1950s era tax structures will result in 1950s era families

Instapundit links to “The Plight of the Alpha Female,” detailing how women are not succeeding at the highest levels. Kay Hymowitz is right to focus on child-bearing as an issue with women rising to the highest echelons of their professions, but I’ll throw in a second option: a highly progressive tax code.  First, this vignette from November, 2012:

After the election, my wife and I are going partial Galt. We’re in California, so our state income tax went up in addition to what’s sure to come out of Washington.

My wife quit her job last week. I increased my participation in a tax deferment plan offered by my employer to bring my taxable income as close to $250K as possible. We’ll be cutting back a little, but the government is going to getting a whole lot less.

My wife’s entire salary barely covered our tax bill – she was 100% slave to the government, while I was a 10% slave. Now she is 100% free, and I’ll be a ~35% slave As a couple, 17.5% of our time is slaving on the government plantation from an astounding 55% previously.

My wife is deliriously happy, our children are delighted to have mom home, the dog gets more walks, and I find not spending money rapturously satisfying.

This anonymous man’s wife is no longer on the corporate treadmill, no longer a candidate for a promotion, no longer part of the upper echelons.  If someone surveyed her about her desire to quit the workforce, “kids” might be the official answer; those forms likely do not have anything about “our tax code punishes college-educated, high-earning couples”. Allegedly, a woman whose paycheck is equal to that of her husband is exactly the type of woman we are looking to as the next Sheryl Sandberg or Marissa Mayer – or even someone to take  a VP or a C-level slot at a company.

But the reality of our “eat the rich, except those who are super-rich” mentality is that we punish those women for their success by taking astronomical amounts of their money in taxes.  If they are any good at math, they quickly realise that most of their time is spent working for the government, and that leaving their jobs will not substantially effect their family’s finances.  Our tax code treats (married) women unequally: a wife’s second income is taxed at a much higher rate than is her husband’s income.

The Left has its fallacious “women earn seventy-something cents on a man’s dollar”; why do we not talk about how much married women pay in taxes compared to their husbands?


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