October 17, 2007

More Nanny-Statism From Hillary

Hillary Clinton has conducted an impressive campaign to get the Left to forget her vote on the Iraq war. Over the last few weeks, she has offered a blizzard of nanny programs designed to bolster her standing with traditional liberals, including a program to give each newborn a $5,000 bond. Now she wants to have the federal government fund an expansion of the Family Leave Medical Act to the states:

Speaking in New Hampshire, Senator Clinton yesterday announced a plan to expand paid family leave laws on the state and national level.

"Too many Americans feel trapped between being a good parent and being a good worker," Mrs. Clinton said. "It's about time we stopped just talking about family values and started pursuing policies that truly value families."

Under Mrs. Clinton's proposal, the federal government would spend more than $1 billion a year to encourage states to operate their own paid family leave programs with a goal of having a program in every state by 2016. In addition, Mrs. Clinton also hoped to expand the Family Medical Leave Act to cover an additional 13 million workers. The act provides unpaid leave to new parents, workers caring for sick family members, and those recovering from illness. In addition, the presidential candidate said she would increase funding for child-care programs.

A spokesman for the Republican National Committee, Danny Diaz, criticized the proposal's cost, saying, "Hillary Clinton's agenda for working families is pretty clear: higher taxes to pay for outrageous spending proposals totaling more than $750 billion." A policy advisor to Mrs. Clinton, Brian Deese, said the proposal's $1.75 billion-a-year cost would be covered by closing a loophole on tax shelters, which he said would raise $26 billion dollars in revenue over 10 years, according to congressional estimates.

"Closing loopholes on tax shelters" is typical language for tax increases. Tax shelters get created by Congress to encourage particular types of investments. People then follow the incentives provided by Congress and invest their money in those ventures. Later, politicians decide they need the money for pet projects, and "close loopholes on tax shelters", effectively trapping investors into a bait-and-switch tax hike.

A flat tax, or even the Fair Tax, would fix this process. This demonstrates why neither will ever get through Congress, especially a Democrat-controlled House, where tax policy originates. The lucrative nature of opening and closing these "loopholes" provides far too much power for tax-and-spend politicians of both parties to ever eschew.

And so, once again, we have Hillary raising taxes in order to pay for expanded entitlements. The FMLA already covers all businesses in the US that employ 50 or more people, giving employees 12 weeks off in any given 12-month period for their own serious illnesses or those of their immediate families, for birth, or for adoption. The floor of 50 or more employees was necessary to keep small businesses from incurring undue costs of compliance, since small businesses would find it much more difficult to absorb the temporary loss of staff that would follow.

Hillary didn't provide any details for her expansion, but Chris Dodd wants her to co-sponsor a bill right now -- which leads us to our next question. Hillary has been in the Senate for almost seven years. Why hasn't she offered any of these programs during her tenure? Since the Democrats took over the Senate this year, they control the agenda -- and yet Hillary hasn't bothered to produce any of these as legislative initiatives. Has it occurred to her that she could propose these as bills now? Or would that have interfered with her efforts to carve out a moderate legislative record on which to win a general election for President?

UPDATE: The New York Times has more:

The law covers businesses with more than 50 workers. Mrs. Clinton would lower that to 25, covering an additional 13 million people, her campaign said. ...

Mrs. Clinton’s advisers said they would work with Congress and industry to expand the federal law with an eye toward flexibility and supporting the needs of small businesses. They said Mrs. Clinton would also support guaranteed paid sick days through new legislation, a program that has had Democratic support on Capitol Hill for some time.

"With an eye toward flexibility and supporting the needs of small businesses"? Ask businesses now, small and large, how "flexible" the FMLA makes them now. Small businesses do not have "needs" for more government mandates on leave or sick days. Both are better left to the labor market. The expansion of FMLA to smaller businesses will make them less competitive against larger firms who can absorb that federal mandate easier and will force them to spend more on labor, driving up their prices and making them uncompetitive.

The "needs" Hillary wants to address are her own.


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Comments (17)

Posted by Mike O | October 17, 2007 7:46 AM

It doesn't matter which party is in; there won't be a flat tax. For many years when the GOP was in charge, their #2 man was Dick Armey, who was elected from our district largely on a platform of flat taxes. He never proposed one; the mortgage banking lobbyists probably treated him quite well.

Posted by Constitution Cowboy | October 17, 2007 8:13 AM

This "Nanny State" monicer on this statism movement is a bit to namby pamby mushy gushie for me. It is far too devastating to freedom to be called so motherly a name. I'd rather it be labled the totalitarian dictatorship it strives to be.

Used to be, all we had to do was not cross the line when it comes to the law. We've been free up to the point we hit that limit of the law. It's getting more and more like we'd better not step out of line. We're being forced to behave in accord with the law instead. Freedom's path is getting narrower.


Posted by MagicalPat | October 17, 2007 8:24 AM

Why hasn't she offered any of these programs during her tenure?

This is a very important point. Anyone running against her should hit her with this over and over. The ads that are run should also ask if you can trust her to really do what she says since she has yet to accomplish anything with the authority she already possesses.

Posted by onlineanalyst | October 17, 2007 8:44 AM

Madame Hillary keeps floating these fealy-meely populist ideas, paid for by higher taxes of course, to see which ones will catch fire with her base or expand it. A curious media would pursue through hard-hitting interviews how she intends to underwrite these preposterous ideas. Even the mildest follow-up questions seem to be deflected with her all-purpose accusation of "the politics of personal destruction (pot/kettle/black)" or insinuations that the media are guided by "vast right wing conspiracy".

