Over the past year, few in government have done more for American families than Sen. Marco Rubio. While the country has been distracted with the constant drama of the Trump administration, Rubio has been quietly (and thanklessly) doing his job. Early this month, Rubio introduced his Economic Security for New Parents Act, and, if passed, would be a major aid for families struggling with the financial burden of having a child.
My wife and I are getting ready for the birth of our second child and while planning my wife’s time off work we were immediately struck with the financial strain this was going to place on our household. Sadly, we are not the only family in America who faces this all too common financial dilemma. In the United States, 62% of families are in a financial situation that requires both parents to work, and only 13% of workers have access to paid leave through their employer. Even worse, due to strained finances, 25% of new mothers return to work within two weeks of delivery. The good news is that Paid Family Leave enjoys broad bipartisan support (80% of Democrats and 70% of Republicans support the idea), the bad news is neither party can agree on how we’re going to pay for it.
When it comes to the question of how we should pay for Paid Family Leave, the Democrats are going back to their same old solution… tax more. While the “tax more” solution is equal parts unsurprising and uninspired, it is also a terrible idea. Democrats have proposed a “low cost” payroll tax to help fund the leave of new parents. The Democrats also believe that if all American workers (even the ones who don’t need the program) pay an extra amount in taxes, this would help cover the cost of those who require the use of Paid Family Leave. The problem with taxes as a solution is it only works if a small minority of the population actually uses the program. Right now, over 80% of women have a child by the time they are in their 40’s. With such a potentially high percentage of the population using Paid Family Leave, there are simply not enough ineligible workers to tax that would help reasonably subsidize the program. All of this is also failing to account for the monthly loss of income lower-wage workers would suffer.
Sen. Rubio, on the other hand, has put forward a solution that would be no cost to the United States government or its taxpayers. Rubio’s plan allows new parents the option to collect Social Security for at least two months after the birth of their child. The tradeoff is the parent would then have to delay their retirement several months to cover the cost. For families like mine, this is a no brainer. I would easily delay my own retirement to spend time with my newborn child. Two months is more valuable to me now than four or six months will be 30-40 years from now. Right now, my wife and I must pull money from our investments to cover the cost of her staying home after the birth of our child. I would rather keep my money invested and work toward a comfortable retirement rather than break open the piggybank every time we want to add to our family.
Rubio continues to cement his position as a leader that is working on behalf of the American family. With polices like Paid Family Leave and the expansion of the child tax credit, it is no surprise why Rubio has become so popular with young conservative families.