Wednesday, 25 Apr 2018

Trump’s paid maternity leave proposal is a short-sighted illusion

Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka will be in Aston, PA this evening, Save Jerseyans, to unveil a new proposal aimed at helping women and families, part of which includes providing six weeks of paid maternity leave.

What we know about the proposal so far is that the new benefit would not compel employers to pay for maternity leave which has long been the gripe of Republicans opposing Democrat-proposed federally mandated maternity leave pay. Instead, the benefit would be offered through the federal unemployment insurance system to women whose employers do not offer paid leave.

Here is how Breitbart reports it (an appendage of the Trump campaign):

The Trump plan would also offer six weeks of government-guaranteed paid maternity leave to all working women when their companies don’t offer paid maternity leave. The money would come through amending the existing unemployment insurance (UI) that companies are required to carry, and would be paid for by offsetting reductions in the program so taxes don’t get raised.”

Trump’s campaign insists that the new benefit would be “deficit-neutral” and would be offset by eliminating fraud in unemployment insurance.

Wait… if it were just as simple as waiving a magic wand to eliminate abuses, why wouldn’t we just do that first, then see how much is actually there before we spend this money?

I digress.

That claim alone calls into question the stability of the proposal because, let’s face it, short of a major overhaul, such a huge reduction in fraud isn’t gonna happen. But I realize some of you may think this sounds like a reasonable bipartisan approach to tackling an issue that has put Republicans and Democrats at odds for a long time.

Not so fast.

pregnancy calendarDemocrats have argued for years that paid maternity leave would increase stability for women and families, which is a net positive for the U.S. as a whole, never taking into serious consideration the financial ramifications.

Republicans have historically disagreed with the idea that government should force an employer to offer this benefit and instead let the free market sort it out. The Trump campaign thinks they have found the middle ground which would be to fill the gap where private employers, likely mostly smaller ones, are not offering paid maternity leave benefits.

As a new mother who recently dealt with the stress of maternity leave, I fully understand the importance of having your finances in order so that you can focus on what’s important: taking care of your baby.

That being said, I fundamentally disagree with the idea that government should intervene to subsidize this time off from work.

Experience shows us that when it comes to government, you always get less of what you tax and more of what you subsidize. Doesn’t it stand to reason that if government offers to pay for a benefit that isn’t already offered by a private company that private companies will stop offering these benefits and let government take over?

Answer: Yes.

When that happens, how will a (hypothetical) Trump administration deal with companies that decide to opt out of paying for maternity leave? Likely react with the same solution the Democrats have had for years: force employers to pay for maternity leave, which brings us back to square one.

Once upon a time, conservatives could smell this type of BS a mile away. Welcome to the new reality.

I’m sorry to say that Trump’s paid maternity leave proposal is nothing more than a short sighted illusion that is not conservative and is not a real solution. There’s no spinning this one but I’m sure we’re going to hear many people try.