Sen. Marco Rubio (R, FL) has introduced new legislation for a paid family leave program, the Economic Security for New Parents Act. Rep. Ann Wagner (R, MO) will be doing likewise in the House.
Rather than forcing employers to foot the bill for new parents to take time off from work, Rubio seems to be attempting to stave off the left’s attempts for that by using Social Security to do it. Yes, you know, that same Social Security system that’s teetering on insolvency in the near future. The one that Congress refuses to fix for fear of political consequences.
What is Rubio thinking?
Instead of espousing the sound reasons on why government should not be involved is such issues, Rubio is forwarding a progressive ideology. In fact, in an op-ed introducing their plans, Rubio and Wagner begin their argument with an actual quote from FDR!
Upon signing the Social Security Act into law in 1935, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, “the civilization of the past hundred years, with its startling industrial changes, has tended more and more to make life insecure … we have tried to frame a law which will give some measure of protection to the average citizen and to his family.”USA Today
Over 80 years later, this still rings true.
What is going on? The Republicans have full control of government. Right? Of course, it was Ivanka Trump who actually made this an issue during the Presidential campaign. She is now encouraged by Rubio’s efforts.
Although President Donald Trump talked about paid family leave during the Republican primary, the policy “was not exactly part of the Republican lexicon when we arrived in DC in January 2017,” Ivanka Trump said Thursday at an Axios conversation on workforce development at the Newseum.CNN
The President’s eldest daughter and senior adviser has been helming White House efforts on the policy, which she said “will take time.”
Ivanka Trump spent the past year meeting with Republican lawmakers, and while she feels a shift has been made on Capitol Hill to thinking of paid family leave a bipartisan issue, there is still a long way to go and any eventual deal will require compromise.
Rubio’s plan will allow new parents to take time off (at least two months) and receive a benefit paid through Social Security of over seventy percent of their wages. This would be offset by delaying their future retirement payments by three to six months.
Sounds great, right? Instead of mandating employers to pay for their employees time off like the left is advocating for, this plan will have each person using their own future benefits.
What could possibly go wrong?
The left sees some immediate problems with this plan in that they believe it penalizes parents for having children (by making them choose between that and future retirement benefits) and doesn’t address those taking time off for emergency medical needs.
The National Partnership for Women & Families, however, slammed the proposal as “reckless, irresponsible and ill-conceived” and called it a “Social Security benefit cut.”CNN
“We appreciate that Sen. Rubio and Rep. Wagner are looking for a way to provide the paid leave America’s families urgently need, but a program that only covers parents caring for new children, provides no leave for family care and personal medical needs, and forces parents to choose between paid leave and retirement security is absolutely the wrong way to go,” Debra Ness, the organization’s president, said in a statement Wednesday.
In my view, from a leftist strategy position, the left should jump on this opportunity to push the ball forward. We all know that once the Social Security “lock-box” is once again unlocked for yet another use of the funds, that this benefit will never go away. What’s more, this benefit will soon be considered a basic right.
We all also know that once it’s implemented, it will not be long before the system is adjusted so that the funds are not taken from future retirement benefits. How could they be when paid family leave is a right in and of itself?
Once again, Rubio bungles yet another issue. Will he ever learn?