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Institute for American Values Institute for Marriage and Public Policy - page 18 / 44





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in billions

Justice System TANF – Cash Assistance Food Stamps Housing Assistance Medicaid SCHIP Child Welfare WIC LIHEAP Head Start School Lunch and Breakfast Program Additional U.S. IncomeTaxes Paid Additional FICATaxes Paid Additional State & LocalTaxes Paid

$19.3 $5.1 $9.6 $7.3 $27.9 $2.8 $9.2 $1.6 $0.7 $2.7 $3.5 $6.1 $9.4 $6.8

Total U.S.Taxpayer Cost of Family Fragmentation


Table 7.Estimated Costs of Family Fragmentation for U.S.Taxpayers*

  • *

    These costs include federal,state,and local costs.

Table A.5 (page 38) reveals state-by-state estimates for the costs of family fragmen- tation, and appendix B (page 31) describes the methods used to estimate the costs of family fragmentation for state and local taxpayers. These state-by-state estimates are a subset of the $112 billion total taxpayer cost.

We are confident this is a minimum figure because of the uniformly cautious assumptions built into our methodology. For those who would like to dig deeper, appendix A (page 22) provides a detailed response to possible arguments that we have overestimated or underestimated taxpayer costs. For example, here are four potential underestimates:

First, our estimate focuses exclusively on female-headed households; that is, we assume the taxpayer costs of single-father families are zero. This assumption almost certainly leads to an underestimate.

Second, we have excluded from analysis several expensive government programs (because existing data does not allow us to quantify them with confidence), which nonetheless very likely include significant marriage-related taxpayer costs. The tax- payer-funded programs excluded from analysis include the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), public education,42 and Medicare and Medicaid benefits for older adults. The EITC alone is a $40 billion taxpayer-funded program. Estimating the effect of marriage on the EITC involves making complex judgments about who mar- ries whom, and how their income shifts as a result. Since we lack hard data to make

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