Married couple benefits are outdated

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  #1  
Old 05-23-15, 06:05 AM
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Married couple benefits are outdated

I haven't done my due diligence, but I would assume that married benefits were intended to compensate the stay at home spouse while the other spouse worked to support the family. Essentially the stay at home spouse was contributing to the household despite not bringing in a paycheck, and America agreed with that.

Times have now changed. Today, stay at home can mean full employment as well as child care, so who is bringing in a paycheck becomes less defined. In other cases, neither spouse is dealing with child care. Still other cases where a family is raising 10 children (I'll reserve my personal comment here) child care cost and efforts are off the chart.

Along with these changes we need to reevaluate the purpose of married benefits and bring those benefits into line with what our country can afford. Constantly increasing the number of people who qualify for financial benefits (just look at what has happened to SS) is placing an increasing burden on those who have to fund those benefits at a time when our economy requires us to be going the other direction.

Yes, there should be some form of consideration for child rearing, but that determination no longer belongs with just being married.

Moderator discretion acceptable.

Bud
 
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  #2  
Old 05-23-15, 06:09 AM
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Capitalism is what needs to be reevaluated not just one column in the tax table.
 
  #3  
Old 05-23-15, 07:03 AM
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Any benefit bestowed by government to a particular group/class of the citizenry needs to be re-evaluated in light of the true and demonstrable benefits to society as a whole. Mere "social engineering" in an attempt to promote a certain goal is not enough in my opinion. People will continue to buy houses, raise children and other such nebulous goals, albeit perhaps not to the extent as today, without any incentives to do so. Why someone should be able to collect upon a spouse's Social Security account, even after divorce, (assuming more than ten years of marriage) is simply ludicrous to me.

Yes, there should be some form of consideration for child rearing, but that determination no longer belongs with just being married.
I will agree that marriage should have no bearing on any "consideration" for child rearing but why should the childless tax payers have to subsidize those that do chose to have children? Having children, in an economic sense, is no different than any other activity in that either you can or cannot afford it with any specific monetary income. Of course there ARE circumstances beyond one's control that may arise after the birth of a child or multiple children that can skew the equation. For these circumstances a person that desires children can purchase insurance to cover the event.


Pulpo

Capitalism is what needs to be reevaluated not just one column in the tax table.
Rather than just toss out a "one-liner" why don't you get specific? What economic system would you prefer to capitalism? Or perhaps you mean that capitalism, in its purest form, is as bad as any other "ism". Give me examples of what YOU would like to see different.
 
  #4  
Old 05-23-15, 07:33 AM
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Our society has grown far too accustom to signing up for any and all benefits they can get, whether they need it or not. Unfortunately "marriage" is attracting more and more people to claim benefits for circumstances that don't exist. I'm married and I raised 3 children, but that was a long time ago. Why should I still be able to claim married. Or, more accurately, why should my filing status be any different from a single person who chooses to not get married or raise kids.

SS is going broke because far too many people were added to the list. Being married is now growing in the same direction where taxes, employer obligations, and their overall drain on society exceeds the original intent, all-be-it far less than SS.

One's married status should be one's own personal decision (again, reserving my opinion) and not a category that requires any subsidy from the rest of society.

Bud
 
  #5  
Old 05-23-15, 08:25 AM
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Trying to limit my remarks to marriage, I was married for about nine years in a community property state. When I got divorced I had to cede approximately 50% of my assets gained after marriage to my soon-to-be former spouse. In addition, I was required to pay the cost of a medical insurance plan for one year after the dissolution was granted and between the filing for divorce and the final payment (for community property assets) I had to pay about 50% of my net income to her as well as her credit card and medical bills. During our marriage L never had a regular paying job. She did, on two occasions do some graphic arts work where she got paid something like a total of $75. which she considered to be HER money vs. my income as being OUR money.

Now many people would say this is just because of all the tasks a stay-at-home spouse does like clean the house, cook the meals, do the grocery shopping, chauffeur the kids, meet with teachers, wash the clothes and all other parts of running a household. BUT, L did none of those things. We didn't have any children so anything child-related never happened. She didn't do any cleaning, at least not on her own. She was a lousy cook and knew it so I did the majority of the cooking. She refused to go to the grocery store without me and as far as laundry was concerned she couldn't even put her clean clothes in the closet after I had washed and dried them, preferring to take them from the basket as needed. There's more but I'm sure you get the picture.

It was maybe seven years into this and as I'm sure you can imagine there was a lot of friction. By mutual consent we tried counseling and found out that (at that time) there were no professional standards for "marriage" counselors. We tried three different counselors, the first we agreed was a total jerk and the other two, despite being licensed psychologists, were biased against her because they were men. Eventually I had just plain had enough and filed for divorce. I have never again had any serious thoughts about getting married.

