Social Security

Gay Marriage: Not a Single Issue

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A good friend of mine posted on a Facebook status regarding gay marriage and voting that some people don’t just vote a single issue. Now, he’s a little misguided because I know plenty of people on the right that vote Republican solely because they’re anti-abortion. And, I know plenty of people who voted Democratic because they were against the war in Iraq. Quite frankly, I agree with my friend: one shouldn’t vote just one issue.

But, when you’re gay, gay marriage isn’t a single issue. It affects nearly every single issue out there for gays and lesbians.

Point 1: Taxes. Everyone complains about how much they pay in taxes.  If you’re a straight married couple with no kids, making what Cheryl and I make, you pay around $1000 less in Federal income taxes than Cheryl and I do. Between the two of us, we paid more than $10,000 in federal income taxes – roughly 16% of our joint income. This means we paid a higher percentage than Mitt Romney.
The Republican tax plan? It will cost us a lot more, while lowering taxes on people who all ready pay less than we do and, I’m ignoring the other items, like lowering taxes of the rich.
You want tax equality? Let the gays get married.

Point 2. Social Security. I earn a substantial amount more than Cheryl. Therefore, I pay more into Social Security than she does. If we were allowed to legally marry, she could apply for Social Security under my name. However; because we’re not legally married, she can’t.  She, also, won’t receive any death benefits if I happen to die first – unlike her legally married, straight counterparts.  In the land of equality, this stinks. A man can marry a woman, stay married for ten years and divorce her and she can file for his Social Security. That same man can marry another woman, stay married for ten years and wife #2 gets a piece of his Social Security pie. His benefits are never reduced. 

Point 3. Healthcare. Taxes. If I take my employer provided healthcare benefits for Cheryl, like millions of straight married couples do all over the country, I will pay income taxes on the employer cost of said healthcare. You want to fix healthcare in this nation? Start by eliminating the domestic partner taxes on healthcare.

See, I’m not asking for special rights. I am demanding equality. The right wing yammers on and on about fairness and freedom, but it’s just talk. They don’t believe in equality. 

Further, there are more issues than just these three that is affected by one’s marital status. Gay marriage may not be important to straight people, but it is literally the most important issue to gay people. It affects everything about our lives.

If you care one iota for your gay friends and family, you’ll vote Democratic this fall. Until we’re all equal, none of us are equal.

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Off the Top Of My Head…

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Here’s just a quick comment on yesterday’s CBO report regarding the income inequality:  One of the reasons the lower sectors went up by 18% is because the employer paid premiums were included in the study.  If those had been removed, you would see the lower earning parts of the population more stagnant between 1979 and 2007.  (I don’t have the figures on how much, but I’ll find them.  I did find a report that showed that since 1995, premium contributions nearly doubled.  However; that report is from the California Healthcare Foundation and I am unsure if it covers just California or the whole country.)

Anyway, if you want to know why everyone is angry in this country, I think this graph from the Congressional Budget Office Trends in the Distribution of Household income between 1979 and 2007 report says it all.

CBO Figure 1 - Growth in Real After-Tax Income
CBO Figure 1 - Growth in Real After-Tax Income

I saw a comment on one of the news articles on this where the guy actually defended the Top 1%.  He thinks they somehow deserve to earn that much more than those on the bottom.  That’s his right to believe it, but a lot of the Top 1% are the same guys who ruined our economy and walked away in millions of golden parachute money.  (One example: Martin Sullivan – CEO of AIG received $47 million for failing.)  What I did find interesting was that he was defending the upper 1% without spelling anything correct.  Another commenter mentioned that what they earned didn’t affect him.  And, he’s wrong.  Companies only have so much to go around.  Every dollar that goes into a CEO pocket is one dollar less the company has to put into a worker’s pocket.

The more I read about how the financial crisis happened, the angrier I get.  I will be sitting down soon and writing up my own opinion.