By Joe Conason

After 20 Years, Success Of Family And Medical Leave Act Should Humble The Far Right

February 6, 2013 12:55 am Category: Memo Pad, Politics 35 Comments A+ / A-
After 20 Years, Success Of Family And Medical Leave Act Should Humble The Far Right

When Bill Clinton signed the Family and Medical Leave Act on February 5, 1993 almost exactly 20 years ago as the first legislative act of his presidency, its establishment as law marked a progressive victory after nearly a decade of ferocious opposition by corporate lobbyists, Republican legislators, conservative media, and right-wing pundits.

Leading the opposition was the US Chamber of Commerce, whose spokeswoman Virginia Lamp denounced the act as “a dangerous precedent.” (She would eventually marry Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and move on to employment with the Koch brothers.) With the honorable exception of the Catholic Church and a number of moderate Republicans in Congress, the self-proclaimed “pro-family” forces in American political life eagerly aided and abetted the Chamber’s attempt to kill the act. Mandating a federal right to unpaid leave, even if restricted to certain workers in larger businesses, would place the nation on a slippery path toward European socialism, or worse, according to the Chamber and its Republican allies, and impose untold damage on business.

But now we know, as with so many other warnings from the far right about the supposedly ruinous consequences of social progress, how the actual results have differed from those predictions. And with two decades of experience, it is clear that the difference has been dramatic.

Put simply, the act’s protections have proved vital for millions of families across the country, whether in times of joy or hardship. Debra Ness, the president of the National Partnership for Women and Families, which drafted the original bill and assembled the victorious coalition that supported it, estimates that the law has been used over 100 million times “by women who needed medical care during difficult pregnancies, fathers who took time to care for children fighting cancer, adult sons and daughters caring for frail parents, and workers taking time to recover from their own serious illnesses. The latest Department of Labor survey of employees and employers indicates that up to 14 million employees took leave in 2011.

Released this week to coincide with the act’s anniversary, that study not only demonstrates how vital it is to American families, but how beneficial it has been for the national workforce and economy.  Indeed, rather than imposing an insufferable burden on business, the act has enhanced productivity and profit as well as protecting children, the ill, and the elderly.

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After 20 Years, Success Of Family And Medical Leave Act Should Humble The Far Right Reviewed by on . When Bill Clinton signed the Family and Medical Leave Act on February 5, 1993 almost exactly 20 years ago as the first legislative act of his presidency, its es When Bill Clinton signed the Family and Medical Leave Act on February 5, 1993 almost exactly 20 years ago as the first legislative act of his presidency, its es Rating:

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Daniel-Jones/827014412 Daniel Jones

    The problem is that all these things that should humble these blowhards inflame them instead.

  • nobsartist

    Another half assed policy. Unenforceable. If you want to see a REAL family leave act, look at Canada’s. Then again, if you want to see a REAL health care system, look at Canada’s.

    How come Canada is able to implement policies that actually help its citizens but the idiots in washington fuck up everything they come into contact with?

    Canada has a jobs plan.

    Canada has banking regulations.

    Canada has mortgage laws.

    We have a bunch of jackass’s.

    • AMADAL

      Canada does not have the Repukelican party that claims to be FOR protecting “family values” while doing everything possible to block anything that is good for the family. Hypocrisy is the Repukes policy.

      • nobsartist

        Ah, but you are wrong. Look at harper and what is going on there.

        • AMADAL

          Your reply is lost on me–I have no idea what harper is–however, I am not wrong and stand by my comment that the Repukes and their so called family values block any and all legislation just because they can.

      • lessthantolerant

        spoken like a true parasitic STD spreading animal.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/EOOP2CLTD4BKLDVZT6QW7PDOCI Robert M

          The word for to day is “Dimwit” , dimwit. Return to your bunker and count your saltines and bullets.

          • lessthantolerant

            My but your words hurt my esteem. Bend over and I’ll give you some love.
            Libbie fags always amuse me.