The question of Madame Hillary's leadership as a legislator is a good one. Has anyone compiled a list of what exactly she has accomplished during her Senate tenure?

Posted by Dawn | October 17, 2007 8:46 AM

"Why hasn't she offered any of these programs during her tenure?"

It's almost Christmas! She wants to give "everybody" lots of presents.

On another board they claimed she attended a luncheon and promised to end the war!

They were all excited because once she ends the war (whatever!) she can get back to the real issue.......Global Warming!

Posted by patrick neid | October 17, 2007 10:05 AM

I keep saying:

Progressive = Socialist = Communist = Stalinist =

Leninist = Marxist

The attendant gulags can show up in many forms all along the way. By my definition all of Cuba is a gulag.

Posted by Amendment X | October 17, 2007 10:29 AM

Ah yes, the infamous loophole closing.
Does anyone remember "The Great Loophole Closing" aka The Tax Reform Act of 1986? All sorts of deductions and credits were eliminated so there would be ONLY two tax rates-15% and 28%. My comments back then were "Now watch the tax rates creep up." Little did I know that there would be 5 tax rates, all higher and an AMT to punish all those who played the tax game according to the rules.
Loopholes are put into a bill for two reasons: to get the bill passed or to give a nod to a constituency. Sometimes the two become one.
No matter what happens, the money still comes from income earners. Period! No place else. Government has no money. It can only take money.
And all tax schemes still point toward one outcome: raising the same amount of money to fund the same unconstitutional programs and regulations and bureaucracies.
And when, oh when will politicians and lefty idiots realize that tax rates do NOT equal tax revenues? Pres. Kennedy, Reagan and Bush have proved, over nearly 50 years, tax cuts increase tax revenues.
How about a constitutional amendment of a flat tax of 10%...or less? Not a tax act/reform as we've already seen how vulnerable that piece of legislative tripe is in a democracy (where that would not be the case in a true constitutional republic...that we're supposed to be living in).

Posted by swabjockey05 | October 17, 2007 10:44 AM

Hildabeast is a Socialist. No kidding. If she wins, it means the Repubs are idiots...or the "American People" want socialism.

If it's the latter, I'm done. Where you going to find a bunch of swabbies who'll volunteer to fight for Socialism? Will they still take an oath to the Constitution? I wonder if they'll know how to fight?

Posted by jpr | October 17, 2007 10:59 AM

So people, who work at companies with less than 50 employees, who have issues that would require the use of the FMLA are SOL? They can be fired for choosing to care for their family member vice their job?

For a comparison, from the Federal Register regarding the "Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act" (USERRA) of 1994; Final Rules-- § 1002.34 Which employers are covered by USERRA?
(a) USERRA applies to all public and
private employers in the United States,
regardless of size. For example, an
employer with only one employee is
covered for purposes of the Act.

So someone who is deployed for, say, 15 months away from a company where they're the only employee has has their job waiting for them (rightfully). But that same person who wants to leave for 12 weeks to care for a sick family member can be fired?


Posted by planetgeo | October 17, 2007 11:12 AM

Hillary was "co-President" for 8 years and has been a Senator for most of 1 term. To what does she attribute her inability to conceive and submit actual bills for these generous services in her past and current positions, and what has suddenly made them so effervescently possible?

Posted by Bruce | October 17, 2007 11:17 AM

Come on, what's another billion on top of everything else she has in mind for us? That's peanuts.

Posted by swabjockey05 | October 17, 2007 11:42 AM


Because she's has to deal with the Repub Congress. When she's swept into office...along with more of her socialistic Congressional cronies, she'll be much more effective at getting her agenda accomplished.

Guess we'll just have to pray enough of the Repubs grow a spine and can at least offer us some "obstructionism".

Posted by March Hare | October 17, 2007 12:51 PM

Whatever happened to the idea of letting families KEEP more of their own money and letting them decide how to spend it? When I chose to stay home, we no longer qualified for child care credit, although we still had children at home to care for.

Long ago, I read "Staying Home Instead." (Sorry, can't remember the author.) One of the points the author made was the dependent deduction was significantly higher, as a percentage of income, than currently. This meant more families could afford to have a parent at home--which also means less stress on the child care "system" or businesses coping with mandatory FMLA. Now there's a concept--allowing families to CHOSE. (After all, the Democrats claim they are the party of "choice." We should hold them to it!)

And how many of those small businesses make do with 49 employees so they don't cross the magical threshold of 51?

Posted by Angry Dumbo | October 17, 2007 1:07 PM

If Hillary is the smartest, most calculated politician in America, why is she making plans to expand paid family leave laws?

Because people want more from the Church of Uncle Sam. We pay our 50% tithe and Hillary will take care of us.

There is no separation of church and state because the state is the church.

Posted by Bob Smith | October 17, 2007 3:31 PM

And how many of those small businesses make do with 49 employees so they don't cross the magical threshold of 51?
Lots. It also drives outsourcing. Several businesses working together, each of which has fewer than 50 employees, is subject to less regulation than a single vertically integrated entreprise.

Posted by Artie Curtis | October 18, 2007 9:59 AM

I've always been of the mind that any kind of leave should be between the employer and employee. Government's job is to govern not supply all our wants according to the riches of others.
And Hillary wants to close the tax shelter loopholes. Does that mean that Kennedy and Kerry will now have to start paying taxes? Dont think so.

Posted by Artie Curtis | October 18, 2007 10:06 AM

Why do I think under the new leave laws it will be illegal for a company of 50 to downsize to less than that?

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