A Budget-Neutral Approach to Parental Leave 😳Let the young tap Social Security, say what?

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.

Source: IWF – Policy Focus: A Budget-Neutral Approach to Parental Leave

But wait:

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.

Source: https://economics21.org/no-social-security-for-paternal-leave?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_campaign=081fd1e58b-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_07_09_12_25_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_3c0289e5fc-081fd1e58b-287002001


  1. My mistake. I have always made minor distinctions between enhancements and changes to the existing program with changes that introduce entirely new strategies. Also, the 1977 changes were the first of those strategic changes during my working career.

    But, you are correct. I always harken back to the first Social Security monthly benefit recipient, Ida Mae Fuller, to document just how egregious Congress has been in vote buying.



    1. Thanks for that link. That chart explains it all and shows what a Ponzi scheme Social Security really is. And for the people who think it is their money and that they earned it, that chart clearly shows otherwise. Ms Fuller paid only $24.75 into Social Security over about 2.5 years and got back $22,888.92 over 35 years.

      I want to get back what my employer and I paid into the Social Security for 40 years. After nine years of benefits, I’ll would have gotten all my money back. I hope that today’s high school and elementary school children get good jobs so that their Social Security taxes can pay my benefits.


  2. Sorry. I guess I misunderstood the last 40 or so years of Social Security benefit changes – starting with President Carter in 1977. Isn’t the purpose of Social Security to buy votes? Sure seems like that is what Congress has had as its top priority since 1977. From that perspective, using Social Security to provide paid leave, student debt repayment, free college tuition, etc. seems like a natural fit.

    Remember, people want the best benefits YOUR money will buy. Congress knows this and has certainly acted on that knowledge in the past. It is why, in 1983 and probably in 2032 they will wait until Social Security is in “crisis” before raising worker FICA taxes and raising taxes on the “rich” – mistakenly thinking individuals with high incomes are always “rich”.


    1. Social Security went into effect in 1935. Vote buying started in 1939. More than a dozen changes often expanding the benefits since then. This has been done under almost every administration since 1935.

      While researching how many times Social Security was amended, I discovered that the Free For All period actually started in the 1930s. Bernie Sanders would not even get anybody to listen to him because he was not bold enough. An interesting read is about the Ham & Eggs Plan that almost passed in California in 1938 giving unemployed over 50, $30 a week. The federal minimum wage was $10 a week ($0.25 per hr).


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