Why Should Single People Subsidize Families?

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I am not whining here; I just want to shed some light on this issue. We all may experience things differently with different corporations, but see if this doesn't ring true. I will begin with my experience at a utility company in Redding, CA.

First of all, I do not like regressive fees and taxes in general. Well, I got my first bill from the utility and noticed two regressive fees that I want to address. The monthly garbage fee was not only flat (the same for every household) but rather outrageous. How is it fair for a single person with one income to pay the same fee that a family of say eight with two or more incomes? The monthly electric usage fee was also flat. So again, the same scenario.....how is it fair?....unless you are a conservative ideologue.

Single people already pay more (as a percentage) for many things anyway. Most of life's basics .....food is higher per unit volume for smaller amounts; real estate is more per square foot for smaller volumes; memberships for many clubs have a "family membership" deal that is only a small percentage (not double for two or triple for three) above the single person's rate; insurance premiums, car registration....etc.

I just would like more people to be more aware and sensitive to the built-in inequities of a blind, flat fee that subsidizes those that consume more. Those who consume more....should pay more. There are places in the world where they do have comsumption-based fees and taxes....which would at least show some thought to the concept of.....Let's do unto others as justly as is humanly possible....Or am I just a dreamer?

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jcgood1984
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Aug. 3, 2011 10:17 am

Comments

You forgot to mention the biggest 'subsidy' by singles for families is income taxes.

Married folk like myself benefit more than if we were single and any children that we have also would add to that sunsidy as well.

I have never believed in the fairness of this but I believe it has links to concept of the "nuclear family" and can be seen as conservative "social engineering".

Dominic C
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Jun. 27, 2011 10:39 am

1) It costs the same for a garbage truck to come to your house than it does to a family home.

2) What kind of electric company are you going through that charges you a flat fee and not per KW/hr?

Just because you are single does not mean you have to live alone. That is a choice you make.

ah2
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Dec. 13, 2010 10:00 pm

"1) It costs the same for a garbage truck to come to your house than it does to a family home."

reply: I consume less...less space in the landfill....less weight....better gas mileage.........not quite the same.

"2) What kind of electric company are you going through that charges you a flat fee and not per KW/hr?"

reply: The company charges a base monthly fee as well as per KW/hr ....like many utilities do.

"Just because you are single does not mean you have to live alone. That is a choice you make.

reply: My choice to live alone does not nullify the right of fair treatment that I expect from a utility monopoly.

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jcgood1984
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Aug. 3, 2011 10:17 am

Interesting notion. I haven't thought about it that way... I guess the reason married couples get tax benefits is to make it easier to pay for the needs of children. I wouldn't call it "social engineering," but if a person actually had religious beliefs that marriage was "bad," then I guess that it would discriminatory.

However, I find nothing wrong with private businesses, private clubs, etc. giving discounts for having children, as long as they private sector, not public sector.

micahjr34
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Feb. 7, 2011 4:57 pm
Quote jcgood1984:

"1) It costs the same for a garbage truck to come to your house than it does to a family home."

reply: I consume less...less space in the landfill....less weight....better gas mileage.........not quite the same.

Difference in weight is negligible for a truck that already weighs two tons. Space is an interesting notion. Some of that is probably covered in property taxes. Given that families typically live in larger residences, they probably pay more of that than you do. While you pay more per square feet (which is a market force not a governmental subsidy by the way), since property tax is a percentage the increase is exponential not linear. This is probably what pays for the landfill. The garbage fee is for the retrieval of the trash which is sometimes even done by a private company that has no relation to the landfill at all.

"2) What kind of electric company are you going through that charges you a flat fee and not per KW/hr?"

reply: The company charges a base monthly fee as well as per KW/hr ....like many utilities do.

Okay but what does the fee cover? If it is to cover the cost of having someone come out and read your meter every month, then this cost is the same for a single as for a family. So the fee is flat.

"Just because you are single does not mean you have to live alone. That is a choice you make.

reply: My choice to live alone does not nullify the right of fair treatment that I expect from a utility monopoly.