        • AMADAL

          You obviously are a stupid Repuke that believes all the shit that comes out of their mouths. Only a stupid ass that has no real intelligence to discuss anything would accuse someone of something that has nothing to do with the discussion at hand. Typical Repuckelican response–change the supject and accuse. So, tell me, what does spreading STD’s have to do with family leave? And by the way, I do not have an STD of any kind–you stupid fuck.

          • lessthantolerant

            so much incorrectly stated and so little time to respond to this diatribe. But, here goes; STDs seem to be at the base of much of your stupidity, many of them affect the brain as it seems to be your case by your obvious lack of clear and concise response to my statements.
            now as to you wondering what it has to family leave, investigate the costs and treatments many of your parasitic animals have multiple STDs and are treated daily by free government care.
            Perhaps you should stop screwing your camel.

          • AMADAL

            Your stupidity is astounding, but I don’t really expect anything better from a Repuke like you. This conversation is over.

          • lessthantolerant

            Dream on Alice, you never heard such truths.

    • http://www.facebook.com/dominick.vila.1 Dominick Vila

      The problem is even worse when you consider that Canada’s effective labor laws and healthcare program are not as successful as those in Scandinavian countries and in Germany. Why is it that those northern European countries can afford to pay livable wages, offer their workforce and retirees excellent benefits, enjoy a standard of living higher than ours, have Unions, and are still able to compete in the market place and be successful? Could it be that they don’t feel compelled to engage in continuous warfare, have a military capable of fighting the entire world simultaneously, deregulate, put in place ridiculously low tax rates that don’t cover outlays, invest abroad instead of at home, refuse to invest in infrastructure, and don’t consider education an evil ploy among other things?

      • nobsartist

        Funny how we ordered japan and germany to operate the way they do yet 70 years later we still are too stupid to follow our own advice.

        Had our social system been constructed more like germany’s, the past 8 years would not have occurred. Now, it looks like it will take decades to reverse the damage done by misdirected politicians that refuse to listen to their constituency.

        In my opinion, the actions 0f our government regarding the financial industry and mortgage industry corruption borderlines on criminal.
        Plus, those two incidents are the reason along with the defense BS, that we cannot afford to pay for even basic support for our own less fortunate.

        Like support for a lot of these jackass politicians own aged parents.

  • lessthantolerant

    Can the propaganda get any deeper on this rag?

    • http://www.facebook.com/warren.nicholson.77 Warren Nicholson

      Only if you sheep show up and dump your brainless crap here.

      • lessthantolerant

        yes, lets keep handing out freebies to the parasites, because we all know how much the poor add to the growth of the economy.

    • WhutHeSaid

      Careful: Your master (Obama) is watching you. You’d better be a good boy and behave yourself — you wouldn’t want your master to get angry with you, oh no!

      • lessthantolerant

        Obie and his Kenyan Clown Circus only do what Pelosi and Reid tell them. Otherwise he is pretty much brain dead.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dominick.vila.1 Dominick Vila

    Instead of being humbled by the modest labor policies that were put in place two decades ago to improve the quality of life of working Americans, the GOP/TP is determined to destroy the Unions that influenced the implementation of those policies.
    The most anti-labor and anti-middle class party in the history of the USA remains ambivalent at the plight of millions of Americans who are still struggling to make a living wage, get adequate benefits, and hope for a better future for our children. Instead, they remain determined to demonize every gain we have made towards achieving parity with the social and labor condditions that prevail in European, Canadian, Australian and other governments.
    Like they said during the last campaign, their goal is to take America back. The question is: back to what? The company store, child labor, and other draconian abuses unworthy of a nation that prides itself of being a bastion of freedom and democracy?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Sehler/100000396279499 John Sehler

      Their( the Republicans) ultimate goal is to abolish the ‘Magna Carta’ and the Bill of Rights. They have almost destroyed the middle class..If you make less than $750,000 a year after taxes consider yourself a republican target.

