Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 17, 2006

Votes Of Women

lifted from a comment by gylangirl

Dems know how to attract votes from gays, blacks, latinos, and the poor: they put items into the Dem agenda that improve the economic status of those groups. But they don't care to improve the economic status of women. Instead, they listen to the "leaders" of the feminist movement, who offer more tidbits only for women among the gays, blacks, latinos and the poor.

They ignore the biggest reason why women end up poor: the legal status of marriage as a method of economic oppression of women, especially mothers. In the U.S., motherhood is the number one risk factor for poverty! Why? The law uses marriage as an excuse to short-change women when it comes to calculating dual earner income taxes ["secondary earners" pay higher marginal taxes and are thus induced to exit the paid workforce], and calculating spousal social security benefits [spouses are counted as only half a worker], and legal acceptance of employers rewarding male-pattern work. [An example is use of the gender-loaded criteria of "seniority" for establishing pay scales.]

The law does not recognize the right of a wife/family to the wage-earner's income. At divorce, she had to fight for it in court, often when she cannot afford the legal costs of doing so. The law does not recognize the subsidization of the economy by mothers as they raise of the future workforce, care for the sick and the elderly. That's a lot of free labor which is not even counted in the GNP.

The politician who can recognize how women are systematically marginalized in these ways, and who can propose legislation to address these inequities, and campaign on those proposals, will attract the votes of women of all classes.

Posted by b on January 17, 2006 at 20:15 UTC | Permalink


"secondary earners" pay higher marginal taxes and are thus induced to exit the paid workforce

I didn´t know that. In Germany it is different. Married peoples income is thrown together and they pay one rate on all income. (There are some tweaks for some benefits if income is VERY different, but that is not decisive. You will be refunded in the coming year.)

A problem are lone mothers with child(ren). They do get benefits, you can live on, but thats about it. There is no a multi party initiative to have something like a general "mother wage" paid by the state.

Still there are lots of points were women and esp. mothers of young children are in a bad position.
For voting pattern women do significantly prefer progressive parties in my country. Party programs of the progressive parties do emphazise women programs. But I am not sure what is hen and egg here.

An interesting ABC poll in 2004 shows women supported Gore in 2000 but not Kerry in 2004. But there was a HUGE difference in married vs. not married women. Married women did prefer Bush while unmarried women voted for Kerry.

1. What change between Gore and Kerry? The Dems program on women did not I guess.
2. Why a huge difference in married vs. not-married women?

Posted by: b | Jan 17 2006 20:44 utc | 1

Thank you b, for lifting my comments.
I should reference two books from which I draw my assertions:

The Price of Motherhood by Ann Crittenden


Taxing Women by Edward J. McCafferty

If married German couples are induced to file jointly, then their situation may be the same as McCafferty describes in his book. American dual income couples are induced to file jointly. Understanding the economic term "marginal tax rate" is the key to understanding why this joint filing is discriminatory toward the secondary earner, usually the wife.
McCafferty proposed that the IRS regulations be changed so that two-income couples can opt to file as single earners. This is not the same as the current "married filing separarely" option, which carries additional rate penalties.

The tax bias against secondary earners is also not the same concept as the "marriage penalty reduction" ruse which the cynical GOP has usurped to promote their tax cuts for higher income heads of households whose spouse doesn't work for pay anyway and is therefore not even subject to the secondary earner bias.

The issue applies to employed wives only. And according to McCafferty it affects working families at all income levels. I have focused on the upper income families because those are the likely sources of women applicants to positions of power and are also the source of women's votes for Republicans; votes which the progressives must learn to peel away from the GOP.

Posted by: gylangirl | Jan 18 2006 0:37 utc | 2

re more married women voting for Bush in 2004.

1. The GOP is better at portraying themselves, however falsely, as more 'family values' than the Dems. The religious right have been assisted by the atheist left in portraying Dems as anti-religious. And the religious right grows their troops every Sunday while the left used to but.... doesn't anymore.

