I bumped into this piece, ” Polygamists Celebrate Supreme Court’s Marriage Rulings ” and thought, well, of course they do.  Anything goes now.  Who is to judge?  Marriage means what we want it to mean.  What we could discuss, since the morality argument is apparently now irrelevant and argument about children has been deemed insufficient and we are all about equality, are the practical effects of letting anyone marry in any configuration, without discrimination or judgement.

Here is a practical consideration: currently, if a man dies and he has had more than one wife, each of whom was married to him for more than a few years, maybe 7, then said wives can collect survivor benefits from the Social Security Administration on his behalf and fully. So even if divorced for thirty years, the “widow”, former spouse, sorry, spouses, can collect full benefits owed for the rest of her/ his/their lives. If married frequently, then you should choose the dead spouse with the best survivor benefits and collect them.  What a deal.  Isn’t there incentive to marriage in that?

Let’s play this out, ignoring the weight of homosexual marriage on the program.  Let’s look at the polygamist with twenty wives who has worked to the age of 70 and will have maximum benefits accrued to him over a lifetime of work.  He will be able to endow all of his widows with full benefits. Each will get a check for the rest of her life equivalent to what your wife gets, though I am assuming you have been married to one woman all your life in that statement.  Polygamy, polyandry, even homosexual marital groupings, whatever we end up calling that — won’t Social Secuity be like a tontine then?  Men who have bountiful incomes — what am I saying?  In today’s economy women are as likely to be high earners, putting plenty into Social Security.  People with expectations of good Social Security benefits should do the charitable thing and marry frequently.  “With all my earthly good I thee endow, including my Social Security Survivor Benefits.”

What will this do to an already financially tottery national retirement system?  Maybe it can pull subsidies from Obamacare?

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