Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Feminteresting, Indeed

Adam brought a new movement for gender-based taxation to my attention.

Gender-based taxation: women are taxed less than men.

From a paper by Alberto Alesio et. al, via The Atlantic:

Gender Based Taxation (GBT) satisīŦes Ramsey’s optimal criterion by taxing less the more elastic labor supply of (married) women.
So married women are taxed less than men. A convoluted way to make sure women get equal pay for equal work. A convoluted way to pay housewives for their work. Is there no better way?

Well, The F Word posted a Daily Mail article that reports researchers have found that housewife work is worth 30,000 pounds a year.

I feel like I've seen this before, in countless economic surveys. It doesn't make a difference. I think both ideas would eventually fail. Married people already get a break on their taxes (I think). We need to figure out a better way to get women the money they deserve. And a paycheck for housewives, like Jess McCabe at The F Word says, would invite scrutiny and criticism from the public and the government. Will all housewives have to teach their children abstinence? Do they get extra if they homeschool? Do they get days off? Who is their boss? The kids? The husband? The government. Yikes. Sounds horrible.

Neither of these proposals fixes the inequality ingrained in our economy, the sexism we've come to expect in our work system. They are band-aids that will quickly fall off.

I wish there was a simple answer, but there's not. Both of these proposals scare me, because the implications extend far beyond their original intentions. I understand that these people are trying to make the world fair, but they can't. Not this way, at least.

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