Two Incomes but no Trap?

dvfmama recently took a part time job working the third shift in a group home for the elderly and mentally ill.  She claims it isn’t that hard and she gets to nap on the job, so I’m not too worried. But I’m sure that she is only going to be working temporarily.  A few months ago I found this interview with the author of The Two-Income Trap in Mother Jones:

More and more families today are sending both parents into the workforce — it’s become the norm, it’s what we now expect. The overwhelming majority of us do it because we think it will make our families more secure. But that’s not how things have worked out. By the end of this decade, one in seven families with children will go bankrupt. Having a child is now the single best predictor of bankruptcy, and this holds true even for families with two incomes.

Most poignant for me was this prodding point from the MJ interviewer:

In the past, it seems like a stay-at-home mom could act as an insurance policy for the family if the dad was laid off or whatnot. But today two-income families have nothing to fall back on in the event of a disaster.

I remember when I first tried to prop up her self-esteem a bit when she was feeling low because she wasn’t working.  “You’re our backup plan!” I told her.  Little did I know she would have a chance to use it against me. Tonight, I gave in to my reddit addiction and found this story on the two income trap, with a detailed explanation of the tax problems involved when you have two incomes in addition to the other, more mundane, problems like increased daycare expenses.  Money quote: When you throw two kids in the mix, … you would get to keep $8,000 a year of a $40k wage. (Of note, Teri Newton, the author of the bit, writes that it is her husband who stays at home with the kids.)