The present tax system was designed in the 1930s and 1940s, a time when the typical American household was a single-income family featuring a male breadwinner and a female homemaker. The system has since grown greatly in size but has not been reexamined with gender bias in mind. Writing for an audience with no prior knowledge of tax, Edward J. McCaffery demonstrates how today's tax system penalizes two-earner families, pressuring some families to break up and many mothers to stay home.
McCaffery illustrates how working wives are hard hit by tax law inequities. As secondary earners under a joint-filing system, wives enter the workforce at a high tax rate dictated by their husband's salary. Using real life examples that take taxes and other expenses into account, McCaffery shows how many wives actually lose money by working; why social security is a pure tax, with no benefits, on most working wives; and why part-time work is often not a viable option for married mothers.
How are we to rectify these entrenched gender-based problems in the tax code, which affect all aspects of our social life? McCaffery proposes simple but strong changes in the tax system to alleviate the stresses facing women today. In fact, standard economic theory has long recommended taxing married women less than men--exactly the opposite of what the United States now does.
Taxing Women comprises both an insightful, critical analysis of the gender biases in current tax laws and a stirring call for all those concerned with gender justice to pay more attention to the pervasive impact of such laws.