GOP’s stingy proposal is shortsighted
The headline on Jennifer C. Braceras’s May 13 op-ed reads “Paid leave that won’t burden taxpayers or business” — right, it burdens only the new mothers and fathers who need paid family leave.
The outrageous paid-leave proposal of Republican Senators Marco Rubio, Joni Ernst, and Mike Lee would have mothers and fathers pay for their own “paid parental leave”— by taxing their future Social Security income for their current family newborn needs. No burden to nonpregnant taxpayers or businesses here. Charge that mother for her own pregnancy, future poverty be damned.
After all, why should our country, and its taxpayers and businesses, pay for someone else’s pregnancy and birth, even though virtually every country in the world has paid family and medical leave?
We are all in this together. That child will eventually contribute, in his or her way, to everyone’s Social Security benefits, our national defense, and our country’s economic prosperity. We all benefit if a new child and his or her parents are healthy and have time to bond.
This proposal is another variant of right-wing Republican attacks on women and their reproductive choices. It’s a way for businesses and the government to avoid responsibility for ensuring the well-being of our newest citizens and their families. But it’s shortsighted. Healthy mothers and fathers are good for businesses, and healthy, attached babies have fewer costly medical problems.
Thankfully, Massachusetts has passed a progressive paid family and medical leave program, contributed to by both employees and businesses, with benefits to start in January 2021.
The writer, a professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and researcher at MassGeneral Hospital for Children, has convened a coalition in Massachusetts advocating for paid family and medical leave.
Healthy new families are in everyone’s interest
I was disappointed in Jennifer C. Braceras’s extolling of Republican bills that would let new parents dip into their Social Security funds to pay for family leave. Once again, the Republicans say, “You want kids? You’re on your own. We’re not going to help.”
We all have a stake in the next generation. We all have a stake in families. We all have a stake in one another.
As the only industrialized nation not to have nationally mandated paid parental leave, the United States seems never to recognize that we should be in this together, a community. And yes, that sometimes means paying for services for other people that we ourselves may not need.