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My intrepid Mercatus Center colleague Veronique de Rugy is rightly skeptical of some conservatives’ proposal to use Social Security as a funding source for paid family leave [2].  A slice:

By contrast, moving to paid family leave implies adding to Social Security solvency problems in the short to medium run (i.e the system is only potentially budget neutral in the work lifespan of the SS beneficiary). That means that on day one, the new scheme instantly increases government involvement in paid family leave compared to the status quo by the simple fact of using the SS system. It also immediately requires more borrowing (to pay for all SS benefits plus whatever paid leave benefits are needed) and speeds up the insolvency of the program (which will probably be addressed with higher taxes or further benefit cuts). Also, once in place, the best thing that can happen is that the system stays in its original form and “merely” redistributes tax dollars to parents in the short run until it is reformed when the Social Security Trust Fund dries out (talk of moving to private accounts from there seems as unlikely as without the paid leave account).

Also weighing in against using Social Security to fund paid family leave are the editors at the Wall Street Journal [3].  A slice:

The first problem is that this would shift the burden of providing the benefit from the private economy to government. Academic evidence shows that family leave keeps employees in their jobs and can make them happier or more productive, which is one reason many companies pay for it. But why pay when the government offers 12 weeks?

Another of my Mercatus Center colleagues, Christine McDaniel, warns of a deceptive ploy used to justify trade restrictions [4].

Here are Arnold Kling’s insightful reflections on metrics and mis-leadership [5].

Alberto Mingardi writes about the next novel that I will read [6] – one that I regret that I’ve not yet read fully: Alessandro Manzoni [7]‘s The Betrothed [8].

Kevin Williamson explains that rising stock prices (that reflect rising asset values) have widespread benefits [9].

Jeff Jacoby is correct: government unions unconstitutionally play politics with dollars extracted from nonmembers [10].

John Stossel notes that politicians deserve Oscars [11].  A slice:

On the other hand, President Trump chose Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions (R) to be attorney general. Sessions wins the award for Worst Praise of Abusive Government. He said this about asset forfeiture: “I love that program. We had so much fun doing that, taking drug dealers’ money.”

Fun? Police grabbed billions of dollars, mostly from people who never got trials. That’s a crime, not good government, but both political parties supported it.

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