One of the consequences of Obamacare becoming law is that its means-tested benefits 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.
This information was tucked away in a piece in the New York Times on March 24, “Gays May Still Pay More for Health Coverage,” on the effect of Obamacare on same-sex couples, which is mixed. The following was presented as the good news for same-sex couples, even those legally married under the laws of the states that permit same-sex marriage, because the federal Defense of Marriage Act means their marriage is not recognized by the federal government and they still must file their federal income taxes as single persons (boldfacing mine):
There is arguably a potential upside to not being married. Low to moderate income uninsured partners who are not covered by their own employer or their partner’s may be more likely to receive subsidies on premiums and cost-sharing expenses (which include out-of-pocket expenses like co-payments, coinsurance and deductibles).
After all, since they cannot file joint federal tax returns, their partner’s income would not increase their income to the point where they are no longer eligible. So as long as eligibility depends solely on federal tax returns, their income for subsidy qualification purposes will actually be lower than their true household income.
NOW how do you feel about repealing the federal Defense of Marriage Act?
I predict the means-tested subsidies and cost-sharing in Obamacare will result in middle class straight people finding out that they are better off living together in a “gay marriage” than if they got married. (I think “gay marriage” should be the term for any couple that cannot marry or does not want to marry and instead creates powers-of-attorney, trusts, wills, adoptions, joint tenancy deeds, pre-paid burial arrangements (non-blood relatives cannot make post-mortem funeral arrangements) and other legal and financial instruments to give each other standing and authority in one another’s lives and the right to inherit.)
By the way, Obama and the Senate Democrats made sure to punish same-sex couples in committed relationships by taxing them more than straight married couples under Obamacare. The New York Times piece notes (boldfacing mine):
As it stands, employer-provided health benefits offered to domestic partners are counted as taxable income if the partner is not considered a dependent (the amount of the tax is based on the value of the partner’s coverage paid by the employer). Coverage extended to opposite-sex spouses, however, is not subject to the additional tax.
The work linked above, Kay Hymowitz’s landmark essay for the City Journal, Summer 2005, contains an observation that explains why the goal of marriage is socializing (boldfacing mine):
Implicit in Moynihan’s analysis was that marriage orients men and women toward the future, asking them not just to commit to each other but to plan, to earn, to save, and to devote themselves to advancing their children’s prospects. Single mothers in the ghetto, on the other hand, tended to drift into pregnancy, often more than once and by more than one man, and to float through the chaos around them. Such mothers are unlikely to “shape their children’s character and ability” in ways that lead to upward mobility. Separate and unequal families, in other words, meant that blacks would have their liberty, but that they would be strangers to equality. Hence Moynihan’s conclusion: “a national effort towards the problems of Negro Americans must be directed towards the question of family structure.”
I only need to tweak the sentences I boldfaced a little bit to explain the benefit to society of same-sex marriage: it orients lesbians and gays toward the future, asking them not just to commit to each other but to plan, to earn, to save, and to devote themselves to advancing their prospects as a couple and as a family, if they have children. With separate and unequal marriages/unions/families, lesbians and gays may have their liberty, but they are strangers to equality.
Hymowitz’s essay was a response to a New York Times series in 2005 entitled, “Class Matters.” She took issue with the Leftist arguments in the series. The “Moynihan” report cited above is Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s Department of Labor report from 1965 entitled “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action,” which she calls “the prophetic report [that] prompted civil rights leaders, academics, politicians, and pundits to make a momentous — and, as time has shown, tragically wrong — decision about how to frame the national discussion about poverty.”
Judging from Hymowitz’s essay, the modern race-baiting, racial entitlement and feminist anti-family grievance industries were born of the rage, wounded narcissism and opportunism unleashed in the backlash to Moynihan’s report, which really just said that the goal of marriage and strong families are the foundation for economic prosperity and social advancement. The essence of “the gay agenda” is simply to have the goal of marriage and a family, shouldering all the duties and responsibilities that straight people do, but with a same-sex spouse. This is why I see the quest for homosexual equality as a repudiation of the identity grievance industry, an affirmation of the Moynihan report and an embrace of conservative values.
Update, 3/25/2010, Thurs.:
Thanks to recommendations from Moe Lane (who has video of the author, Kevin Jackson) and Smitty at The Other McCain (who has read the book), The Big Black Lie looks like a timely contribution to the discussion: