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Friday, October 21, 2016

WASHINGTON — Politicians talk about family values but do almost nothing to help families. They talk about parental responsibility but do almost nothing to help parents. They talk about self-sufficiency but do precious little to make self-sufficiency a reality for those who must struggle hardest to achieve it.

How often can we hear that government should be more responsive to the problems Americans face now? But the vogue for simply assuming that government cannot — or should not — do much of anything about those problems leads to paralysis. This, in turn, further increases disaffection from government.

For all these reasons, it was exciting last week to see Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut introduce the FAMILY Act, the acronym standing for their Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act. The bill would provide partial income for up to 12 weeks of leave for new parents and for other family demands, including care for a sick family member or domestic partner.

How far behind the rest of the world is our country on this quintessential family values matter? The Washington Post’s Amy Joyce cited a Harvard University study in 2004 noting that of 168 countries it examined, 163 had some form of paid maternity. We weren’t one of the 163. Joyce observed that “the U.S. is on par with places like Papua New Guinea and Swaziland when it comes to paid family leave.”

The usual knock on proposals of this sort is that they would put an excessive economic burden on employers — or cost the federal government money it doesn’t have. Gillibrand and DeLauro, both Democrats, solve this problem by establishing FAMILY as an insurance program. Premiums would range from about $72 to $227 a year, depending on a person’s income. The maximum benefit is capped at $4,000 a month. They expect the average monthly benefit to be less than half that.

There is nothing revolutionary about this proposal. It builds on the existing (and highly popular) Family and Medical Leave Act, which requires unpaid leave and was enacted two decades ago. It is modest in comparison with leave policies in other well-off countries.

Yet in light of Congress’ dismal record since the Republican takeover of the House in 2010, it would be revolutionary to see any law passed that empowered individuals and families to ease their everyday difficulties.

Our current discussion of what constitutes “freedom” is shaped far too much by a deeply flawed right-wing notion that every action by government is a threat to personal liberty and that the one and only priority of those who care about keeping people free is for government to do less than it does.

  • When they say “freedom,” what they really mean is “freedom for us to do whatever the hell we want.” They want the freedom to dump waste into our reservoirs, freedom to sell junk bonds and run Ponzi schemes, freedom to fully convert to third world slave labor, and above all else, freedom to not see a single dime of their fortune taxed and spent on anything that would benefit the smallfolk.

    The true “Family Values” fantasy is to see America become a permanent plutocracy, and for freedom to be a luxury afforded to themselves and invited guests only.

  • infadelicious

    Ho Ho Ho……….suckers. I’ll send a postcard from Hawaii

    • rustacus21

      The voters that failed/refused to vote to support more ‘progressive’ policies in the 2010 Mid-Terms are definitely the ‘suckers’ U mean, as the help the President needed THEN made suckers of US all, except the very richest amongst US who, coincidentally, we can thank for the all those unable to discern between it all… How proud THOSE voters must be at what they DON’T know…

      • infadelicious

        I’d say the suckers can thank those who divide Americans into neat little labelled special interest groups to be pandered to for votes using taxpayer $$$$ and the only winners, temporarily are the ones in power and their buddies.Now all those buddies that got obama elected like the unions want their paybacks.Those who vote for entitlements and freebies are parasites, and before ya get your bvd’s in a brown bunch, I’m not talking about those we need the safety net for, like the elderly, the working poor and those unable to work because of illness. the parasites just want to keep feeding and don’t care that they are killing the host and the democrat freebie policies helps them do that. If the democrats didn’t give away taxpayers hard earned money, they would never be elected to office. We are out of money and they still don’t care.

        • Independent1

          Boy are you sick!! You really need mental help BAD!! Everything you said is totally misplaced!! And that’s because dementia has already set in!!

          Lets start back with your implication that Obama takes a lot of vacation (your reference to Obama going to Hawaii for Christmas) which is just one more of your BIG LIES!! Fact is Obama has BY FAR taken the least vacation of at least the last 7 presidents: he hasn’t even reached 100 days vacation yet in 5 years. While in contrast, Bush 2 took over 950 days in 8 years, Reagan took over 450 days, Bush Sr. took over 200 in 4 years and even Clinton took over 180 in his 8 years.

          And let’s just talk about the “parasites just want to keep feeding…blah blah blah” Well, here’s another BIG LIE. YOU HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO EVIDENCE THAT IT’S THE DEMS THAT ARE FEEDING ANYONE!!

          But I have statistics that show that it’s all the Red States that are deliberately foisting their residents onto food stamps by purposely cutting budgets which have dampened demand in their states which have caused millions of red state residents to need FOOD STAMPs, such that more than 75% of food stamps go to Red State Residents!!!!

          And you throw out some BS about Dems getting so many special interest groups that got Obama elected when the GOP spent at least 10 times as much money on the last election as the DEMS. How’s that possible?? It isn’t!! Because that’s one more of your BIG LIES!!!