You are being treated fairly. If a family moved into a residence the same size as you, they would pay the same $ per square foot. If a family chose to have separate residences and live alone, then they would have the same cost. If you chose to share a residence with other people, you would benefit from the shared costs of utilities and other services. It is as simple as that. A lot of what you are talking about is contingent on either market costs or the nature of what the fee is covering. The fees aren't about subsidizing families, it is that the cost differential to do business with a single person as opposed to a family living together in a home is the same (or close enough) for the particular service they are providing.

The only subsidy that families receive are child credits on their taxes and tax exempt child care accounts like a FLEX plan. And the latter has a cap that is no where even close to covering even half a year of child care. Trust me bro, if you ever get married and try to have a child, you will start to realize how the over all system is set up and it is not family friendly. You can't point to a couple of utility fees and assume that the entire social order follows suit.

ah2
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Dec. 13, 2010 10:00 pm

Why do charitable organizations and contributions receive tax breaks? Because they are public goods.

Why do new investments in plant and equipment receive tax breaks? Because they are public goods.

Why do investments in renewable energy and research and development on cancer treatments and foster families and private retirement plans receive tax breaks? Because they are public goods.

Most tax breaks result from interest group lobbying, but at least some reflect society's choices about certain behaviors they wish to encourage. Marriage and family rearing are arguably public goods. Mariied people live longer, healthier lives than single persons (no offense). Children in stable homes produce new taxpayers.

Families with children have greater expenses than single person households. If you would like some of the benefits of family households while remaining single, do society a favor and adopt a child.

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Ixtelan
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Should single people even be allowed to vote? Given that they are only interested in the here and now, and extracting from society whatever they can at the moment.

What exactly is their interest in helping propel society through time?

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Calperson
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Dec. 11, 2010 10:21 am

We will have to agree to disagree. A single renter by it's very definition assumes the lack of income to buy a home. How many rich people rent?

Obviously, your world view is more conservative and market-based than mine. You mention "choices" and market ...and cannot see why ....the greater the percentage of what you consume is what you should fairly proportionately pay. The business is not losing out. It will collect the same amount of money....but in fairer proportions.....based on consumption.

This is a progressive world view. Your view is regressive, but it is the predominant reality here, unfortunately.

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jcgood1984
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Aug. 3, 2011 10:17 am

The question is not if you are single, it's how much space and weight your trash takes up.

I make way more trash than some frugal hippie type people couples I know.

You are wondering why people who have less trash than others still pay the same.

I think the answer is that it is too difficult to charge more the more trash you make.

However, most places do charge for extra trash containers.

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Dr. Econ
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Calperson:

Should single people even be allowed to vote? Given that they are only interested in the here and now, and extracting from society whatever they can at the moment.

What exactly is their interest in helping propel society through time?

Meaningless hyperbole.

ah2
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Dec. 13, 2010 10:00 pm
Quote jcgood1984:A single renter by it's very definition assumes the lack of income to buy a home. How many rich people rent?

Have you ever been to New York City?

"Faye Dunaway fires back at 'slum landlord' for eviction suit"

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Ixtelan
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

"Families with children have greater expenses than single person households. If you would like some of the benefits of family households while remaining single, do society a favor and adopt a child."

reply: Yes they have greater expenses which they should pay for themselves. Not subsidized by mostly poorer people. Again, I don't need to change my single status. I need a progressive country that if it does have a monopoly like utility companies ....it charges people fairly (proportionately).

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jcgood1984
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Aug. 3, 2011 10:17 am
Quote jcgood1984:Yes they have greater expenses which they should pay for themselves. Not subsidized by mostly poorer people. Again, I don't need to change my single status. I need a progressive country that if it does have a monopoly like utility companies ....it charges people fairly (proportionately).

Fair points.

Of course, poor people have children, too.

As any real estate agent will explain to you, homes in family neighborhoods with good schools and safe streets enjoy greater market demand than homes in transient neighborhoods with bad schools and unsafe streets. The greater demand increases property values irrespective of whether a particular home owner is single or married. Why should the families in the neighborhood, who have greater expenses, subsidize the home values of single persons in the neighborhood? That seems unfair to me.

