Focus Point - Marriage Penalty

Commentary by Pete du Pont

I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. The house recently passed a bill that would relieve much of the so-called marriage penalty. Close, but no cigar.

A marriage penalty results when a two-earner married couple pays more federal income taxes than they would if they were unmarried and each were taxed as a single or head of household filer.

The house-passed bill would increase the standard deduction for married couples and gradually raise the amount of income covered by the 15 percent tax bracket to twice that for single people. For low-income working couples, it would raise the limit on the amount they could earn and still be entitled to the earned income tax credit.

Lord knows, the house bill is an improvement, but it doesn't end the marriage penalty. To do that, we need a law that, you know, ends the marriage penaltt by allowing couples to choose their filing status. They could continue to file jointly, or each spouse could file a single, depending on which way they would pay less in taxes.

Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont. Next time, drawing the line.