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Old 03-28-2013, 08:41 AM
 
4,684 posts, read 4,358,864 times
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Let me say immediately that I welcome state recognition of same-sex marriage or civil union - I'm for it.

However, a niggling little doubt bothers me. Income inequality is an issue which concerns me, as it should anyone with concern for the well-being of American society and democracy. Most of the 1100-some federal benefits from which same-sex couples are excluded by DOMA are financial in nature. And there is some evidence that same-sex couples have higher levels of education and are disproportionately represented in the top quintile of incomes in the U.S.

The case of Ms. Edith Windsor is obviously not typical, but relevant to the question nonetheless: it has been widely reported that the cost to Windsor of not being eligible for the spouse exception on estate taxes was about $363,000 on her partner's estate of about $4.1 million.

Clearly, only a very small number of same-sex couples will end up with net worth at this level. However, it does strike me that extending the spouse estate exception, among other financial benefits, to same-sex marriages will inevitably have the consequence of accelerating the accumulation of wealth among a smaller portion of the population.

This is hardly grounds for withholding marriage equality from same-sex couples. But it does raise certain public policy questions, such as whether, with the eventually extension of the 1100+ benefits of marriage to a considerable portion of the population for the first time, it will be necessary to re-evaluate those benefits for their social consequences, particularly in terms of wealth concentration.

Naturally, opinion on the Right, which generally sees no problem with inherited wealth or its concentration in fewer hands, will cheer such implications: with the odd result that conservatives may oppose recognition of same-sex marriage itself, but heartily endorse its consequences.

Among those on the Left, who are willing to accept legal measures to limit wealth concentration, the other side of the coin may be that their recognition of same-sex access to the financial benefits of marriage goes hand in hand with a readiness to limit and reduce those same benefits.

Some relevant background:

Analysis: Death, taxes and the Supreme Court's gay marriage case

Practitioners Say

Court's Marriage Ruling Could Save Same-Sex Couples Big Money - DailyFinance
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Old 03-28-2013, 08:52 AM
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Quote:
Among those on the Left, who are willing to accept legal measures to limit wealth concentration, the other side of the coin may be that their recognition of same-sex access to the financial benefits of marriage goes hand in hand with a readiness to limit and reduce those same benefits.
This would be the reasonable approach.

Everyone has access to the same benefits/responsibilities/etc. If we want to trim some of those benefits, fine, but everyone should be treated the same.

Why am I expected to pay roughly $8000 extra in taxes every year over a straight couple with identical income? If we want to change the tax code so that instead of a marriage getting one an $8000 discount, they only get a $4000 tax break, that's fine. Heck, if they want to change it to $0, that'd be okay too, as long as everyone is treated equally.
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Old 03-28-2013, 08:59 AM
 
Location: "Chicago"
1,866 posts, read 2,707,557 times
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Its no different than the old term "marrying into money". Should changes be made to put limits onto that also?
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Old 03-28-2013, 09:05 AM
 
Location: Londonderry, NH
41,477 posts, read 57,017,444 times
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Limits on gold digging are called pre nuptial agreements. That is why the plutocrats prefer their kids to marry within the tribe of super wealthy.
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Old 03-28-2013, 09:13 AM
 
17,877 posts, read 10,314,155 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by css9450 View Post
Its no different than the old term "marrying into money". Should changes be made to put limits onto that also?
Clearly the OP doesn't believe people should be able to inherit and that the money should be seized and redistributed. I don't know how some people can sleep at night with that green monster roiling from within.
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Old 03-28-2013, 09:21 AM
 
4,684 posts, read 4,358,864 times
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Originally Posted by tamajane View Post
Clearly the OP doesn't believe people should be able to inherit and that the money should be seized and redistributed. I don't know how some people can sleep at night with that green monster roiling from within.
Clearly, I do not believe that and have said nothing of the sort; no one is suggesting that no wealth should ever be inherited. However, in our last Gilded Age, the American public became concerned that the accumulation of vast fortunes posed certain dangers to the stability of American society and democracy. Income and estate taxes were, in part, the public-policy response to the problem of vast inherited wealth in the early 20th century.

In our own time, something very similar has happened, and to some, the dangers are the same. You are perfectly within your rights to reject the notion and believe that there is no danger in the emergence of a new class of super-rich. I'm entitled, like such radical revolutionaries as Andrew Carnegie in the last Gilded Age, to hold the contrary opinion.
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Old 03-28-2013, 09:21 AM
 
Location: "Daytonnati"
4,244 posts, read 6,790,417 times
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Here's some intel on this from the Census

Myth: ‘Gays make more money than non-gays’


“According to an analysis of Census Bureau data from 2000 by the Williams Institute, the median income for same-sex couples raising children was $46,200 while for married heterosexual couples raising children it was $59,600. That’s a $13,400 difference. The gap increases to $15,507 when the average income for the gay couple ($59,270) is matched up with that of the straight couple ($74,777).

Gary Gates, a scholar with the Williams Institute who has analyzed 2010 Census Bureau data for the forthcoming American Community Survey (ACS), notes that while the gap has narrowed, it still remains.
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Old 03-28-2013, 09:27 AM
 
Location: CHicago, United States
6,934 posts, read 8,107,814 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JasonF View Post
Everyone has access to the same benefits/responsibilities/etc. If we want to trim some of those benefits, fine, but everyone should be treated the same.
I agree.
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Old 03-28-2013, 09:30 AM
 
4,684 posts, read 4,358,864 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dayton Sux View Post
Here's some intel on this from the Census

Myth: ‘Gays make more money than non-gays’
Granted, the sociological research on the economic status of same-sex couples has not reached consensus: the Gates study you cite contradicts the Denney study I cite above.

But household income is not entirely the point of my OP. The issue is concentration of wealth, and my suggestion, which I think is logical, is that extending income, estate and other federal benefits to a new group of people will inevitably benefit same-sex couples financially and therefore in some degree or measure accelerate wealth concentration under the current tax regime.

The implication I draw from this is that, if DOMA is struck down, those with an interest in this aspect of public policy may need to give some new thought to that regime, possibly with an eye to reducing those benefits in the interest of slowing accumulation of wealth among the wealthiest Americans.
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Old 03-28-2013, 09:33 AM
 
17,877 posts, read 10,314,155 times
Reputation: 22413
Quote:
Originally Posted by squarian View Post
Clearly, I do not believe that and have said nothing of the sort; no one is suggesting that no wealth should ever be inherited. However, in our last Gilded Age, the American public became concerned that the accumulation of vast fortunes posed certain dangers to the stability of American society and democracy. Income and estate taxes were, in part, the public-policy response to the problem of vast inherited wealth in the early 20th century.

In our own time, something very similar has happened, and to some, the dangers are the same. You are perfectly within your rights to reject the notion and believe that there is no danger in the emergence of a new class of super-rich. I'm entitled, like such radical revolutionaries as Andrew Carnegie in the last Gilded Age, to hold the contrary opinion.
Quote:
Naturally, opinion on the Right, which generally sees no problem with inherited wealth or its concentration in fewer hands,
So apparently you do have a problem with inheritance. You also admit that few would inherit as much as four million, so the figures are not "vast", yet you still have an issue with it. This is private family business, not corporate welfare. No one should have to pay estate tax.
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