I could go on but I won't. :NO NO NO:
 
  #6  
Old 05-23-15, 03:05 PM
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Why someone should be able to collect upon a spouse's Social Security account, even after divorce, (assuming more than ten years of marriage) is simply ludicrous to me
It would seem to me if a single senior woman [divorced or widowed] wasn't allowed to draw from the spouse's SS account she'd have to be on some sort of gov't assistance. While a couple can generally live cheaper than a single person, it still takes income to live.

While those with more will likely disagree, if the rich don't help the poor those on the bottom of the ladder would have it a lot worse. I don't believe in redistributing the wealth but the wealthy can afford to help more than the middle class however the incentive to work and get rich [my definition of capitalism] should never be taken away!
 
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Old 05-23-15, 07:42 PM
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Bud, I would argue that SS is going broke because people are living too darn long.
And no, I am not willing to volunteer to help alleviate that problem.

Some good reading here:

https://web.stanford.edu/class/e297c...hsocialsec.htm
 
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Old 05-23-15, 07:44 PM
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Oh, and isn't SS already "broke"? The so-called trust fund is nothing but a collection of IOU's from the Treasury, right?
 
  #9  
Old 05-23-15, 09:26 PM
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Mark, being on Social Security IS being on government assistance, no way around that. Back when my daddy retired I did the calculation and it was such that after two to four years (depending on individual cases) a person had exhausted every dime that they had paid into SS and all subsequent benefits were being paid by "the government" out of funds "contributed" by people still working. It is a bit different today, taking about ten years for a person to exhaust their contribution. That means that I am now receiving "government" benefits. Of course this is based upon the whole Ponzi scheme that is Social Security, that benefits are paid by those still contributing and those who will contribute in the future.

The truth is, that as it is constituted there is NO "setting aside" of any individual's mandatory contribution (there's an oxymoron for you) with full matching by the government (which alone would be government assistance) and then interest at market rates applied to the total of worker and government funding. Pure and simple, the payment of benefits is determined by a process of law and the government simply pays it to the recipients. Payments to SS by people still working are also determined by a process of law, theoretically in an amount that will keep the so-called "fund" solvent, and billed in a manner that is also determined by law.

Now don't get me wrong, I am not against either the concept or the application of Social Security. Quite honestly, I think it is a brilliant method of assuring a continuing minimum income to those that for any reason are no longer to provide entirely for themselves. Nor am I against most of the improvements that have been made over the years to who and under what circumstances may collect from SS. What I AM against it two major points; someone (other than a dependent minor) receiving benefits that never paid a dime into the system and the "cap" on earnings after which no more deductions for SS are made.

More later but I have an urgent task to perform.
 
  #10  
Old 05-24-15, 02:21 AM
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Okay, I'm back and no it wasn't a bathroom break.

The scenario that Mark presented, that of a single senior woman taking SS benefits based upon her husband's account or otherwise being indigent is fast disappearing. Back in our parents time it was fairly uncommon for a married woman to work for pay outside of the home UNLESS her husband was dead, incarcerated or just a bum. That is rarely true these days and among the younger generation almost universally not true. I do not advocate taking benefits from anyone currently receiving them. What I AM advocating is a gradual removal of the accommodation that anyone who was married for ten or more years is entitled to benefits based upon their spouse's account if those benefits would be greater than would be paid upon the individual's SS account.

Also, in order to fully fund the Social Security system I advocate removal of the yearly cap on payments into the system for highly compensated people. For 2015 the maximum salary or wages subject to SS deduction is $118,500 and that is taxed at 6.2% for a maximum "contribution" of $7,347 by the worker and the same amount by the worker's employer. It is estimated that only about 6% of of US wage earners ever exceed the salary cap. That means that some 94% of wage earners pay the Social Security tax on every single dime they earn.

Contrast that to a person that makes a half-million dollars a year, a pretty paltry sum among the "one-percent". The person making $500,000 a year is receiving approximately $41,600 a month and therefore makes the SS cap in less than three months. That means that he or she pays SS tax on only one-fourth of their yearly income. Or look at a CEO making, oh, $30 million dollars a year in salary. This person is making in excess of a half million dollars a week and this is based on a seven-day week. He has his SS tax for the entire year paid by the second workday of the year. Think of that, 94% of the people working in the US never reach the maximum deduction for Social Security taxes yet some people reach that threshhold the second work day of the year.

I'm a capitalist, I believe in the concept of getting more for doing more work or doing better work or doing work that others can't or won't do. At the height of my income years I was receiving into the low six figures and I believed I was worth every penny of it. Obviously so did my employer or else they wouldn't have paid me such a handsome sum. However, having a minimal amount of deductions I also paid a pretty hefty income tax on my salary. Nonetheless, I still made far more money than I paid in taxes and there was very little that I truly wanted that I could not just go out and buy. Yet, in comparison to others in that top ten percent of wage earners I was a pauper.

But who on god's green earth is worth 10, 30, 50 MILLION DOLLARS PER YEAR? In my opinion, NO ONE!