I think persons with complaints like yours ought to vote with their feet.

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Ixtelan
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote jcgood1984:

We will have to agree to disagree. A single renter by it's very definition assumes the lack of income to buy a home. How many rich people rent?

Obviously, your world view is more conservative and market-based than mine. You mention "choices" and market ...and cannot see why ....the greater the percentage of what you consume is what you should fairly proportionately pay. The business is not losing out. It will collect the same amount of money....but in fairer proportions.....based on consumption.

This is a progressive world view. Your view is regressive, but it is the predominant reality here, unfortunately.

JC, if you follow any of my writing on this forum you would already know that I am a socialist. But, contrary to popular belief, being a socialist does not allow me to completely ignore the cost of bringing certain goods and services to consumers. You ignored the fundamental point I was trying to make regarding the fee structure - that it is possible that what you are paying for there represents the part of the service you are consuming that is equal despite the other obvious differences.

A family consumes more electricity than a single person in most cases. You do pay by the KW/hr as a portion of your fee. That reflects the difference in consumption. The flat fee is the SERVICE CHARGE - it represents the cost of the electrical company to come out and read and maintain your meters and other infrastructure that provides you with electricity at your residence. That cost DOES NOT CHANGE (there is no difference in consumption) between a family home or a private rental. PERIOD. Thus, the fee is flat.

As I said in the previous post, the weight of garbage does not significantly alter the mileage of a large garbage truck. The effect of weight on mileage is more important for small cars with tiny engines. A huge friggin diesal truck that is meant to haul a lot of weight is specifically designed and engineered to mitigate this kind of effect. The primary expense in gas for waste removal is driving to your home and then to the dump not the amount of garbage you put in the truck. If anything, your argument would be stronger if you said that people who lived closer to the waste facilities should be paying less. Why should people who live close to the dump subsidize the lifestyle of those who choose to live far away?

No. You could come up with thousands of factors like this but at the end of the day trying to administrate such a complicated fee structure would cost you more money than just paying a flat rate. In other words, if you demand to not pay a flat rate, your fee is going to go up so you can pay for the employees it would take to figure out how much you should owe. The cost-benefit there is not worth it.

The housing thing is sort of a red herring. I mentioned market forces there because this has nothing to do with the government subsidizing anything. It has nothing to do with me being "conservative." That is how that good is currently distributed and how the cost is determined. You entire argument basically rests on ignoring a simple economic reality - whether it be a market distributed or governmentally provided good - economy of scale.

You aren't charged more per square foot because of unfairness. The cost per square foot to build a single occupant residence is literally higher. Think about how this works in construction - two houses are built right next to each other (so for sake of argument all other things are equal). You build a small tiny two bed room on one lot and a large four bed room on another. Without going into every single detail, just consider the cost of pouring a foundation for each of these homes. Sure, you spend more on concrete for the larger home but it costs virtually the same for a contractor to get his trucks and workers out to each site. It might take a little more time to do the larger home but the prep work for both jobs is the same, etc. In the end, the smaller home will have literally cost more per square foot to build than the larger home. You can extend this to all parts of the constuction process.

There are rich single people, there are poor families. Bringing income into this equation is a completely different set of issues. Your initial claim was about singles vs families. Let's stay focused on one conversation.

ah2
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Dec. 13, 2010 10:00 pm

I do not think that perfect fairness is achievable. Of course, it should be obvious that there are exceptions to the rule ....a family of 8 could be poorer than a rich single person ...That's why there is no perfect fairness.....only more fairness. You claim to be a socialist, but you want to disregard consumption and income into the fairness equation....hmmm?

It's really simple. Average Family....... 4.2 people .....2 incomes making more money....consuming more stuff....your base fee is more

Average Single .....1 person .....1 income....averages less income.....averages less consumption....base rate is less

Flat rates are profit driven...... Socialism and regression are oil and water....they do not mix!