2. in both 2000 and 2004, the male-dominated Dems studiously avoided putting women's issues at the top of the list, didn't mention abortion except to audiences of feminists, didn't mention the supreme court as the most important reason to vote against Bush, and never promotes tax cuts for overtaxed "working" [for pay] wives, who as I say upthread pay the highest marginal taxes of any worker. [Meanwhile the GOP pretended to support women's economic rights with the marriage penalty reduction ruse and got away with it.] The Dems wrote off the married women's vote instead of figuring out ways to attract it. Instead they focused as ususal on women of color and single women and women of only one class, which is also good but, unfortunately for the Dems, not as big a demographic as married women of all classes and races. So while the Dems declined to steal married women votes from the GOP base, the GOP was continuing to steal blue collar votes from the Dem base.

3. the Dems didn't distinguish themselves from Bush on the war. Kerry's answer to the war was to ask a frenchman "to be the last man to die for a mistake". Kerry didn't defend his war record when it was attacked. Bush shamelessly manipulated the threat levels and scared a lot of people into wondering whether Kerry would protect them from terrorism.

4. the MSM assisted the GOP in portraying Kerry as a flip flopper while portraying the flip flop president as resolute.

5. As you know, Kerry actually won more votes in Ohio than he was credited with just as Gore actually own more votes in Florida than he was credited with. Bush got in via election fraud both times.

Posted by: gylangirl | Jan 18 2006 1:46 utc | 3

If married German couples are induced to file jointly, then their situation may be the same as McCafferty describes in his book. American dual income couples are induced to file jointly. Understanding the economic term "marginal tax rate" is the key to understanding why this joint filing is discriminatory toward the secondary earner, usually the wife.

Let me try to understand it. Are they taxed like one person making two wages and thus getting to pay a higher percentage of the salary in tax? If so then I would presume that the effect might be even worse in Germany as the US tax is less progressive (I presume).

In Sweden (as far as I know, I´m no tax expert) only the fortune tax (on property above a certain value) changes depending on wheter you are married or not (singles can own more per person before paying fortune tax). Income tax is always paid seperately.

Parents get 13 months paid absence (80 % of your salary ) from work to share, but at least one month most be taken out by each parent or you lose that month (unless it is a single parent, then you get 13 months). Since fathers use far from half the time (19,5 % of the total time in 2005), there has been discussions about splitting the time down the middle. I expect in a year or two that a compromise will be enacted with something like 3-4 months to each parent and the rest to decide freely (which will then mostly be used by mothers). Still of course with the exception of single parents, which will get 13 months.

Posted by: A swedish kind of death | Jan 18 2006 2:16 utc | 4

These issues are incredibly complex and meddling in them is fraught with danger because tampering without clearly examining all sides can cause the opposite outcome from the one intended.

As a primary caregiver who happens to be male I have come around to the point of view that many of these issues are only related to gender in the sense that most often primary caregivers are women rather than because women as group have been singled out. But of course it could also be argued that these issues are gender driven because if more primary care givers were male they would have been sorted out years before.

When I separated from the children's mother the children initially stayed with her.

Within days I was hit with a bit over $2000 a month in child support at the same time as my eligibility to claim them as dependants for tax purposes was removed. At the time I didn't really worry about it because I had fully intended to support my children although I was a little suprised at the amount as I had left the family car which was less than a year old with the children and was still paying the mortgage, insurance, rates etc on the home, so that instead of 30% of my net income going in child support it was over 50% of my gross (ie before tax) income.

However when it became apparent that it was in the children's best interests to live with me, I couldn't even get the depndant tax rebate restored until I had obtained legal custody through the courts. When it was restored it was from that day forward, there was no retrospectivity.

In the twelve years since I don't think I've had a brass razoo from the children's mother toward the cost of their normal-childhood media induced consumerism, much less anything for the boring stuff like food, rent, school uniforms, fees etc. Now I'm not complaining here because I still reckon I got the better end of the deal, I'm just making an observation.

By the sound of it the US tax rates do treat the primary caregiver badly but it shouldn't be assumed that this is true of all societies.

