A Libertarian’s Take on Paid Parental Leave

The United States’ lack of guaranteed paid parental leave seems to come up a lot in political discussions with folks who self-identify as left politically. I was discussing this with someone who voted for Hillary Clinton, but who self-identifies as more moderate, and I thought that person made some good points, so here is their take:

Me: I told my friends that the countries they cite to as having better paid parental leave have significantly increased taxes, and they say they’d be happy to pay increased taxes if that meant the U.S. would have guaranteed paid parental leave. They think it’s ridiculous that even San Francisco’s program doesn’t actually apply to everyone.

Libertarian: Well, tell them to take the difference between the amount of taxes they pay now and the amount of taxes that they would be willing to pay, and put that money aside for any time they would like to take off from work.

Note: I realize that this tactic does not address the issue of whether your boss will hold your job for you to come back to. But it does address a key mindset of libertarians and republicans: the role of the government should not be to redistribute wealth. If you want to make sure that there are funds available for people who could not otherwise afford to take time off, and who live month-to-month such that they would never be able to save money as described above, then the libertarian/republican would advise you to take a portion of the money that you are putting aside and instead donate it to the appropriate charity.

 

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