Do you think that anyone can accurately predict the trade off of using ones Social Security benefits today in exchange for waiting a bit longer to collect them thirty years hence? Think of all the variables between now and then. What happens if one of these folks using parental leave becomes disabled long before normal retirement? What if they drop out of the workforce?
Think of all the changes Congress can make to Social Security between now and say 2048.
Did you realize the federal government provided your Social Security? I thought Americans and their employers paid for your benefits. Isn’t Social Security an insurance program?
Yes indeed, Social Security is premised on the assumption it is for the benefit of workers when they are older.
We can’t even fix Social Security to meet its intended purpose and yet we have these kinds of off the wall proposals actually being considered by congressional committees. Where is the money coming from to pay leave today when the SS Trust is tapping it’s reserve now to pay retirement benefits?
Someday we will be hearing that Social Security needs to be improved because these young people can’t afford to delay their retirement benefits and were too young to make an informed judgement at the time.
One impediment to providing paid parental leave is the cost. However, there is a way for the federal government to provide paid parental leave to every worker in the United States at no additional cost: offer new parents the opportunity to collect early Social Security benefits after the arrival of their child in exchange for their agreeing to defer the collection of their Social Security retirement benefits.
The deferral period would be calculated to be long enough to offset the cost of providing Social Security parental benefits. While this issue requires further study, preliminary estimates suggest that in order to offset the cost of 12 weeks of parental benefits, new parents electing this option would only need to defer their Social Security retirement benefits by six weeks.
New parents deserve this choice. Social Security is premised on the assumption that it is more important for workers to have their money when they are older than when they are younger. But many new parents understandably might decide that having 12 weeks of paid leave to care for their new child is worth a short deferral of their retirement benefits.
There are a number of flaws in this conception. First, it is based on a mischaracterization of Social Security benefits themselves. Workers in Social Security do not own a pot of money that they can draw from, they are only promised that in the distant future, their retirement or disability benefits will be paid by taxing other workers sufficiently to do so. Basically, this proposal would seek to pay benefits without a financing source that even yet exists.
Here is a counter view on this idea.