There is always going to be a difficulty balancing this stuff out. For example many countries do provide relief in the form of dependency rebates for children which on the surface appear to be a great boon.

But since it usually makes sense for the person earning the most to use this rebate and that isn't normally the primary caregiver, injustices can occur to the primary caregiver; ie they pay tax at a higher rate than the primary provider.

This situation is further complicated if it makes better economic sense to treat the two seperate incomes as one, that is both incomes benefit from the deductions that can be claimed but the addition of the second income pushes that share of the income into a higher tax bracket so once again the primary caregiver pays tax at a higher rate than than the alleged primary provider.

Just how much should the state get involved in this domestic situation? Surely the best solution would be for the couple to work it out amongst themselves and for readjustments to be made between the two parents.

If an outside entity tried to regulate this, they would find it very difficult to regulate for every variation of human relationship. The chances are that some people are going to get an unjust or worse deal.

And yes in some situations the unequal distribution of power over decision making can mean the woman gets stiffed. I would argue that in those circumstances the problem isn't with the tax law it is with the relationship.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Jan 18 2006 4:07 utc | 5

@gylangirl, have you discussed mounting a campaign around this w/other feminists, etc? It's puzzling it wasn't dealt w/back when it would have been much easier.

Another way one parent is structured out of labor market, is shortage of part-time jobs for highly educated people - managerial, etc. I know a number of women who wanted to return to the labor market, but couldn't get jobs commensurate w/their abilty & experience that weren't full-time. W/growing children they didn't want this. Then by the time the children are grown, they've been out of the labor market so long, their working knowledge of the world is obsolete.

I could add many other facets of sexism that drive women out of the work force. A key underlying issue is tht for very many males, the primary function of work is to have an environment to which they can flee the family, in which women are the central figure, and emotional fluency is important. Hence, these places are specifically structured to exclude women as much as possible, while harnessing female energy in places where they wish to be kissed up to, or young females where they can flirt with them.

Posted by: jj | Jan 18 2006 5:36 utc | 6

Which is only to say, that the tax issue doesn't exist in a vacuum, but is one part of a complex specifically designed to exclude/marginalize women.

Posted by: jj | Jan 18 2006 5:37 utc | 7

Thank you for educating me, gylangirl.

If the Dems actually stood for something, like universal healthcare, and universal education, then they might win more women's votes. But between two wings of the corporate party, and campaigns filled with irrelevancies, voters naturally choose candidates on superficial and artificially created personal qualities. Bush is more handsome and a better speaker than Kerry. (Incidentally, I caught part of some interview with Kerry on CNN today while waiting in a store--his opinions on the middle east were, if anything, even more odious than Bush's.)

Also, Dem strategy, as pursued in the last election cycle, and exemplified by Hilary Clinton, are to triangulate on abortion; that is to call it odious, horrible, a tragedy, and support the continuing erosion through legislation calculated to chip away at the right . Gone are the days when a Dem would stand up and argue for the right of women to control their own bodies.

Posted by: Malooga | Jan 18 2006 5:38 utc | 8

Interesting discussion, Debs has clarified a point gylangirl made earlier:

A one-income family is taxed at a certain rate, but if the wife goes to work the greater joint income can push them into a higher tax bracket.

So if they were just taxed as individuals, he would pay the same as before and she could actually keep a goodly amount of her likely small salary.

When they have to file jointly, the value of the wife's additional work is a small addition to their final take-home pay.

Posted by: jonku | Jan 18 2006 6:57 utc | 9

I have always respected Riane Eisler ever since I read her Chalice and The Blade: Our History, Our Future book. I loved it so much I went out and bought the hardback, which I am loath to do as my reading addiction does not allow for spending the extra money on most books. However, it is a keeper.

I have been moved by many women author's many from a feminist perspective. Doris Lessing, Terry Tempest Williams, Ann Wilson Schaef, even Inga Muscio just to name a few. But I keep going back to Riane for her 'from the hip' (pun intended) prose.

