The Corner

Politics & Policy

Paid Leave, Now with More Flexibility

Senators Marco Rubio and Mitt Romney, and Representatives Ann Wagner and Dan Crenshaw, have unveiled a new plan to help more families with newborns. The basic idea, which I’ve defended from common conservative and liberal criticisms, is to allow parents to take some of their Social Security benefits when they have children. The new plan would let them choose whether to take slightly smaller retirement checks for their first five years of retirement or begin receiving those checks a few months later.

The new proposal refines that basic idea. There would be protections to make sure the plan’s financing would balance: To be eligible parents would have to have paid a few quarters into Social Security, so as to make sure that they would be slated to get retirement benefits and therefore could “borrow” from them. And the plan would not require parents to take time off. A father could, for example, take some of his retirement benefits early while continuing to work. It would be up to the family. To my mind, that’s an argument for the proposal.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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