A reader vents during tax season:
I’ve always wondered how any self-respecting gay man (or woman) could ever support the Republican Party. But a series of recent events in my personal life momentarily made me think about it. My partner and I have a beautiful baby girl. We begged, borrow and stole (well, not the last thing) to have her via surrogacy, and she is the great joy of our life. We love being dads, and would love to have another child – a little brother and sister for our baby girl.
So, we started the process, which is about 18 months to two years until birth. The financial considerations were a huge part of it. It costs about $160,000 for a surrogacy in California, and one has to pull out all the stops to even have a chance of making it happen.
And unfortunately, our chances appear to have been kaboshed. Two weeks ago I got a call from my accountant. As a self-employed composer and writer, I always pay my estimate tax payments, and I did so last year. But I earned a lot as many of my projects came to fruition, and I unexpectedly have a very big tax bill. Unfortunately paying that bill will completely deplete all of our savings, which were meant for our second surrogacy. I’ve never minded paying tax before, but this time it hit hard. I worked extremely hard to make all that money.
At the same time I had a long chat with my partner’s niece at a family gathering. She is 22 years old, and has three children. The first was born when she was sixteen. She subsequently dropped out of high school. The State of California and the federal government gave her all sorts of benefits because she was a poor single mother, and so she decided to have some more babies.
The father of the second and third is the same, and they have built a nice little family together (he has another daughter too, by another woman). They both work full time jobs but earn very little because neither has a high school diploma. But there’s no ways they’d support their family without those government benefits. That’s what I thought …
I was astonished to learn she recently paid for a boob job, and a new iPad for her son’s birthday, and just bought her mom a TV set. She refers to her partner on Facebook as her husband, but they’re not legally married. I asked why, and she told me many of their single mother benefits would evaporate if they did.
She’s a sweet person and frankly, I don’t think she knows better. In her mind, she’s working hard to support her family. I don’t blame her given her lack of education. I blame the government for setting up benefits in such a way that they create these odd dependencies and actually inspire poor people who can’t afford it to have more children out of wedlock and NOT get married. Most of all, I’m angry because my huge tax bill is going to pay for this type of stuff, when actually I really need the money so I can have another baby in my lovely gay family.
Of course, most of the Republican Party base hates the fact I want to legally marry my partner and have more children with a surrogate. And so yes, right now I’d never ever vote for them. But if they dumped their anti-gay base, and came out with a lower taxes and responsible spending (not necessarily spending cuts) philosophy, I might well find it very tempting.