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How Singles Lost WWII (Guest Post by Scott) October 28, 2012

Posted by Onely in Food for Thought, Guest Bloggers, Singled Out.
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Onely likes to post guest pieces by other writers who think about singles’ issues. The views expressed in our guest posts may or may not reflect Onely’s views, but we are always interested to hear from other singles advocates.

Our Copious Reader Scott wrote the following after estimating correctly, in response to this post, that singles spend more than $1 million more than their married counterparts over the course of their lifetimes, thanks to U.S. government policies that privilege people who are married.

How Singles Lost WWII

It’s 1942. The boys are off killing Nazis, and the U.S. industrial war machine is revving up. The resulting labor shortage pushes up wages, making it expensive for the government to procure war materials. Inflation soars over 10%. In response, Congress passes and President Roosevelt signs the Stabilization Act of 1942, implementing price controls to limit wartime wage increases and curtail the inflation. With one swift stoke of the pen, a new era in Marital Privilege is born.

Wait…what? I thought we were fighting Nazis, not singles.

Alas Onelers, it is true. The discrimination against singles begat 70 years ago in this legislation has already cost me something like $100,000 by age 33.

You see, this legislation included a pernicious exception to the limits on increasing employee compensation. It explicitly allowed employers to offer health care packages to employees and their immediate families in lieu of wage increases. As the only practical means left of attracting workers, these plans quickly caught on.

In 1954, the IRS further ensconced this practice by deciding that employer (and only employer) contributions to health insurance purchases are not taxable income. Employers also do not have to shell out payroll taxes on it. All told, they can offer these benefits for about half what they would otherwise cost workers—an enormous incentive to sponsor health benefit plans for employees, their spouses, and their children.

So, here I sit. (more…)

Single People: Your Loved Ones Matter Less October 30, 2011

Posted by Onely in As If!.
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The disaster scenarios described below are provided merely to make a point about the over-privileging of marriage. They do not in any way represent a thumbing-of-the-nose at fate and were written while knocking fervently on wood–well, on laminate at least.

Copious Readers, who should have long term care (LTC) insurance? Who qualifies?

Last Saturday night I considered these question. As I curled on the couch with a cup of tea and some LTC brochures, I imagined any number of extreme mishaps that might render me unable to “perform, without Substantial Assistance, at least two Activites of Daily Living. . . Bathing, Continence, Dressing, Eating, Toileting, and Transferring”. (You’ll be shocked to hear that in high school I was not voted Most Likely to Party Like a Rock Star.)

My company is offering a special deal on LTC coverage through Prudential–no medical history required. I’m only twenty-six (seeing as the thirties are the new twenties), but I’m old enough to know that sh&t happens. For example, last winter  I braked for a sudden backup on I-66(6), and although I had allowed enough stopping distance for just such instances, the cretin in the S.U.V. behind me had not. As I watched his headlights bear down on my rearview I thought, “It seems some sh&t is about to happen right now.” Fortunately he swerved onto the shoulder and stopped right beside me, instead of on top of me. Crisis averted, but I still need long-term care coverage because all his small-appendaged, speed-compensating friends remain out there, waiting for me.

Or maybe, I thought as I sipped my De-Stress tea, they are up in Michigan, waiting for my parents. Fortunately, the LTC literature said I could get my mom and dad the same LTC policy too. Reading further, I thought I’d better sign my sister up for the same policy as well, in case she goes jogging and encounters a particularly peckish cougar. Now on a roll, I decided I should also get the policy for my intrepid international-travelling co-blogger Lisa. At any moment she might fall off one of those Roman pillars on which she is so fond of perching.

Except, oh, just one moment here, let me squint closer at the fine print–turns out I can’t get Lisa a plan, because she’s not my parent, or grandparent, or sibling, or child.

As I said in a previous post about bereavement leave, these (arbitrary) requirements privilege the nuclear family and devalue other types of families and relationships. Prudential and other providers (for Prudential is not the only offender) should allow an employee to select a certain number of people to be covered. That way, I could choose to allow Lisa to piggyback off my plan instead of my grandparents, who are already in the longest-term care facility of them all.

It gets worse. Although my married colleagues are also pigeonholed in the nuclear-family paradigm, they have twice as many options as I and my single colleagues do, because marrieds can choose to enroll the following people: (more…)

Men Can Stop Rape, But Not Singlism September 17, 2010

Posted by Onely in As If!.
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Three awesome teenage men are receiving awards for their work towards stopping violence against women. And you can go see them receive their Men of Strength awards at the National Press Club in DC on September 22nd: for 125 dollars if you’re single and 75 dollars if you’re coupled.

When I got the email announcing the event, I was impressed with and happy for Anwar Muhammad Nur,  Jonathan Wade, and Terrill Wise, who speak out against abuse of women and negative images of masculinity, despite social and media pressure that says alpha males are violent males with minimal emotion. Men Can Stop Rape is right to honor precocious, socially aware teens like these. I was so impressed I thought I might want to actually attend the ceremony, but then I read the not-so-small print:


$100 per person

$150 per pair

$125/$175 at the door

Oh, Men Can Stop Rape or The National Press Club or Unaffiliated Event Organizer! How you hurt my heart. I will not be attending your event, not because I’m mad about the discrimination against singles (though I am disappointed), but because my personal economic situation forces me to stick to double-digit nights out. Which I guess I could, if I were part of a pair.

“But wait!” I thought, (more…)

Who Matters? A Guest Post by THE SPECIAL K TREATMENT May 4, 2009

Posted by Onely in Food for Thought, Guest Bloggers.
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Onely likes guest posts by other writers who think about singles’ issues. The views expressed in our guest posts may or may not reflect Onely’s views, but we are always interested to hear from other singles advocates. Today’s post is by Special K, who we previously profiled in our Some Like It Single series. Special K is an “over thirty, single, psychologist in need of a balanced breakfast” who in the below post ponders why singles “matter” less than non-singles, how some singles respond to this stigma, and what to do about it. 

imagesIn general, in American society, single people matter less than those who are married, who matter less than those with are married with children, who matter less than those who are married with children and own property. Communities do exist where this is not the case: New York City, universities perhaps, Miami Beach. But for the most part, there is a pecking order of how much space is occupied equals social power.

“She must have done something right to get a husband” my co-worker (who happens to be a therapist even!) blurted out, when referring to an emotionally disturbed woman. “WHAT? That’s Crap!” I retorted out loud, and called him our on the fallacy of logic here. . . so she is automatically given some credit because she married? What about the man’s role in all of this? What about the fact that it was a very destructive union? (more…)

Insignificant others: A steppingstone to kids? April 10, 2009

Posted by Onely in Food for Thought, Just Saying., Your Responses Requested!.
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Copious Readers, what does it mean when otherwise Onely people–who don’t mind being single–are looking for a significant other just because they want to have kids? Is this a good reason to look for a significant other? Currently, our world is set up so that it’s a lot harder to raise children if you don’t have a partner. But it’s wrong that our society is set up like that. So are these people supporting a shoddy system when they first get married before having kids? Should more people consider adopting as singles? Or given the current sub-par state of benefits systems for single parents, is that unfair to the children? (more…)

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