Having tentatively struck a deal with Senate Republicans on a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, it’s likely that Democrats will soon move on to consideration of a $3.5 trillion bill that includes “ambitious plans to fund child care, health care and education priorities, which the administration argues fit under a broader definition of infrastructure.” Among those “infrastructure” plans is the proposal to create a national entitlement to paid family and medical leave, which would almost certainly be funded by imposing a new payroll tax on all workers.
Conservatives should resist creating a new entitlement to paid family and medical leave, which would perversely harm, rather than help, our country’s most vulnerable families by saddling them with increased taxes for a program that will disproportionately benefit middle- and high-income families. And it would limit the type of working arrangements that employers can offer employees—even though it is becoming clearer each day how much employees value flexible workplace policies.
But, as they engage in the forthcoming debate over the government’s role in supporting paid leave, it is important that conservatives understand they can do more than simply say “no” to the Democrats’ proposal. IWF has been proud to create and support conservative alternatives to a government paid leave entitlement that would support working families without increasing taxes or imposing a mandate on employers. Working with Regent University’s School of Public Policy, I explained one such proposal in this video: