Thursday, October 15, 2015

Washington Post backpedals a bit on DC's paid family leave proposal; more on "democratic socialism"


The progressive Washington Post may have pulled a surprise by writing in an editorial Thursday morning, “D.C.’s paid leave proposal goes way too far”, link here.

It’s true that employers could go to Maryland or Virginia to avoid the payroll tax, a possibility that other comparable European capitals don’t have to deal with.  The payroll tax, on the other hand, mutes the idea that workers without kids or other family obligations, will “sacrifice” for those who do. As with unemployment insurance, they won’t get a benefit they don’t need.

We’re getting to the point, though, that we need to rethink the idea of family responsibility on some moral grounds bigger than just owning up to what follows having intercourse resulting in children.  I can see that I outlined a lot of the argumentation in a seemingly out-of-date (2006) essay on my legacy site, “Gay Marriage and Family Responsibility”, here.  Yes, court decisions, culminating this year, have quieted some of the underlying debate, which still needs to happen.  In the past, I’ve said that privileges should come with actual responsibility or dependents (whether elderly, biological children, adopted children, or children being raised by a sibling after a family tragedy) rather than the name of an institution.  But we probably need to talk about the cultural divide in taking on the responsibility in the first place.  Having children gets more and more expensive, and the competitive demands of the “toxic workplace” grow all the time.  Our culture, as the Pope warned recently, has actually encouraged people to deliberately avoid forming families, marrying, or taking on responsibility for others.   Somewhere in all the debate, yes, the role of same-sex couples raising children (born outside the relationship) comes into play, as would even surrogacy.

I’ll also give a nod to Bernie Sanders for making us look at what is “democratic socialism”, link here.   Why has it seemed to work so well in northern Europe, without causing controversies about “justice”,  equality of fairness?


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