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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.”

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.

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“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.

“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’s face-saving coronavirus response shows he cares more about rallies than governing

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You wouldn’t think that disease, particularly a communicable disease like coronavirus, would have to be shoved through the partisan political machine that we are using for most issues these days. It’s not as if one side of the nation’s divide is in favor of more disease.

But the partisan tones are there, and to me, at least, that raises the fundamental issue about whether Team Trump even wants to govern, or just run political rallies.

Consider:

--Donald Trump and some of his key spokesmen, like economic adviser Larry Kudlow, is saying everything is under control, not to worry. Calling an evening public press conference to assure that the American government has a good handle on the spread of disease in this country, Trump said things are in such control that he is asking Vice President Mike Pence to coordinate the government’s response, and that Congress can do whatever it wants. Hmm, Czar Pence or even Dr. Pence; that’ll fix things. Actually, it feels as if the remarks about public health really are focused on Wall Street, which is overreacting through a plunge in stock values, and walk away from a public leadership role.

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Trump bumbles into disaster as his coronavirus response turns out to be nothing but a gust of bluster

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The president spoke to the nation Wednesday about the spread of the coronavirus. It didn’t go well, just as it never goes well when Donald Trump must be presidential. It’s worth quoting Bloomberg Opinion’s Jonathan Bernstein at length. Today, he wrote:

He was at times barely coherent even for someone who knew what he was trying to say. I can’t imagine what it was like for the bulk of the nation, folks who only sometimes pay attention to politics but might have tuned in because they want to be reassured that the government is on top of the problem. He must have been almost completely incomprehensible to them, rambling on about how he had recently discovered that the flu can kill lots of people and referring in a totally oblique way to the budget requests he had made to Congress and their reaction. He occasionally said something that sort of made sense, but mostly? Not. Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel’s reaction was what I thought: “I found most of what he said incoherent.”

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This basic data exposes Trump’s stupidity on the economy

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By multiple measures, workers are faring poorly under Donald Trump compared to his predecessor. Yet Trump keeps telling workers that because of him they are doing better. Let’s examine the facts.

The latest news shows that growth in the last three months of 2019 was at a modest pace of 2.1%. That’s a third of what candidate Trump promised (a ridiculous promise that many believed), it's lower than the 3.2% average growth of the last 73 years and its lower than during the second term of the Obama administration.

The rate of GDP growth has been slower each year that Trump has been in office, as we reported earlier and even earlier and still earlier when we gave Trump a grade of C.

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