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The Transition to Dual-Income Families Has Not Increased the Wealth of the Nation

By: Curtis Ophoven

6/17/2009 - 236 Comments

You would think that the transition from single-income families to dual-income families that started in the 60’s and 70’s, would have led to a major increase in the wealth of families and the entire nation.

I realize that this is a controversial issue and maybe someday I will write a series of articles explaining more of my ideas about the issue, but for now the following video is a good introduction.

Today, many families are working much harder and longer hours than they did decades ago, yet somehow have less discretionary income.

The increase in income did increase the standard of living, but over time most of it when to government expansion.  The more money in the economy the more the government could tax and grow.  As much as family incomes have increased the expansion of government has extract that money even faster. 

Where Does the Money Go in a Dual Income Family?

Here is an article that shows how discretionary income from a single-income family in the early 70’s was $19,500, compared to a dual-income family of the early 2000 of $18,100.

Here are some other important points of the article.

“So why are families today spending so much more? In a word, bigger houses and higher taxes”

“Even I was rather astounded by how really insignificant health insurances increases are compared to tax increases.”

“My conclusion is hopeful, though: economize on your house, and don't buy a second car, and a single-income family has a realistic chance of achieving the financial security and stability that so many dual-income families seek in vain.”

Here is a video of a research study conducted by Elizabeth Warren to understand why the middle class is not getting ahead and where the money of a dual-income family is going. The video is 1 hour long, but very interesting.

This video shows that the transition to dual-incomes has not resulted in greater discretionary income and the middle class is in more trouble today than ever before.

This was before the major collapse of the housing market and the ongoing recession. What the video doesn’t address is the fact that the US government used the increase in family income as leverage to expand and increase the taxes on just about everything.

The less income that your family can live on, the less you will have to fund the expansion of government and social programs that have steadily increased for several decades, which have brought the nation to its current financial collapse.

Because of this, single-income families are more likely to increase the wealth of the nation by limiting the government from further expansion.  Like I said, this is a controversial subject and a lot of people have great faith in the dual-income family model.  But the reality is that it has gotten us nowhere.

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