Without the fetters of a civilized government pure capitalism is as bad, or perhaps worse, than any other of the economic "isms". Cry all that you want but it was the large middle class that emerged after WWII that truly made this the greatest country on earth. And that all happened with a maximum tax rate as high as 90% for a period of time. Our current economic policies as well as the insanely low maximum tax rate are the leading reasons for massive decline in the middle class.

I could go on.
 
  #11  
Old 05-24-15, 04:47 AM
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I really enjoy how people who have already received their benefits of being married are now railing against them now that their cashing in has bankrupted the system.
 
  #12  
Old 05-24-15, 05:21 AM
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I'm trying to avoid the discussion of SS by itself and just focus on married benefits, what they are and who should get them. We have a chance (IMO) of changing married benefits, but SS isn't going to change until that house of cards falls down.

What are the current financial benefits for being married?
I don't know that all of these are valid but here is a quick list.
1. Lower income tax
2. Shared social security
3. Reduced auto insurance
4. Loan approval
5. Employment (a married person is considered more stable)
6. Health insurance
7. Gifts between spouses are exempt
8. Legal immunity (one spouse can't testify against another)

Ireland just voted in same sex marriage and this country is gradually sliding in that direction. Add this population to an already outdated list of reasons for treating married people differently from singles and it becomes more of a singles penalty.

What else am I missing?

Bud
 
  #13  
Old 05-24-15, 09:01 AM
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Bud, I have to take issue with a few things on your list.

Some are not benefits at all but carefully calculated facts based on actuarial tables. Specifically the auto insurance. Married drivers are normally safer drivers according to the number crunchers. I'm sure health insurance works similarly, though I've never really had to deal with it. I know life insurance does. (I don't know why they don't ask about the pets you have, since that's considered to improve your health in many ways.)

Loan approval? I highly doubt that...it's purely based on employment and income. I've known plenty of single people (individuals and unmarried couples) that bought homes and anyone (single or otherwise) making $80K a year with a decent FICO score can buy a nice new car at good rates.

Legal immunity has two different privileges basically. A spouse cannot be forced to testify, but may if they wish to, that is their right. The cannot however divulge private spousal communications unless both agree to it. That actually applies even if they are divorced. What's said in the marriage is privileged. I guess it's the Las Vegas rule...lol.

I dunno about the employment thing either. Guess it may depend on the job and/or company.
 
  #14  
Old 05-24-15, 09:33 AM
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1. Income tax is only lower if one spouse doesn't work.
2. Not sure what you mean by this.
3. What Bud said.
4. Not true.
5. May be true in some circumstances, but doubtful over all. The Marines pay a bonus to soldiers that remain single.
6. Health Insurance for a spouse/family have higher premiums.
7. Not sure on the details of this, but doing away with it would be silly.
 
  #15  
Old 05-24-15, 11:10 AM
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Droo..now I have some issues with your list...lol.

1. That's just not true. Look at the tax tables. For the same net taxable income a single person will pay more than married or head of household. Lets use $40k for example, a single person pays about $800 more in taxes than a married couple.

3. What I said earlier.

5. And where did you read this? There was a proposal about 10 yrs ago, but that's all it was. Never heard of such a thing actually being enacted.

6. Well, married does have higher premiums from what I know, but not double what a single person pays. Friend back at HD 10 yrs ago paid something like $325 a month for medical and dental for himself, his wife and child, but he told me if it were just him it would have been only about $150. That's 3 people for just slightly more than the price of 2. That's how I remember since I didn't use it because I had my military benefit.

My main experience was with dental (not covered by my benefit)...something like $90 a month for single, but only an additional $20/mo for the family plan which covered wife and any kids. How weird is that?

7. It seems like a good way to hide assets doesn't it? I don't know the details of it either, but it seems sort of hinky for some reason. Why would you need to gift something to your spouse?
 
  #16  
Old 05-24-15, 12:28 PM
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1. This is true if the married couple is making the same amount as a single person, but that generally does not happen. If the married couple make $40k each, they should be paying roughly the same amount in taxes as two single people making $40k each. It used ot be that the married couple would pay more in taxes because they would only receive one personal exemption for the two of them. It was referred to as the "marriage penalty". Bush did away with that.

5. I thought it was put into effect when I heard about it. I stand corrected!

6. 10 years ago is a long time ago when it comes to health insurance. It's true that the number of children doesn't make the premiums rise. We are back to actuarial stuff for that. $325 a month for a family just for medical indicates that a large portion of the premium was paid by HD. Hard to judge cost differences unless you know what the company is paying. These days, you would pay at least $300 just for yourself and over $1,500 for a family per month.

7. I'm not sure how you could hide assets that way. As far as taxes are concerned, married couples are taxed as a unit. So all assets are considered joint. If I bought my wife a Tesla for her birthday, why would I pay tax on that when we both own it even though it could be in her name. And if that stuff was taxable, it would be a nightmare to sort it all out.
 
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