New report shows 'marriage penalties' fall hardest on the poor
The design of long-standing welfare programs likely keeps numerous working-class couples from getting hitched, a research report released Thursday by the American Enterprise Institute argues.
Those couples might otherwise get married and provide the empirically validated benefits of a married two-parent home to their children, report author and AEI scholar Bradford Wilcox argued during a Thursday panel appearance debuting the report.
Instead, Wilcox and co-panelists noted, thresholds for eligibility for certain welfare programs and tax credits only let couples access them if they keep their incomes separate, discouraging marriage. That, research further shows, perpetuates a now-yawning "marriage gap" between rich and poor, in turn perpetuating the cycle of poverty.
The report, in other words, argues that government policy has both stood in the way of marriage formation and perpetuated socioeconomic inequality, highlighting a policy concern that could galvanize lawmakers on both the left and right to act.