Should we worry a lot about low income singles? My general predisposition when discussing and designing tax policy is that we have limited resources with which to address inequality and we should devote the bulk of those resources to families. Perhaps, we can give a little here or a little there to single people but I am not overly concerned.


For one, single people have vastly more options. Working two jobs as a single person is not that big of a deal. Working while going to community college isn’t terribly hard either. More over many “poor” singles are poor because they are choosing to devote a lot of their time towards advancing their education.

Being a single parent, however, changes everything. Now options collapse. It’s not just about depriving yourself of sleep or fun, it’s about caring for a child. This is vastly more difficult situation and it deserves vastly more of our attention.

Two, my general view is that a struggling single person likely has deeper issues. If a person really has trouble making it as a single then they are probably suffering from some mental, emotional or physical disability. These issues need to be addressed directly. Patching them with tax subsidies is probably not a long term solution. Moreover, chances are this person is having trouble holding down a job, so tax subsidies are probably of limited use anyway.

These are my baseline views. What do you think?