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It's ba-ack! Health-care plan redoubles 'marriage penalty'
Posted By Bob Unruh On 02/10/2010 @ 11:03 pm In Front Page | Comments Disabled
Bills pending in Congress that would nationalize health care by setting up mandatory insurance purchases and fines for not complying could penalize married couples $10,000 annually and are a direct attack on marriage, families and the church because of their discriminatory provisions, according to a congressional candidate.
“This is as awful, I will say evil … this is as evil as it gets,” Allen Quist, who is running to unseat Democrat Tim Walz in Minnesota’s 1st congressional district, told WND.
Quist said the fine print of provisions still alive in both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives deliberately create enormous pressure for couples to live together without marriage – or even get divorced – by charging married couples thousands of dollars more in premiums and fees.
“And it’s deliberate,” Quist added, “This is clearly not accidental.”
“In fact you have government policies tearing apart marriage,” he said. “Marriage is the foundation of society. It’s the foundation of our government and to a large degree the basic unit in the church. [The policy] undermines the church’s teaching and undermines church structure.
“It weakens the family. It weakens the church, and it weakens our country,” he said.
Quist is retired adjunct professor of political science at Bethany Lutheran
College in Mankato, Minn., and has written five books, including his most recent, “America’s Schools: The Battleground for Freedom.” He played a role in legalizing home schools in Minnesota and
was one of seven delegates elected from the state to the White House
Conference on Families in 1980.
He currently writes and edits curriculum modules
that can be used by teachers to supplement school texts. The material focuses on
“exciting new information that will not be included in textbooks
because the information contradicts politically correct worldviews
including Darwinism and global warming.”
The Democrats’ health care legislation essentially would restore the old “marriage penalty,” Quist said. Under the U.S. Tax Code for many years, people who were married and had two incomes paid income tax on the second income that started at the highest rate for taxes on the first income.
A husband’s first $5,000 in income was taxed at the same – or next higher rate – as the wife’s highest $5,000 in income in a year.
However, if the two people were living together without marriage, the incomes were separate, and the second income would be taxed starting at the lowest rate of the tax table.
Members of Congress worked for years to repeal the measure and take away the financial penalty for being married.
Quist said the new health-care provisions restore the penalty and double it. He said all he needed to figure that out was his knowledge of how government works – he’s been a state representative for multiple terms – and a calculator. Under the two proposals pending, which are similar, two unmarried people with a combined income of about $59,000 would pay about $1,320 a year in medical insurance.
For a married couple with the same approximate income, the tab would be about $12,000.
It would hit young married couples hard and even would bite back at empty-nesters whose children have moved away from home, he said.
Two WND columnists previously have cited the disparity in the health care programs’ recommended costs for couples. Phyllis Schlafly wrote, “Even though all evidence shows that marriage is the best remedy for poverty, lack of health care, domestic violence, child abuse and school dropouts, federal welfare programs continue to discriminate against marriage and instead give taxpayer handouts to those who reject marriage.”
She cited tables revealing the House bill cost for an unmarried couple with $50,000 in combined income would be $3,076 a year. Married, they would pay $5,160.
Columnist Craige McMillan went further, noting that the head of a family making $44,000 a year would see periodic take-home pay of $2,854 reduced to $1,604 because of mandatory health insurance costs.
He reported, however, a single woman with the same income would have her income drop only from $2,687 to $2,603 because she could opt to pay a penalty instead of buying insurance.
“If she gets sick the new ban on pre-existing illnesses means she can sign up the month before she needs an expensive operation – and drop coverage a month later. And since emergency rooms will still have to treat the uninsured, no questions asked, why would she carry insurance?”
But Quist went further, charging that it is a deliberate attack on Christians.
“It’s persecution of the church, because of the church’s involvement with marriage,” he said.
“Millions of families [will have the choice] of staying married and not making their house, their mortgage payments or getting divorced and making their payments,” he said.
“This thing is designed to destroy marriage in the middle class – just as we’ve destroyed it on the poverty level,” he said, citing aid programs that lend more benefits to a single mother with children than the same family with a father present.
Quist said. “It’s going to come in like a freight train.”
According to a Heritage Foundation analysis, the provisions in the Senate bill confirm that “saying ‘I do’ would cost some couples over $10,000 a year.”
“At nearly all age and income levels, the bill profoundly discriminates against married couples, providing far less support to a husband and wife than to a cohabiting couple with the same income,” the analysis said.
“Under the Senate bill, married couples in general would receive between $1,500 and $10,000 less in government health care support than would cohabiting couples with the same total income.”
“For example, a young couple without children, age 20, each making $20,000, would receive $4,317 more in health benefits each year if they cohabit rather than marry. Slipping on the wedding ring would cut the couple’s annual disposable income by more than 10 percent. Rather than pay this new wedding tax, the couple is likely to postpone marriage or forego it entirely,” the analysis said.
Empty-nesters “would pay an effective tax of $5,000 to $10,000 per year for the right to remain married,” the report continued. “For example, a 60-year-old couple, each earning $30,000 per year, would receive $10,425 per year less in benefits if they marry or remain married. Simply by divorcing and then living together, the couple can boost their post-tax, take-home income by nearly one-fourth.”
The Heritage report warned, “The bill’s wedding tax is perpetual. … Some couples who remained married throughout their adult lives would face cumulative penalties of over $200,000 during the course of their marriage.”
Robert Rector, the author of the analysis and a Senior Research Fellow in Domestic Policy Studies at the foundation, concluded, “On the other hand, the bill establishes cohabiters as a privileged special interest, quietly channeling tens of thousands of dollars to them in preferential government bonuses. Offering couples massive financial rewards on the condition they jettison their wedding vows, or decline to make them in the first place, is absurd social policy. But that would be the established policy of the U.S. government if Obamacare becomes law.”
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