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It’s The Marco Rubio/Ivanka Trump ‘Paid Family Leave’ Game! Pay Your Money And … ???

Cares about you.

Marco Rubio and Ivanka Trump are joining forces to craft a paid family leave bill that will finally steal the issue of paid family leave away from Democrats and turn it into something Republicans can love. As Politico reports,https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/04/rubio-ivanka-trump-family-leave-385050 Rubio is very pleased with the idea, which is sure to be a big hit:

“That’s a new idea for Republicans who still identify it as something that comes out of the left,” Rubio said of paid family leave. “Forcing companies to provide it is perhaps an idea that finds its genesis on the left, but the notion that pregnancy should not be a bankruptcy-eliciting event is one that I think all Americans should be supportive of.”

And how will Marco Rubio remake family leave into something Republicans can get behind? Simple: by changing it from a benefit that employers might be “forced to” provide (bad and socialistic!) or a government benefit provided to all Americans (bad, and worser socialistic!) and turning it into a Sophie’s Choice. In Rubio’s plan, family leave wouldn’t actually be a benefit so much as a loan from your future self and your own Social Security benefits, assuming you’ll have any. People would be “allowed” to

draw Social Security benefits when they want to take time off for a new baby or other family-related matters, and then delay their checks when they hit retirement age.

For instance, a person who would begin receiving full benefits when he or she turns 67 years old but wants to take six weeks of paid leave wouldn’t draw Social Security benefits until six weeks after his or her 67th birthday.

No need for new taxes, no troublesome anti-competitive mandates on our Great Job Creators, and the only person who might not like it is you, in 30 or 40 years, when you find your Social Security benefits have been delayed, and also when there is no more Social Security because the whole program has been privatized. But that person isn’t around now to bitch and moan at you, so forget them.

Here’s Think Progress on why this sucks:

“This seems like something [Republicans] are doing to get good headlines. What this really is is a cut to Social Security,” Linda Benesch, spokesperson for Social Security Works told ThinkProgress. “The proposal that Rubio and Ivanka are reportedly considering involves an increase in the retirement age of people who choose to take leave. An increase in the retirement age is always a benefit cut. Either people are getting benefits for a shorter amount of time or if they choose to claim later their bonus for deferring benefits will be smaller.”

What could possibly go wrong with using Social Security as a kind of time-bank that would pay for family leave? Apart from requiring people to put off retirement, it also would endanger funding for parts of Social Security that are already needed by people who aren’t retired:

Of the 45 million Americans who collect payments from the Social Security program, over one-third (almost 17 million) are not retired workers, they’re the 5 million spouses and children of disabled workers, the 7 million spouses and children of deceased workers, and the 5 million disabled workers.

Would Marco-n-Ivanka’s Social Security Tilt-a-Whirl mean cuts to disability or survivor benefits for anyone who takes family leave, too? That hasn’t been worked out yet, but since it’s Republicans, let’s assume it would, since Republican plans always rely on hinky accounting (consider how the individual income tax cuts had to become temporary in order to provide a permanent cut in corporate tax).

And of course, treating Social Security as an individual account you could “borrow” against, says Benesch, weakens the program as a whole, because then it would no longer be seen as what it is now: a “social insurance program to protect against risks that can befall all workers — aging, disability, or death.” Social contract? Sounds too much like socialism!

Now wouldn’t you know it, that’s exactly what the right would like: If Social Security isn’t a guarantee, then why not take the next logical step and privatize it? In the Federalist last week, Carrie Lukas looked forward to that glorious opportunity for the private sector to make more money by gutting the most popular government program out there:

Encouraging people to think about Social Security’s assets as if those benefits are their property for use now or at retirement could even encourage people to want to move more in that direction and transform the current pay-as-you-go system into one that pre-funds future benefits and with assets that belong to individuals.

It’s YOUR MONEY, so why not borrow against your retirement benefits now? Maybe you won’t need it when you’re old! Maybe you won’t even make it to retirement age — why not enjoy it now and pay it back later, like Congress does? And if you get to retirement age and have pre-used your privatized “social security,” well you made a bad choice, as you were free to do. Idiot. Shame on you.

Oh, for what it’s worth, Ms. Lukas is the president of the Independent Women’s Forum, that fun-loving Koch Brothers-funded outfit that hates the oppressive minimum wage and wants your teen to get pregnant instead of having access to the morning-after pill. So you know they have your, and the banks’, best interests at heart, especially if you are a bank.

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[ThinkProgress / Politico]

Source: Politics – Wonkette

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