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Robin Smith / October 11, 2021

Big Government Socialist Welfare for Families

The Democrats’ pitch for guaranteed paid family leave is a major entitlement.

If you put a problem in the hands of anyone on the Left, they’ll work toward a solution that grows government involvement and spending, dictated by a very few people removed from the actual situation. This is the case with President Joe Biden’s family leave program. He claims it’s to help “working people,” yet so much of the “social infrastructure” in his multitrillion-dollar welfare plan is simply redistribution of wealth with no benefit to the people it claims to help.

What does “paid family leave” look like as defined by Big Government socialists? The law will require all businesses to offer all workers at least 12 weeks off for family and/or medical leave with guaranteed pay and benefits averaging about two-thirds the base pay of the employee. When the law says “all workers,” it means that even workers with the means of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her $24,000 freezer, or self-identified socialist Bernie Sanders with his capitalism-blessed $3 million net worth and multiple homes, will be eligible for this 12-week benefit.

A Wall Street Journal analysis supports taxpayers subsidizing time off even for well-paid professionals — accountants, investment brokers, doctors, lobbyists, bankers, you name it. Many of these people can afford childcare and even unpaid time off; on the other hand, the people who cannot afford these things live paycheck to paycheck and likely will not be able to afford even the small reduction in wage called for by the program. According to WSJ, there is not even a minimum work requirement to access the benefit. All really means all, even if they haven’t worked at all to earn it.

To see if this really serves the lowest income in the “working people” demographic, look no further than the Golden State. The Daily Signal reports that in socialist California, “the lowest-income mothers are only one-fifth as likely to use the state’s paid family leave program as the highest-income mothers.” Specifically, despite 38% of the state’s workforce earning wages below $20,000, only 1% of them use the state’s paid family leave program, yet Cali workers making the most in the highest income brackets are five times more likely to file paid family leave claims.

The Big Government socialists have proposed that the U.S. Treasury will reimburse employers up to 90% of the costs incurred by this program for full-time and part-time workers, as well as those with a “de minimis” work history. This is a deal woke corporations won’t be able to refuse, especially since they can write off that 10%. Smaller companies that have few employees with no reserves for backup, however, will be dealing with another government-created workforce problem.

What’s the price tag of such an expansive program? Biden has called for $225 billion in funding to provide his new paid family and medical leave program. This number seems very small considering that in years past, the Congressional Budget Office scored a $573 billion cost for a similar plan that didn’t include the comprehensive reimbursement to private employers.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there has been a 64% increase in private employers who have stepped up over the last five years to offer a family leave/medical leave benefit for workers. Currently, according to The Daily Signal, private businesses spend in excess of $125 billion for paid leave. FastCompany has even featured coverage of hourly employees at Walmart and Starbucks gaining a family leave benefit. According to Working Mother in 2018, one in three employers paid for maternity leave beyond the minimum required by law, up from one in 11 in 2011. This is smart business because it assists with employee retention.

Yet these private benefits will disappear as companies take advantage of government handouts, and as companies scramble to cover the government-paid leave positions, your flexibility to ask for time off will also fade away.

Some businesses already offer creative leave solutions, such as banking time off for future events. A smart approach would be to offer a universal savings account for workers who can choose to save income for any leave purpose — a newborn child, an adoption, or an ill parent or other dependent.

Big Government socialists love giving away your money to capture the vote of the poorest and smallest, who unfortunately will gain the least from these freedom-squelching programs. We must remember that a constitutional republic is not a vending machine of sugary social programs and salty vacation time. The freedom to make individual decisions is what truly helps the American people.

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