Sunday, June 10, 2007

Paid Family Leave: The Left Marches ON

by Steve Lonegan

“Democratic Despotism” is a term coined by Alexes DeToqueville to describe the threat of the majority using its voting ability to dominate the minority. Many scholars have bemoaned the concept of a democratic society realizing they could vote themselves more and more entitlements, to the point of eventual destruction. They must have anticipated New Jersey.

The state legislature has adopted the dangerous practice of buying votes through expanded and radical entitlement programs. There is no worst example than the Paid Family Leave (PFL) bill that has just been released by the Senate Budget Committee. This socialist diatribe takes feel good politics to a new level. Proponents are so prepared to tug at the heart strings of the public that they paraded breast feeding advocates in front of the committee to pitch the desperate need for government to provide for “family bonding”. How could anyone disagree with taxpayer subsidized breast feeding?

The PFL is a fraud on two fronts - financial and philosophical. The financial fraud is the claim a .001% payroll tax will fund ten weeks a year off costing $4,800.00. This benefit would require 160 workers earning an average of $30,000. This to support only one entitlement package. The Disability Trust Fund, the mechanism being proposed to fund this scheme, has already been raided this year to the tune of $75 million to balance the states bloated budget. The deliberate ignorance of the socialist proponents of this bill is the failure to consider the impact of the deadbeats and sluggards who will scam this program for every dime they can get. This grossly under estimated cost destines the PFL to join the ranks of the state’s pension and benefits programs with massive unfunded liabilities.

The philosophical fraud is the pathetic cries from the leftists supporting PFL that families need this government program to promote parents’ “bonding” with new borns. Liberal academicians parade in front of the media calling for the government to fund this junk program so single mothers can raise their kids. The fact is, this liberal entitlement is not limited to single mothers or anyone else.

While single moms are the foil for the program, any worker can take ten weeks off if they claim some “family “member needs their “psychological comfort.” So the basic argument for this socialist propaganda is the necessity for big brother to subsidize an army of Breast feeding single mothers. The reality is this scam is tailor made for government employees to take ten weeks off each and every year.

This truth is revealed in the amendment quietly affixed to this legislation allowing employees with lots of accumulated sick days to keep these days for their sweetheart retirement packages and only be required to use ten such days before PFL kicks in. This will add to the plethora of mandates that have driven New Jersey’s property taxes through the roof as local municipal governments are required to absorb the cost of replacing those using this program with overtime or temporary workers. Hail, union bosses.

Now that the liberal left has established the chronic need for a whole new under funded entitlement program essential to the survival of our families, they can fill this newly established need by a program to buy more votes. Ultimately, the inevitable impact of the cost of PLF will fall on the shoulders of the ever diminishing minority-those who build the businesses and create the real jobs that sustain our economy. You know, the ones moving to Florida.

Steve Lonegan is the Mayor of Bogota, NJ, and Executive Director of Americans for Prosperity - New Jersey. Americans for Prosperity (AFP) and Americans for Prosperity Foundation (AFP Foundation) are committed to educating citizens about economic policy and mobilizing those citizens as advocates in the public policy process. He is a prolific writer, having been published in newspapers and blogs. He currently has a book in pre-publication on the impact of New Jersey state government on the well being of the taxpayers of the state, where he offers solid and workable solutions.