Hiltzik: This family leave plan will cost you deeply
Having achieved their long-standing goal of moving away from women’s reproductive health rights, Republicans are now working hard on the grounds that they are about to enter a new era of pro-female and pro-family policy. family.
It is hard to imagine a more transparent claim.
The popular argument that the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in the Dobbs and Jackson Women’s Health Foundation reverses the half-century guarantee of abortion rights embodied in the Roe vs. Wade in 1973, setting the stage for a series of pro-family GOP policies.
This country desperately needs paid leave, not just for babies, but when workers are sick or to care for sick family members. This proposal is not that.
– Kathleen Romig, Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, on Senator Marco Rubio’s New Parents Act
After Dobbs’ ruling was leaked in May, a fellow at the Koch-funded Center for Public Policy and Ethics asserted that allowing states to outlaw abortions “requires a great deal of about public resources to support expectant mothers facing crisis pregnancies and find ways to make all parents’ lives a little easier. ”
Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves, whose state enacted an abortion ban that the Supreme Court upheld in Dobbs, said on CNN after the ruling that “the next phase of the pro-life movement is focused on pro-life movement.” helping mothers who may experience unexpected and unwanted circumstances. pregnancy.”
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However, Reeves admitted that “it’s not something we spent a lot of time focusing on.”
No racing. The red states, at the heart of anti-discrimination legislation, could have implemented pro-family policies whenever they wanted. For the most part, they did the exact opposite.
For a good illustration, just compare the maps showing the states with the strictest abortion laws with those that did not expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, an important initiative. important to help low-income families.
Of the 12 red states that have not yet expanded Medicaid, 10 are listed by the Center for Reproductive Rights as states where abortion is currently illegal or “hostile” to abortion rights. The exceptions are Kansas, where the right to abortion is protected by the state Constitution, and Florida, where abortion is legal if it is performed during the first 15 weeks of pregnancy.
Mississippi, a non-expanding state, has the worst infant mortality rate in the country, twice the US average. Reeves downplayed the state record by saying it had not “spent a lot of time” helping mothers and families. It hasn’t been consumed yet not at all time to the problem.
However, the best illustration of the GOP bakery on the pro-family front comes from Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who announced the Supply for Life Act, which he calls “the mold.” support family” on June 24, the very day that Dobbs was handed down.
At the heart of the proposal is the so-called New Parents Act, which allows some new parents to take up to three months of paid family leave for each new child, but requires them to repay benefits by give up some of their Social Security. benefits when they retire.
This is just a reintroduction of a measure that Rubio and Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah), proposed last year, is itself a variation of a measure Rubio proposed last year. 2018 is itself an alternate version of a plan suggested by Thanks Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Mike Lee (R-Utah).
We have followed these proposals in all their permutations from the beginning. They all have one flaw in common, which is that they are all disasters masquerading as benefits. Rubio’s plan is, at best, also at its worst, cementing his stature as a gabardine-drenched policy vacuum, as we have shown before.
None of the advocates have ever explained why family leave should be tied to Social Security, which is essentially a retirement program, in the first place.
Every rich country has paid family leave programs, except the United States, where those programs are delegated to the states; The only national program that provides unpaid leave only to workers who need time to recover from illness or care for ailing or elderly family members. And about half of the workers don’t qualify even doing it.
Contrary to Rubio’s assertion that his New Families Act will serve as a “pro-family” initiative, it will, in fact, deplete family resources for decades to come. Rubio hides this fact behind lies and misdirected PR.
It’s a habit of Rubio, as he brags about having “caused substantial damage to Obamacare” as if it were a boon to patients rather than a major, costly drawback.
“This country desperately needs paid leave, not just for newborns but as workers,” said Kathleen Romig, a disability policy and social security expert at the Center for Policy and Budget Priorities. sick or taking care of sick family members. . “This proposal is not. It only pits families against themselves. Not only that, it also counts them as privileged to borrow their Social Security benefits at really substantial interest that accrues over decades.”
The New Families Act is also a stalking horse for the ultimate ravages of Social Security as a bulwark against poverty in old age. One proponent of the concept of withdrawing Social Security for family leave has boasted that it could get Americans “accepting” Social Security reforms tantamount to privatizing the program – which which Americans have strongly opposed in the past.
Carrie Lukas, a supporter of the retirement proposal, writes, “could even be designed to improve Social Security’s financial condition by requiring people to forgo valuable retirement benefits. larger than the retirement benefits they use”.
She’s right about that, although it’s clearly a drawback, not an improvement.
Let’s see how Rubio’s plan will work and identify its hidden costs. The plan would allow families up to three months of paid leave for each new child and repay it by deferring their Social Security retirement benefits or cutting benefits until the first five years. retirement first.
The Urban Institute has calculated that workers will have to defer their Social Security benefits for up to two months for each month of family leave.
That can be a particular challenge for workers in physically demanding or low-income jobs, who often don’t have the flexibility to drop out of Social Security retirement too much. much more than the minimum claim age of 62. (Workers claiming to retire earlier than their normal retirement period – 67 for those born in 1960 or older – had to have their monthly benefits reduced. forever.)
The benefits of the Rubio plan will be exactly a big expense. The Urban Institute estimates that moderate-income parents of about $50,000 a year will receive an average of about $5,300 in benefits per three-month leave, but will lose about $15,100 in return. lifetime retirement benefits.
That number represents more than 3% of the projected retirement benefit, meaning parents who took three months of family leave for each of their three children would give up nearly 10% of their retirement income.
The most cynical thing about the Rubio plan is that it treats the most needy Americans the worst.
“The people most likely to need paid leave,” said Vicki Shabo, senior expert on paid leave strategy and policy at think tank New America. low wages without retirement benefits and where their primary retirement security in old age will be through their Social Security payments. For them, working longer may not be an option because of the type of work they already do. “
Shabo added that the plan would harm “low-paid women and workers of color, who are less likely to get paid leave when they have children.”
A few other details of Rubio’s plan make it all the more worthless. Only parents who have worked for two years or more are eligible, which leaves anyone still in school or college or just starting a career in the workforce. They will still be on their own.
An opaque provision on this measure would require the Social Security system to withdraw any unreimbursed leave benefits from a retirement check — assuming the beneficiary died before reaching age. retirement or before full refund.
The proposal doesn’t explicitly say how that recovery would be done, but it does identify unreimbursed amounts as overpayments of Social Security and the Social Security Act claiming collection. recover overpayments from employees’ assets. In other words, a family already in dire straits from the loss of a earner would be further harmed by a bill from the Social Security Administration.
Republicans claim to be heavily looking for women and families. Rubio has the guts to insist that his plan represents a commitment to “implement life-supporting policies that support families, rather than destroy them”. He said his Provide for Life framework “will make a real difference to American parents and children in need.”
He’s right about that, really. It would make a “real difference” by making their lives so much worse.
https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2022-07-11/rubio-family-leave-proposal-roe-vs-wade-abortion Hiltzik: This family leave plan will cost you deeply