Bobo’s World

I don’t write much about David Brooks of Bobo-hood fame, mostly because his schtick about how people from the Midwest are the only true Americans is tiring and need not be commented on week in and week out.

However, as he is Atrios’ Wanker of the Day, I clicked through to see why the immoral, effete left was giving him the vapors this week. It turns out that (*HORROR*) more and more married couples have separate bank accounts for husband and wife.

Some of the reasons for separate accounts are entirely reasonable. People who marry at older ages or who are forming second families may already have complicated financial arrangements that would be hard to pool. Some couples have found after long and bitter experience that they have different spending philosophies; instead of fighting, it’s easier to give each spouse a little personal space.

But some of the people quoted in Shellenbarger’s article seem unaware that there may be a distinction between the individualistic ethos of the market and the communal ethos of the home. A Texas woman celebrated her family’s separate accounts, remarking, “It’s so freeing to be your own person, and not feel like someone is looking over your shoulder.” It’s not clear whether she’s talking about a marriage or a real estate partnership.

I went to the local bookstore and was startled to see how many personal finance gurus insist on separate accounts.

As so often is the case, the hair-splitting and meally-mouthedness of the screed is unbelievable. Sometimes they’re ok, if you consider yourselves real estate partners. The sniveling rejoinder is part and parcel of Brooks’ Midwest Minstrel Show. Of course, no Real American (tm, GOP) in Kansas would have separate accounts. Except for all the ones that do. Continuing on:

I’m not saying that people with separate accounts have marriages that are less healthy than anybody else’s. I’m saying we should pause before this becomes the social norm. Private property is the basis for our market democracy. But private property in the home is an altogether trickier proposition.

For one thing, separate accounts can easily turn into secret accounts. A person’s status and resources inside the home shouldn’t be based on how much he or she is making outside it. A union based on love can easily turn into a merger based on self-interest, where the main criterion for continuing becomes: Am I getting a good return on my investment, psychic or otherwise?

See, he’s not saying that couples with separate accounts have worse marriages, except that it’s going to tear down society if it goes any further. Liberal Ethics force me to point out the hyperbole in that last statement, if only because I wouldn’t want Jonah Goldberg accusing me of dissembling while Rome burns.

Truly, a Wanker of the Day.

10 thoughts on “Bobo’s World

  1. what’s up freak show? you don’t write, you don’t call. are we golfing or are you just going to tap away on your computer all day long you JERK! you are effete. you effete bastard! anyway what- you don’t see my emails? you just think oh it’s just cal i’ll ignore him he sucks. well you khnow what – YOU SUCK. no you don’t you’re right i do not you. anyway i can’t believe the tiny robot guy still types tiny robot into the name field and then says first. you know what tiny robot. you are not first, you are last. also, congtatulations to the madd scientist on his pending marriage.

  2. Wow…not only are me and Jess doomed before we start, but we are destroying our country with out decision to keep separate accounts. Ironically, if we did have a joint account our marriage would last about two pay periods as Jess is an anal financial planner and I’m of the chicken today, tomorrow the feathers brand of money management. In other news, the Brewers play the Cubs on April 8th, the day I fly in. I think we should watch that game. One item of sad news is I am in cali during the Brewers Opening day. Oh well. I did get tickets to the Brewers Yankee series in June, so that should be fun. Whazz in.

  3. Attention world, I have contacted Cal and soothed his angry soul. If he would pick up his damn cell phone once in a while, I wouldn’t have to reduce myself to the barbarity of e-mail to communicate with him. CAL, don’t you have head-mail yet?

  4. HEY! I am a fan of the separate accounts. If you don’t have the same financial style, you’ll just kill each other try to work out money matters, and that’s not cool.

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