly half of American adults are now unmarried, 40 percent of children are born to unmarried parents, and labor force participation among married women is now very close to that of married men... So why even bother with the concept of joint tax filing?The destruction of marriage is set to resume as soon as same-sex marriage becomes the law. We've been pretending that the traditional institution is soooo important that it's terrible to exclude gay people. But you can see the anti-traditionalists itching to move forward — ever forward — with the new! I see we're supposed to call it the "new individualism," because — step into our trap, conservative naifs — conservatives are always touting individualism.
Alstott borrows from Johns Hopkins University sociologist Andrew Cherlin, who calls the trend away from formal marriage “new individualism.” This, she says, “has rendered obsolete legal doctrines and policy analyses that treat formal marriage as a proxy for family life … . Joint filing is no longer well-tailored to serve important social objectives.”
Joint filing makes structuring the family around a single-earner a tax-avoidance strategy. The no-income spouse does all sorts of labor that benefits the family economically without producing taxable income. It's hard for people to do the math and see how valuable this is and how well it works, especially — but not only — when you have children. Those who've set their hearts on women's equality have — for decades — promoted women's entering the workplace and, to do that, they've obscured the benefits of single-earner family structure (even though the male could be the home-based spouse).
Now, after letting 2 or 3 generations mature without understanding the good of this traditional division of labor, they'd like to remove the tax benefit. It's just completely outdated and has nothing to do with the way people live these days. And when that happens, we will all be endlessly in the grip of the all-seeing, all-taxing government, and the days of life centered around the home will be just some old joke about Ozzie and Harriet, ha ha, so old fashioned. So dumb. So naive.