All are on the same page, all resonate w/me, but I always go Riane for clear and pithy writing. I like her for her wholistic worldview and true human dignity partnership work. I heard her speak back in in 2000 or 2001, she made the point that "true commnication can only happen between equals" and went on to discuss provocative insights into democracy/equality/power issues in the 21st century. And how woman and men have changed, however the change has been one of a warped space-time upward but not as much outward. One needs to grow horizontally as vertically to have any real depth or wisdom. I remember the question and answer after her lecture and someone asked her why, or how, we could have a better world, and how come women do not band together as they did in the hey day of the beginning of the feminist movement. And further, with so much unused power by women what keeps them from solidarity. Well, I can't remember her answer perbatum but it had something to do w/ "culture and boundy markers" Boundary markers, are overt characteristics used to denote ethnic or gender group roles. Spacifically, gender power issues. Including sex power and identity. And that theology and doctrine religon often get in the way. For example, in Where democracy, safety and justice begin she writes, "Traditions of domination and violence in family and sexual relations perpetuated under the guise of religious morality are the major holdout. They must be recognized -- and changed -- worldwide." (pp 9:2005)

How can we expect people raised in authoritarian families -- where men are ranked over women and children learn that any questioning of belief and authority will be punished -- to vote for leaders whose policies promote justice, equality, democracy, mutual respect and nonviolence?

Of course it seems to me we have slipped into Bushco's sadomasochism. Bush has, wittingly or not, aligned himself with post-structuralism, deconstruction and homo-erotic sex fantasies of domination humilation and cruelty. And has projected his unhealed soul sick wounds on us all. We are living his nightmare. And I do not see us waking up. We need a hundred, nay a thousand more Cindy Sheehans women warriors to rise up, and I honesty do not believe that men can save us at this point.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 18 2006 7:56 utc | 10

@ASKOD Let me try to understand it. Are they taxed like one person making two wages and thus getting to pay a higher percentage of the salary in tax? If so then I would presume that the effect might be even worse in Germany as the US tax is less progressive (I presume).

No. The tax in general is progressive. The more you make, the higher the taxrate (up to a limit).

When married, the income of both persons is added up and divided by two. That result would determine the rate on the progressive scale.

If one person is not working or is making significant less than the other, the tax rate is much lower than before marriage. If both persons work and make the same amount, the tax rate is the same as if they were single and filing seperately.

There are deductibles for children etc. too.

Posted by: b | Jan 18 2006 8:53 utc | 11

So the effect still apply if there is a wide spread in the incomes, though people might react to it differently in Germany then in the US as they were used to even higher taxes as singels.

Posted by: A swedish kind of death | Jan 18 2006 11:35 utc | 12


Just how much should the state get involved in this domestic situation? Surely the best solution would be for the couple to work it out amongst themselves and for readjustments to be made between the two parents.

If an outside entity tried to regulate this, they would find it very difficult to regulate for every variation of human relationship. The chances are that some people are going to get an unjust or worse deal.

And yes in some situations the unequal distribution of power over decision making can mean the woman gets stiffed. I would argue that in those circumstances the problem isn't with the tax law it is with the relationship.

Not so!! Things did not just randomly occur to create the dilemma for secondary earners. Families did not bring this problem on themselves. Families cannot fight this by themselves.

It was intentionally designed to get women out of the paid workforce, according to McCafferty.
Before 1948, American married women's incomes were taxed separately from their husband's incomes. Why the change? The state [Congress] got involved to socially engineer the change for the benefit of men.

In World War II, American women were entering the industrial and business world in large numbers. My husband's maternal grandmother managed a munitions factory during the war. Shortly after the war she managed a garment factory. By the 1950's and 60's and 70's, this sort of women-in-charge-at-the-workplace was less prevalent. Along with blatant discriminatory statutes that excluded women specifically from jobs, post-world-war-2 congressmen passed laws like the secondary earner tax that financilly induced educated and skilled women to return to domestic unpaid labor.

Now granted, this re-domestication pattern is more true of middle and upper middle class families than of families which could not survive without a second income. However the poorer families experienced a drop in marriage rates as a result of the same tax laws that were forcing college educated women out of the paid labor force and back into the kitchens.

