Rubio’s pro-family, conservative family leave policy promotes stability

Rubio’s pro-family, conservative family leave policy promotes stability
© iStock

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has just introduced a flexible and fiscally responsible plan for new moms and dads, one that would be beneficial for many young families, including families like mine. 

The plan is relatively straightforward — new parents could borrow against their future Social Security benefits by taking up to twelve weeks of payments after the birth of a child. This is a huge improvement over other paid maternity leave programs, which levy higher taxes and costs on employers and workers.

ADVERTISEMENT

Rubio’s plan gives the flexibility to the worker to take advantage of their own Social Security benefits, which they have already paid into. In short, it allows workers to decide when they want to lean on the social safety net they have paid into, instead of making them wait until they are retired to take advantage of Social Security.

 

Further, as an employer of more than 40 employees, all within child-bearing age, this plan would help me as well as help my employees prepare for the births of their own children. 

My organization, a small business, is not able to afford to pay for multiple weeks of maternity and paternity leave. Currently, my team relies on our short-term disability policy, sick and vacation days, and the flexibility to bring children to work for the first six months. However, as a mom of four, I know those first few weeks at home, bonding with your children, are priceless and science proves it. 

In fact, psychoanalyst and parenting expert Erica Komisar, in writing about the vital early years between a mother and child, notes that young children need time with their mothers to provide“protection from stress and emotional regulation, both of which are important to healthy brain development and the child’s future well-being.”

It’s not just the babies who benefit from that time with their mothers; I can speak from experience that there is nothing like the joy of holding your child, knowing that they are safe, and just enjoying one of the most irreplaceable things in the world – time with those you love.

For years, Republicans have proudly championed privatization our Social Security system or at least making changes which would put more control of Social Security into the hands of workers and take it out of the hands of the federal government, which imposes a one-size-fits-all formula. I believe Rubio’s plan, while not perfect, is a great way to achieve the very important goal of ensuring that a family’s income stabilizes while one parent isn’t working while also giving more power to the worker instead of the federal government.

Some critics, both on the right and the left, are attacking this program as an attack on Social Security or on a raiding of the Social Security system. A study by the left-leaning Urban Institute noted that it would likely only increase the costs on the system by 1 percent in the long-run. 

Joanne Butler, writing at the Daily Caller tries to argue, for example, that the program robs older Peter to pay younger Peter. Well no, it allows younger Peter to have more control over how his mandated Social Security taxes are used and when they are used, while acknowledging that older Peter is likely to have accumulated more wealth thanks to compounding interest and a rising income level throughout his 40s and 50s. In fact, by providing a stabilization of incomes, the program will likely help many families stay out of debt.

A program that promotes stable families, gives workers control over their own Social Security taxes, and ensures a stable level of income sure seems conservative and sensible to me. Plus, it’s the right thing to do for families across the nation. Every American deserves the opportunity to bond with their child, no matter their income level.

Kristan Hawkins is president of Students for Life of America, which has more than 1,200 chapters on college and high school campuses in all 50 states. Follow her on Twitter: @KristanHawkins.