There is a lot of upside to being single; in a nutshell, I love that my money and my time are my own and I get to spend them however I want. But there's a downside, too. A downside about which I've felt powerless to fight. You see, the Atlantic magazine recently published an article by Onely.org on the economic burdens assumed by single people. I don't like it.
So, in honor of Tax Day, April 15, I am joining dozens of other bloggers who are writing about and expressing our frustration at what we call institutionalized discrimination against single people. Why Tax Day? Because, some of the most egregious examples of unfair treatment against singles occur in Income Tax, IRAs, and Social Security laws, which all largely favor married people.
In fact, our federal code contains over 1,000 laws where marital status is a factor, and in most cases single people lose out. According to the Atlantic article, a single woman making $80,000a year, could pay more than one million dollars more than her married female peer over her lifetime, because of some of these laws. (What, you think I can't think of anything more interesting to do with $1,000,000?)
But it's this law that really makes me want to cry "foul." There is a law that protects an individual from a stalker... a stalker as in someone who threatens to do harm and places a person in reasonable fear of bodily harm or death. This law can also protect the spouse of the person being stalked, if that person is married. But guess what? If the person being stalked is single, the same protection is not allowed. That's right: a close friend is not protected, even though s/he may be "like family" and equally in danger. That's just crazy.
And here's one that I think is just plain silly: A man and woman -- both DirecTV customers -- move in together. If the couple gets married, they can combine their previously individual accounts into a single account, so they don't lose all their saved shows or have to pay for an additional DVR. If they move in together but don't get married, it seems they cannot combine their accounts. Why?
So, even as the number of single people continues to grow, I -- and my fellow bloggers -- are hoping to call attention to the ways the country needs to re-examine some of its laws that treat singles as "less than." We're not. #UnmarriedEquality