McCafferty explains the effects of the joint filing rule upon each class: upper class women dropped out of the paid workforce altogether, middle class women had to work full-time to gain any financial benefit even tho they would prefer part-time work, and underclasses began to avoid marriage in order to hold on to two incomes.

My pooint is that it is not the fault of the "relationship", that it is not an accidental problem. It is a consciously designed problem that prevents women form accumulating income savings, from breaking the glass ceiling in corporate management, from being proportionally represented in legislatures and in congress.

Women are not the decision makers in this country because they are systematically induced by tax law to abandon career paths leading to positions of power. Women are not in power, not because of their own values choices, but because of state-imposed inducements that insure that women who marry and have a family drop out of the spheres of work that the state believed in 1948 [and to this day if it is not reversed] rightly belongs to men.

Posted by: gylangirl | Jan 18 2006 16:33 utc | 13

@Uncle Scam,

Thank-yo for more info on Riane Eisler. I think Riane Eisler's book The Chalice and the Blade is the most important book I have ever read. Her term gylany [partnership society] is my source for my moniker, gylangirl.

Posted by: gylangirl | Jan 18 2006 16:42 utc | 14

@Uncle Scam,

The issue of women uniting is the key. The way to crush a movement has always been to create division within it.

What is crushing the women's movement and the progressive movement today is class divisions. Advocates for the poor, often women, often Democrats, are loathe to admit that upper class and upper middle class women are also oppressed by the system. They do not see the Patriachy connection that keeps women from postions where one can create progressive public policy. They would not think of changing the tax laws to permit upper middle class women to keep their careers. After all those married mothers are being financially supported by a husband, they've got theirs already, they chose their situation, right? These are the arguments I have encountered [from self-described feminists,/i>!] against changing the secondary earner tax bias.

[Yet the future financial security of a financially dependent spouse is shakey: the divorce rate is 50 percent, the dependent spouse has amassed no retirement savings, the divorce courts favor the more wealthy spouse who can afford to exhaust the other spouses' finacial/legal resources with endless motions and appeals, etc.]

As long as women [and men] in the Democratic party think that only certain categories of women are deserving of inclusion in the
progressive agenda, women will remain divided by class and the Patriarchy will prevail with its male-supremacist governments fomenting even more poverty, violence, disease, and warfare which adversely affect all women and men.

Posted by: gylangirl | Jan 18 2006 17:11 utc | 15

I remember a couple that was interviewed years ago on tv who divorced and remarried each year because of income taxes.

Posted by: beq | Jan 18 2006 17:41 utc | 16

@ jj,

Which is only to say, that the tax issue doesn't exist in a vacuum, but is one part of a complex specifically designed to exclude/marginalize women.

True. And the tax issue contributes to the other issues. For instance, according to McCafferty, because secondary earners are more likely to quit their jobs [the social engineering intent of the 1948 tax law], and because these secondary earner are mostly married mothers, employers automatically assume that married mothers aren't committed to their jobs.

1. Employers then make hiring decisions based on this real phenomena: They prefer to hire workers who don't fit that category of female, married, mother. They prefer not to promote women who may marry or are already married. They prefer not to distribute scarce bonuses and pay raises to employees that are statistically more likely to quit the job. Et Voila! Wage gap! And gender discrimination in hiring and promotions! Anti-discrimination laws have brought single women's wages on par with men's [both single and married] wages. But married women, especially mothers still carry the wage gap and 'gender-plus' discrimination.

2. Glass ceiling. Already discussed upthread, but when there aren't enough women applying for the top jobs, it is not that not enough women don't want them. Rather the majority of women candidates had already been taxed out of the prerequisite career experience.

3. Feminization of poverty. Motherhood is the number one risk factor for poverty in America. Most of the poor are elderly women. When you are induced to become financially dependent for your productive lifetime, and have no savings of your own in a society with a 50 percent divorce rate; and when two income families cannot keep their secondary incomes for the purpose of retirement savings; it is no wonder that so many of the poor are elderly women.

