The White House / Flickr donad and ivanka trump...
The White House / Flickr

The Republican party’s ideas of social engineering are based on a reverse-Robin Hood ethic, take from the poor and give to the rich. The latest brainstorm to stretch the social fabric ever tighter and give nothing while appearing to be giving something, has been dreamt up by none other than the unlikely combination of Marco Rubio and Ivanka Trump. The Trump/Rubio proposal is to provide for paid maternity leave, which sounds socially responsible, by robbing the Social Security coffers and delaying retirements — which is anything but. Politico:

Rubio has barely started crafting a paid leave bill, much less a broader legislative strategy. But he envisions an idea that has recently gained traction in conservative circles: allowing people 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 checks until six weeks after his or her 67th birthday.

“That’s a new idea for Republicans who still identify it as something that comes out  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.”

And what generous leave it is, a whole six weeks!  Contrast this drop in the bucket with what mothers, and fathers as well, get in civilized countries such as Norway. Washington Post:

In Norway, parents are entitled to 46 weeks at full salary, or 56 weeks at 80 percent pay. In France, I had four months of paid maternity leave, plus an additional paid month for breastfeeding. Both Norway and France also offer highly-subsidized early child care.

Had I stayed at my federal government job in Washington, D.C., I would have had zero paid maternity leave. I would have had to apply for “disability” pay – capped at four weeks, and unpaid. What incentive did this provide for me to start my family in my mother country?

A report on the State of the World’s Mothers notes that the U.S. has the “least generous maternity leave policy of any wealthy nation.” American women are resigning in numbers that far outpace men, in part for reasons of motherhood. Where is the best place to be a mother? Not the U.S.

Now bear in mind, this is the party whose Speaker of the House was tweeting gratitude from a secretary about a $1.50 a week raise just yesterday. Wow, she can afford to be a Costco Gold Star member, the thrill. Did it ever occur to Paul Ryan that maybe the woman was being sarcastic? No, no more than it occurred to Marie Antoinette that she was being idiotic and cruel. The Republican party is based upon the theory of the haves and have nots and anything they can do to serve partisan interests while at the same time undermining the social safety net and decreasing the quality of life for anybody other than the one percent is precisely their goal; make no mistake.

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