Elizabeth Bruenig writes:
Consider the paid parental leave plan teased in President Trump’s State of the Union address, which has now gained traction with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Ivanka Trump. The plan, described as “a budget-neutral approach to parental leave” by advocates, would allow parents to draw from their Social Security benefits early to fund their parental leave, then require them to delay the collection of retirement benefits by some yet-to-be-calculated period of time. Participation would be strictly voluntary.
It’s a highly individualized way of dealing with the facts of family life — which by their nature are communal issues: Babies and children need caregivers, mothers and fathers need time and money to give care, elderly grandparents and great-grandparents need companionship and assistance. Babies and children learn and grow, adults work and produce, and the elderly help and rest. There is a place for every stage of the life cycle in the grand order of things, and a just state would ideally defer to that natural rhythm. Instead, conservatives’ plan would penalize the elderly for their decision to have raised families, all in the interest of making parental leave a self-contained option, no burden to anyone but the parents themselves.