4. Highly gendered division of labor and work/life imbalance. If the secondary earner is forced out of the paid workforce into domesticity, then her husband is forced into 24-7 workaholism to support a family on one income. Corporations are more likely to promote employees [men] who have a spouse at home to handle everything domestic from the sick schoolkid to the cable installer. Competition in such a work place means everyone has to put work ahead of everything else. This workaholic corporate attitude is preventing labor from demanding better sick leave, parental leave, vacation leave, and flex-time.

The 1948 tax discrimination against secondary earners contributes to the inability to eliminate all of these problems.

Posted by: gylangirl | Jan 18 2006 17:59 utc | 17

Excellent discussion here. Thanks to all here who are clarifying the details and what they do.

Posted by: citizen | Jan 18 2006 18:29 utc | 18

Follow Her
Womens Political Resurgence Leads The World

This weekends election of Chiles Michelle Bachelet as the first female president in South America is the latest crest in a global sea-change that currently counts 17 women heads of state. Women head the parliaments of Sweden, Iceland, the Netherlands,Germany, Denmark and Norwayand now hold more than 30% of parliamentary seats in 14 countries. the reemergence of the worldsmajority population and electorate to positions of political leadership is one of the most promising signs of change in a young century that in five years has seen women elected to lead 11 nations. But while women in sub-Saharan Africa hold 48% of elected seats, and women in the European Union hold 45%, American women occupy less than 15% of the 536 seats in the US Congress

Follow Her by William Thomas

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 18 2006 21:15 utc | 19

@gylangirl It seems we may be talking at cross purposes. If the US does have a tax law which makes a married woman's income taxed at a higher rate than a married man's then of course it should be abolished, however if this phenomenon is a result of 'bracket creep' that is the tax is greater because the extra income has pushed the family unit into a higher bracket then it needs to be addressed differently.

For example whether a couple in NZ file as one economic unit or two is entirely a matter of choice. For many filing as one unit is preferable because the deductions and the types of negative taxation (that is rebates given on the basis of how much you earn versus childcare costs and accomodation costs) then accrue against both incomes. These rebates now extend right up into the middle classes, so of course legions of lawyers design family trusts, models for the best system for the incomes earned etc.

This stuff is best worked out by the people themselves after consultation with experts if neccessary.

One of the reasons that the choice to file separately has to be maintained (I reckon) is because of the degree of social engineering on behalf of women's issues that has occured already.

For example if two people share accomodation for 12 months or more and have a sexual relationship during that time, the courts can deem them to be in a 'marriage like relationship' and all assets owned by the individuals are then grouped together and split down the middle if they seperate.

Forcing someone to file jointly at too early a stage in this operation could startle the 'horse' and cause him/her to bolt.

I could inveigle you with some horror stories about the injustices that this has caused to both men and women already, but many may be urban myths, and the ones I know to be true are friends and not really my story to tell.

However when you're young and sharing a house with someone it's not impossible for the room mates or whatever to engage in a little intoxicated experimentation with each other.

Once that has happened the smart thing to do nowadays is to move out asap. Especially if there was a wide difference between the two people's incomes/assets.

Now that the civil union bill has been passed which means that a gay couple can enjoy exactly the same level of protection from the law as hetero married or defacto couples, things could get interesting.

Now I am a big supporter of the civil union bill but I couldn't get any politician to tell me how that bill interacted with the de facto couples legislation. They hadn't really thought it through.

My concern isn't that some straight bloke will find hisself married to some queen or whatever fiction the tabloid media may come up with. It is the rather more likely circumstance that many gay people are aggressively single and could get trapped into a situation that they hadn't anticipated just by sharing accomodation with like minded friends.

Although I seem to digress badly here I don't because what I am trying to demonstrate is that human relationships are unique, complex partnerships normally designed by the participants according to their needs.

As soon as a third party gets involved there is every chance that the problem will worsen if only because no one can possibly legislate for every type, form and preference that people have for their relationships.

