David Blankenhorn, president of the Institute for American Values, and Sam Brownback, Senator from Kansas, have a fine editorial this week in the Wall Street Journal. They note that the government has reduced the marriage penalty - the higher taxes paid by married people for filing together - for the higher classes. Now, they argue, it is time to end the marriage penalty for those on welfare.
Marriage, even if it joins very modest incomes, costs people on welfare up to a fifth of their income and benefits. This leads some on welfare to conclude that they would be better off not marrying. Yet marriage is the most likely route to lead poor women, men, and especially children out of poverty. Any policy that discourages parents from marrying is bad; discouraging marriage among the people it would help the most is tragic.