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jcgood1984
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Aug. 3, 2011 10:17 am
Quote jcgood1984:

I do not think that perfect fairness is achievable. Of course, it should be obvious that there are exceptions to the rule ....a family of 8 could be poorer than a rich single person ...That's why there is no perfect fairness.....only more fairness. You claim to be a socialist, but you want to disregard consumption and income into the fairness equation....hmmm?

It's really simple. Average Family....... 4.2 people .....2 incomes making more money....consuming more stuff....your base fee is more

Average Single .....1 person .....1 income....averages less income.....averages less consumption....base rate is less

Flat rates are profit driven...... Socialism and regression are oil and water....they do not mix!

wow. It's like you didnt even read my post. odd....

ah2
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Dec. 13, 2010 10:00 pm

"Your entire argument basically rests on ignoring a simple economic reality - whether it be a market distributed or governmentally provided good - economy of scale."

reply: Exactly!.....just because "economy of scale" is a clinical, scientific way of explaining costs...ON THE BUSINESS END...

I still believe that diverse REALITIES of ..... the household economic end...need to be included and merged in pricing fairness.

I am not ignoring the reality...I disagree with it being the ONLY reality...I am an idealist and a business owner with experience it setting prices.

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jcgood1984
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Aug. 3, 2011 10:17 am
Quote jcgood1984:

"Your entire argument basically rests on ignoring a simple economic reality - whether it be a market distributed or governmentally provided good - economy of scale."

reply: Exactly!.....just because "economy of scale" is a clinical, scientific way of explaining costs...ON THE BUSINESS END...

I still believe that diverse REALITIES of ..... the household economic end...need to be included and merged in pricing fairness.

I am not ignoring the reality...I disagree with it being the ONLY reality...I am an idealist and a business owner with experience it setting prices.

omg..... its like you don't even know what the term means. Economy of scale: Producing more of something lowers its unit cost. That changes the PRICE YOU PAY AS A CONSUMER. You are charged more per square foot for where you live because it literally costs more per square foot.

ah2
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Dec. 13, 2010 10:00 pm

Yes, ....read carefully....I say ... How many rich people rent?...NOT.... there are no rich renters...Thanks though....peace

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jcgood1984
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Aug. 3, 2011 10:17 am

I understand "economy of scale".....My post states that it should only be a FAIR proportion of the total price to each consumer....not UNIFORM. It doesn't work for me.

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jcgood1984
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Aug. 3, 2011 10:17 am

It's not just single people who subsidize families. Small families also subsidize large families when it comes to things that are billed by a "family" rate. For example, there are many health insurance plans where, whether you have one child or ten children, you pay the same "family" premium.

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JimInMinn
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Aug. 5, 2011 10:41 am

"I think the answer is that it is too difficult to charge more the more trash you make."

reply: It's not too difficult....it'd done all the time. If you went to a concert or sports game you should'nt expect to pay the same for infield seats than you would for outfield/nosebleed seats?

It's called the corporate conformity of convenience forced on the individual....because they are a monopoly and they can...simple

Basically, the difference between a monopoly and a government is that monopolies use the word "fees" and government ...."taxes".

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jcgood1984
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Aug. 3, 2011 10:17 am

jcgood, you do realize that it costs a power company the same amount of money to power a light bulb to light a room for one person as it does to power a light bulb for a room of fifty, don't you? They probably aren't going to cut their profit margin for you just because you are single.

Single people probably helped to pay for your education with their taxes. It would probably be fair treatment for you to get a tax rebate for your own contributions to educate other's children.... if you give your own education back.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease" .

.

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

We will have to agree to disagree. I am not talking about paying a different KW/hr rate....I mention the monthly flat fee of say $10, that everyone pays....is regressive and unfair for singles, especially when they rent.

A single renter by it's very definition assumes the lack of income to buy a home. How many rich people rent? You are not thinking outside the box. Pricing by monopolies should also take into consideration the economic realities of the real world.

Obviously, your world view is more conservative and business-biased than mine. You mention "profit margin" as if it's the only side of pricing...and cannot see why ....the greater the percentage of what you consume is what you should fairly proportionately pay, which equates into a single renter paying less than a family home owner.

