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The Ivanka Trump-endorsed family leave plan is a scam to undermine Social Security

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A Trump administration-approved paid family leave plan is actually an attack on Social Security, argues a new study by the Urban Institute—and one that is intent on promoting the falsehood that the U.S. can’t afford to provide paid leave to new parents while also ensuring that retirees are provided for financially.

Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-Fla.) Economic Security For New Parents Act (pdf) would give employees who need time off to take care of their families eight to 12 weeks of so-called “paid leave,” but the workers themselves would actually be forced to pay for those weeks themselves by dipping into their Social Security accounts—threatening their own stability decades down the road, during retirement.

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The Urban Institute offers the first in-depth analysis on the effects of the plan, which was first proposed last winter and which contrasts sharply with Democratic plans to fund paid family leave through payroll taxes that all businesses and employees would pay.

Rubio’s plan, the study found, would cut retirees’ Social Security by three to 10 percent over the course of their later years—not just because they would not be able to collect benefits until eight to 12 weeks after they reach retirement age, but also because anyone who takes advantage of family leave would have to pay the money back, with interest, upon retirement.

“There’s already a concern about retirement security and income. And people are increasingly entering retirement with mortgages and other kinds of debt,” Richard W. Johnson, a co-author of the report, told the Huffington Post. “The idea we would reduce those retirement incomes further is scary.”

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The plan is endorsed by White House senior adviser Ivanka Trump—who entered the administration promising to make paid family leave and other issues affecting American women a top priority—but critics have denounced the plan as part of the mounting evidence that the president’s daughter has no intent on pushing for legislation that helps women and families.

“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,” wrote Elizabeth Bruenig in the Washington Post earlier this year. “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.”

The plan, based on a proposal by the right-wing Independent Women’s Forum, is aimed at re-framing how Americans view Social Security—turning it from an earned benefit that all taxpayers pay into and will receive when they need it for retirement or in case of injury, into a savings account that American families will be penalized for using if they begin to raise a family.

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“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,” wrote Bruenig.


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Trump is openly colluding with Ukraine to smear Biden

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President Donald Trump is defending his phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, one that recent media reports suggest may have been made in order to dig up dirt about one of Trump's likeliest and strongest opponents in the 2020 election, former Vice President Joe Biden.

This article first appeared on Salon.

"The Fake News Media and their partner, the Democrat Party, want to stay as far away as possible from the Joe Biden demand that the Ukrainian Government fire a prosecutor who was investigating his son, or they won’t get a very large amount of U.S. money, so they fabricate a story about me and a perfectly fine and routine conversation I had with the new President of the Ukraine," Trump tweeted on Saturday. "Nothing was said that was in any way wrong, but Biden’s demand, on the other hand, was a complete and total disaster. The Fake News knows this but doesn’t want to report!"

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It’s ‘Clinton Cash’ all over again as the media blow the Trump whistleblower story

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

We would praise the reporters who revealed the content of a whistle-blower’s complaint that the Trump regime has refused to turn over to Congress as the law requires. But it appears that the outlines of the story were already known in DC political circles. Two weeks before the whistleblower story broke, The Washington Post ran an editorial noting that Donald Trump was withholding $250 million in military aid to Ukraine, and that while “some suspect Mr. Trump is once again catering to Mr. Putin, who is dedicated to undermining Ukrainian democracy and independence,… the president has a second and more venal agenda: He is attempting to force [Ukrainian president Volodymyr] Zelensky to intervene in the 2020 U.S. presidential election by launching an investigation of the leading Democratic candidate, Joe Biden." The authors added, "Mr. Trump is not just soliciting Ukraine’s help with his presidential campaign; he is using U.S. military aid the country desperately needs in an attempt to extort it.”

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The new Rambo movie is essentially a MAGA fever dream of bigotry

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"Rambo: Last Blood," the latest in the long-running franchise about a traumatized war veteran (Sylvester Stallone) turned on-demand badass, is less an escapist action movie and more a dramatized manifestation of the most notorious sentences from Donald Trump's presidential campaign announcement speech: "They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people." Even for a series that has always been shaped by a right wing worldview, the only reason for this latest sequel to exist — besides generating profits from die-hard Stallone fans — is to validate MAGA-world bigotries about Mexicans.This article first appeared in Salon.

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