Many relationships suffer from a power imbalance. This is something that is fluid though, and can change during the course of a relationship. No matter how the tax laws are modified they are not anything like the correct lever to be used in addressing that power imbalance.

It must be up to people themselves to decide how they are going to divide their income during the course of the relationship.

If one person is being disadvantaged by a power imbalance; that is a much bigger issue than some clerk at taxation could possibly be expected to deal with.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Jan 18 2006 22:47 utc | 20

@ Debbs,

The US tax law to which I refer applies to officially-recognized married couples' jointly-filed income tax forms. Once married they cannot opt out as in NZ. But if they were permitted to do so under the proposed gender-neutral 'optional single filing status for married earners', it would not place into question the legality of the marriage or affect the power relationship in the marriage. Husbands are as much harmed by the secondary earner tax as the wife and would welcome the wife's continued ability to add to the household income. So it is not something that only the wife wants. Whole families are adversely affected by the current tax bias toards single earner families.

So I don't think your comparison to NZ roommates and the legal status of their possible joint assets applies.

The 'year of shacking up' rule in New Zealand sounds very complicated. By contrast, 'Common law' marriage is a 7 year thing here I believe and it is considered unofficial, or pretty much ignored by IRS officials, until one or both persons make some later claim in court. 'Common law' married couples are not required to file joint tax returns and would be insane to try to do so because they'd lose a lot of money unnecessarily.

Posted by: gylangirl | Jan 19 2006 0:20 utc | 21

Your reference to gay married couples is apt. Many states are recognizing gay marriages. They don't know what they're up against yet when it comes time to file federal taxes jointly, [if the feds even recognize/permit/require it yet?]. I am hoping that eventually gay married couples will protest the secondary earner tax bias [and the social security spousal formulas]. Because the fems and the Dems haven't paid attention to the plight of married women but they do pay attention to the plight of gays.

Posted by: gylangirl | Jan 19 2006 0:33 utc | 22

In Sweden, the variant of the 'year of shacking up'-rule is that if two persons live under marriage-like circumstances in the same home all property which is acquire for the common home is common and all that isn´t is personal. Sure it is a tricky definition sometimes, but hey lawyers have to eat to.

Posted by: A swedish kind of death | Jan 19 2006 0:45 utc | 23

Unemployed wives in the W world do unpaid work and have few rights an advantages.

In the US they are very badly off - this is covered up by spectacular articles / Tv stuff about women getting huge alimony payments (a few do), and the ranting of men who vociferously claim that they are disadvantaged by the ‘system’.

In dictatorial regimes, fascist ones, or neo-fascist ones, or ‘traditional’ ones, meaning regimes that count on adherence to religion to function, women and their dependents, children, are always the loosers.

The main point of fascism is ‘renewal’ and ‘rebirth’ - it requires flag waving adherents, massive personal investment without return, a love of authority.

For that reason, clear lines and a hierarchy must be drawn, and women and children - chattels - will always be on the bottom of the pole. In the US all such measures and attitudes are obscured by hysterical pronoucements, manic chat about democracy, the left-right split, etc. Islam and Xtianity have exactly the same pov; the measures taken are tempered by the respective cultures.

Debs wrote: These issues are incredibly complex and meddling in them is fraught with danger because tampering without clearly examining all sides can cause the opposite outcome from the one intended.

Yes, it is not worthwhile going into international comparions, and lauding or condemning this or that system. Not without specialist knowledge, incredibly long explanations, postion papers, all set in a stable world, where interest keeps kicking in and energy flows...

There are too many things that play a role: hiring women in the workplace, widow’s pensions, the treatment of single mothers, unemployment, medical insurance for children, tax breaks, Gvmt subsidies for housing, medical care; the availability or not of cheap and safe child-care, village / town social cohesion, method of cashing in ‘alimony’ or ‘child pensions’, the right to drive and the money to do it; the right to vote, to divorce, to beg, to be a prostitute, to study, to bear arms, to start a business; and so on.

And! the possibility for men to earn enough to support a family or be able to pay for arm candy or a second wife.

Posted by: Noisette | Jan 19 2006 18:47 utc | 24

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