Cato Institute: Unwed Couples Face More Government Involvement

Tuesday, 26 Mar 2013 05:50 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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Most Americans want the government to butt out of regulating marriage no matter how it is defined — but ironically, the government is more likely to be involved with couples who just live together, according to Jason Kuznicki, a research fellow at The Cato Institute.

“One of the problems is everyone would like the government to be out of their marriage,’’ Kuznicki told John Fund, guest host of Newmax TV’s “The Steve Malzberg Show.’’

“The question then becomes how do we get that thing that we want? How do we get that sphere of autonomy . . .  where we decide as a couple what we’re going to do and how we’re going to raise our children and how we’re going to dispose of our finances.’’

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And those couples who decide not to marry to keep the government out of their hair, actually end up having to deal with it more.

“If you don’t get married, it turns out that the government is certainly much more in your relationship,’’ he said.

“If you don’t get married and you have finances that have become joined in various ways — if you own property together, for example — and then you want to split up, it can be very difficult because you run into things like the gift tax.

“[That’s] where if you want to transfer property between the two of you before splitting up, that counts as a gift for tax purposes and that is something that wouldn’t happen as a marriage.’’

Kuznicki added that unmarried couples with children don’t have necessarily clear child custody rules which marriage provides for.

“One of the reasons why gays and lesbians have wanted to get married because it would actually simplify their lives and get the government out of their lives and that’s a commendable role,’’ he said.

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