At a Capitol Hill press conference, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, through its Institute for Public Affairs called upon members of the U.S. Senate to approve a measure designed to abolish the tax code’s unfair treatment of married couples.
Currently, public policy, as embodied by the federal tax code, treats married couples unfavorably as compared to unmarried couples. This is reflected in the simple fact that many married couples filing jointly pays higher taxes than if the same couple with the same earnings paid their taxes separately. This “penalty” hits hard-working, lower to middle income families, with two working parents when the higher-earner of which makes between $20,000 and $75,000 per year. Nathan Diament, director of the Union’s public policy arm, issued the following statement at today’s news conference:
In the earliest chapters of the Bible, God established that “it is not good for man to be alone” and He then created Eve – and thereby the first ‘marriage.’ It is perhaps for this reason – that God Himself joined Adam and Eve together as the first husband and wife, that in the Jewish tradition, the institution of marriage is recognized as so significant and so central to any society that it is referred to as kiddushin, or “holiness.”
The family, with marriage as its centerpiece is not just another social institution – it is the best means we have yet discovered for nurturing future generations. It is where we learn the basics of being humans. That is why next week, Jews around the world will celebrate the holiday of Passover – the festival that marks the birth of our People – not in the synagogue, but in the home, among family. Nothing else – not schools, the media or government – shapes us and what we will become as our childhood experience. Even Adam Smith-the early prophet of capitalism – recognized that alongside the free market, society must sustain institutions whose inner logic was the reverse of market sensibilities – and chief among those the family. It is there, from parents, that we learn altruism and sympathy – traits essential to a civil society.
America’s tradition has similarly recognized the centrality of marriage and should support it with marriage-friendly public policy. American society expresses its public values through its laws, including its tax laws that often encourage or discourage behavior. It is hard to believe that in 2000 we must stand up and say that our laws should be structured in a manner that supports the critical institution of marriage. The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations urges the Senate to pass a measure that ensures no married couple is penalized by our tax code.