The utility monopoly is not losing out. It will collect the same amount of money with my progressive proposal....but in fairer proportions.....based on consumption, square footage, and average income.

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jcgood1984
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Aug. 3, 2011 10:17 am

I once heard a guy on tv (whose name I will not mention, since he is not here to defend himself), who said that the only fairness is "freedom" (libertarian freedom) because in order to be "fair" people who have a lot should give everything they have away to compensate for those with less who didn't get a "fair" reward for their own labors. My response to him was that any person who was unfairly stiffed for pay and compensation by an employer needs to get justice from that specific person. The concepts of "fairness" and "justice" break down when you hold one party responsible for the actions of another party (vicarious justice). Just thought I would mention it, just in case someone brings it up on you.

micahjr34
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Feb. 7, 2011 4:57 pm

I truly believe that loving money and being greedy is at the root of every evil and injustice. True freedom is actually being bound by the law of doing unto others as you would like being done unto you. If you are greedy, you will also assume that your neighbor is greedy, and so on ....and so on ...the cancer spreads...

But, If you are kind, loving and generous toward others and you expect to see good in your neighbor as well...this breaks down the walls of fear and prejudice......and then you are truly...free...

Thanks for your comment. Peace.

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jcgood1984
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Aug. 3, 2011 10:17 am

Why should my son shoulder a rifle and keep the Huns from burning your house?

chilidog
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Around here you can get smaller garbage and recycle containers and the collection fee is less.

Where I do get miffed is grocery stores with their "buy two get a third one" deals. Obviously the idea is to get you to spend more at the store. That deal may work fine for a family if it is something they can actually use more of but it is often worthless for a single person.

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captbebops
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

lol. did you seriously just cut and paste your reply to one of my posts and use it to reply to poly who said something completely different. I thought so before but now I KNOW: You are a plant.

Quote jcgood1984:

We will have to agree to disagree. I am not talking about paying a different KW/hr rate....I mention the monthly flat fee of say $10, that everyone pays....is regressive and unfair for singles, especially when they rent.

First it is a flat fee not regressive and second I ahve already explained that to you. My explanation was not some made up theory, that is actually what the damn fee is for. It is the SERVICE FEE. IE the fee that covers them coming out to service your meter. It costs the same amount of money to service a meter in an efficiency apartment than it does a family home with 20 kids. Thus, the fee is flat. You aren't subsidizing shit with that fee. You are paying your share.

A single renter by it's very definition assumes the lack of income to buy a home. How many rich people rent? You are not thinking outside the box. Pricing by monopolies should also take into consideration the economic realities of the real world.

And this was what I was talking about above that you completely missed. A single person can be rich. Some rich people do rent apartments. Some families rent single apartments. For example, you can have a family in New York that has a house outside of town but still rents an apartment in the city for during the week if one of the parents works there. You're fundamental problem is that you believe that everyone either has or should be required to live exactly the same life style that you do. If you want domestic cubicals, maybe you should have lived in the USSR or join the military.

Obviously, your world view is more conservative and business-biased than mine. You mention "profit margin" as if it's the only side of pricing...and cannot see why ....the greater the percentage of what you consume is what you should fairly proportionately pay, which equates into a single renter paying less than a family home owner.

wow just wow... I had even addressed this mistatement of my views above and now you dump this crap on poly who didn't even mention this.

The utility monopoly is not losing out. It will collect the same amount of money with my progressive proposal....but in fairer proportions.....based on consumption, square footage, and average income.

Your service charge is flat BECAUSE you are paying your fair share. Period. Get your head out of your ass. You are clearly really young and don't really know how the world works yet. Live a couple of years on your own and get back to us.

For the rest of you, I suspected this before but now I am 99% certain. This guys is a Libertaracrapia plant. He is coming in here and overstating what he perceives to be progressive talking points in completely unrelated content areas so that we might argue against our own views. He is trying to get us to argue against a progressive tax even though what he suggest really isn't any where similar to a progressive income tax.

Don't fall into this moron's trap.

ah2
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Dec. 13, 2010 10:00 pm

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