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USA flag in the form of a gay rainbow flag
Here's the argument marriage equality proponents need to be making to Republicans: It's good for the budget. We already know that wedding planners and cake bakers and florists and hotels and photographers and the rest of the matrimony industry will get a good boost by having so many more couples to profit from. The economics go way beyond just that, though. It's not a big deficit cutter (about $450 million a year), but it's a big boon to the budget.
On the revenue side, the CBO estimated that gay marriage in all 50 states would increase tax receipts by about $400 million a year if the George W. Bush tax cuts were extended and by about $700 million a year if they were not. Because those tax cuts ended up being mostly extended, the answer is probably somewhere in the middle, but closer to $400 million. [...]

But there would be savings in means-tested entitlement programs, as fewer gay men and lesbians would qualify. The CBO estimated annual savings in 2014 of $100 million in Supplemental Security Income, $300 million in Medicaid and $50 million in Medicare. That makes for a wash on the expense side: $430 million in added costs and $450 million in reduced costs. [...]

The fiscal benefits aren't a crucial reason to support same-sex marriage, but they do lend support to one of the “conservative” cases for it. Marriage is a structure through which people depend on each other, so they don’t have to depend on the government. For gay men and lesbians to take advantage of that fiscally friendly option, the government has to make it legal for us to marry.

All things being equal—spousal benefits paid out versus money saved—marriage equality would still benefit the federal budget and probably state budgets, too. One analysis projected Maine would gain $8 million a year by saving on Medicaid and other public assistance. Fewer people needing public assistance, more people depending on family instead of the government. What more could a conservative ask for?
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Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 01:18 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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