      • http://www.facebook.com/fern.woodfork Fern Woodfork

        Their Goal Is To Turn This Country Into Just Anther Third World Country Where The Rich Rule And The Rest Of Us Are Screwed!!!

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/EOOP2CLTD4BKLDVZT6QW7PDOCI Robert M

      I believe they are intending to go back to the 19th century. They ache for the day when an insolent worker could be beaten and fired with impunity. They long for those days when children could be worked at half wages and forced to do it for twelve hours a day seven days a week. They want to go back to the time when workplace illnesses and injuries were not their problem and pensions were unknown for workers. They want to go back to the day when the industrial work place was without sanitary facilities or even a place for workers to eat.

  • Budjob

    I went to elementary school in Toronto,Canada.Canada is by far the greatest DEMOCRACY IN THE WORLD!!!

    • latebloomingrandma

      But—what about all the “socialism” going on up there? Has it affected your “freedoms?”

  • montanabill

    Load of horse puckey.

  • Eleanore Whitaker

    To prove how ridiculous the ideology of right wing of the GOP are, consider this. They want all tax dollars to support businesses. They don’t support cost of living increases or any increases in salaries of employees not in executive or upper management positions. They do not believe businesses should be responsible for workplace safety or environmental compliance in any way …all are considered “unnecessary burdens” on employers. Read business first, human life second. That IS what it really comes down to.

    Then, you add in the right wing narrow minded attitude that the most vulnerable should remain at home to be cared for by family who are already working two or more, what Bush called “uniquely American” jobs to support the burden of caring for sick elderly parents who can’t afford nursing home care and their grandchildren to help their adult children keep their jobs. So who gets zapped most by these harsh attitudes of neglience by the GOP? Women…women working outside the home, taking care of elderly parents and their helping out by taking care of their grandkids. But how dare these women EVER get sick or have to take time off to care for those at home?

    Men in business today are a bunch of thieving, conniving thugs who look for any possible excuse to whine about the “cost of business.” So they began to dump the cost of healthcare insurance and retirements on their employees for the past 2 decades until now, those “employer paid benefits” are anything but.

    Notice though how these whiners in business aren’t living in ghettos or driving jalopies?

  • latebloomingrandma

    It puzzles me to no end that the party who claims “family values” consistently votes against values that effect families. Their only concern is for the unborn, it seems. Once you exit the womb and draw breath, you are on your own.

  • Canistercook

    Wonder if this was a step towards improving our productivity and ability to compete in this world market. Guess one thing is sure now – we do have a lot of unemployed and underemployed now!
    Studies depend on what was studied?

  • http://www.facebook.com/bob.brindell.7 Bob Brindell

    Band together to fight to improve your working conditions. Before workers were sold the bill of goods that you should not be forced to pay union dues union shops had decent wages, benifits and working condicions. Now you are not organized and you fret over poor pay, no benifits, and lousy benifits. You get what you pay for. ORGANIZE! It is not too late.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/XPL7LVHHKZXB3BKEJZNTKRMBYY Susan

      Right on, Bob. We all need to study the history of the labor movements in the US and Britain and learn from their example. Otherwise, we’ll be back to the sweatshops and tenements our ancestors fought so hard to escape.

  • lessthantolerant

    Does anyone wonder if “WhutHeSaid” dreams of the GroidKing while he is in the alley taking it up his posterior?

    You stupid liberals spend so much type in delusional denial that you actually believe you accomplish more than creating ever expanding parasitic STD spreading minorities who suck at the teat of humanity.

    Let us all hope economic collapse comes this year so we can watch the death spiral of your stupid policies.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Sehler/100000396279499 John Sehler

      less than tolerany you are fixated of taking it up the posterior, is this a conservitive thing or what?

      • lessthantolerant

        I am seeking a methodolgy of communicating with you silly libbies and anal seems to be the only thing you all know.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/SDOPYQEXAFU6XM6TSMI2E3ZK7A craig

    they don’t like it because it throws a bone to the middle class, and they favor the corporations and the 3% over the 97%. even stevie wonder can see that.

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