          • infadelicious

            you say “YOU HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO EVIDENCE THAT IT’S THE DEMS THAT ARE FEEDING ANYONE!!” Really? It’s kind of a fact that there are now 47 MILLION people on food stamps, quite a few more than when obama started his magical mystery apologizing golf tour, so someone is feeding. And if the Red states are getting more food stamps it’s because obama’s focus on jobs has probably put them out of work. Obama has played you for a fool. He laughed when saying “those shovel ready jobs weren’t as shovel ready as we thought” Yep! a big laugh, did you laugh then too? And obama and his family ARE going to Hawaii for “holiday ” time or Christmas as sane people call it. The dog will be on a separate plane i am sure. I will check back with you for your correction after the “fluffy” news coverage of their trip comes out……… you can’t just say people are lying because you want something to be NOT true. Have a good day…….;-)

          • Independent1

            That’s why you’re so stupid!! The president has nothing to do with the legislation associated with FOOD STAMPS!! All that is created by Congress!! And the Dems have only had enough control of Congress to get THEIR WAY for 7 months in the past 18 years!! And during those 7 months back in 2009 they passed no legislation related to FOOD STAMPS!! They were busy with the auto bailout, the Stimulus and ACA, etc.

            So any legislation created related to food stamps, has been a BI-PARTISAN effort of both parties. And it wasn’t the Dems that told the idiot GOP legislators IN RED STATES to cut spending during a recession so that millions OF RED STATE RESIDENTS WOULD HAVE TO NEED WELFARE!! More than 75% of food stamps go to RED STATES!! And that’s because 21 of the 25 states with the most percent of their population living below the poverty level ARE RED STATES!!

            So it isn’t the Dems responsible for the greater use of food stamps these days, it’s the GOP’S FAULT!!!

          • infadelicious

            bwaaaa haaaaaaa haaaaaaaaaaaaa! Bush did it!! omg! when is obama (and you lefties for that matter) gonna man the *&%$ up and take responsibility for anything that happens while this guy is in office? Well at least ya can’t blame obamacare on the gop…..that’s your mess. But no biggee, obama can remain “uninformed” about that and anything else that happens for awhile, he has plans to make for his and moochelle’s Hawaiian trip that you seem to have forgotten about…….and with the way this admin “handled” the auto bailout, the Stimulus and ACA they should have concentrated on food stamps… those shovel ready jobs weren’t so shovel ready, and the affordabe care act or as reality calls it OBAMACARE, is not so affordable……….and then they all just laughed and laughed ..then went golfing or on vacation. I won’t call you stupid, I think you are just blindly obedient, bleating out “not obama’s fault”, that is called being a “useful idiot” defending him to the end. Sadly, that will not help him or America.

          • idamag

            You don’t really make sense. Your spouting the canned rhetoric shows you are programmed and your use of worn-out cliches shows your lack of education. Go away. You are not contributing anything.

          • infadelicious

            I made just as much sense as the programmed crap that independent wrote. Ignore me my reply was not to you. I shall ignore you too ok? Why are you always looking for a fight? Relax :-). Life is good. Good nite

  • FT66

    There is nothing known as: “Family Values”, it is just only talks from those who want to place their own different agenda to others. Everyone must practice what they preach to others and contrary to that, they must remain silence. We have heard a lot from our friends from the other side talking a lot about it while in their own household what has been done/going there is quite different. I won’t mention names here, BUT does it make even a little sense to let members of your own Family make babies out of the wedlock or before marriage while promoting Family Values and still watching? What kind of “Family Values” is that?

    • idamag

      Family values mean it is okay to hate homosexuals. In my mind, hate is not a family value. We had a Senator who touted family values and said the Republican party was the party of family values. He got caught in a sting operation in a major airport. I would have felt sorry for him if he hadn’t been vocally so anti-gay. And then there is Mark Sandford who ran on family values. His knowledge of geography was so faulty he thought the Appalachian Trail ended in South America.

      • neeceoooo

        That sounds like Larry Craig, we all know he is gay (not that there is anything wrong with that). I don’t have a problem with him being gay or anyone for that matter but my problem is with the hypocrisy.

  • Buford2k11

    To all those “family values” types…have you stopped beating your wife?

  • idamag

    Family values in my family did not include lying, name calling, and kowtowing to the big boys.

  • 4sanity4all

    The Republicans talk about family values, but they do not walk the walk. Their party used to. But now they are listening to puppetmasters who are twisting logic to justify cutting taxes on everyone so we can all be freeeee! I don’t mind paying my fair share of taxes; it is what people in civilized countries do. I cannot be happy knowing that kids are being undereducated, going to bed hungry, and living in a shelter because of bad decisions by politicians and a total lack of oversight on our financial institutions. Other kids are being fed non-nutritious foods, because it is legal to produce and sell that garbage. Other kids are getting cancers, most likely because of bad air and water, permitted by lax laws and a dearth of funding to enforce the regulatory laws that we have. The old rock song said that “freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.” Pretty prescient.

    • idamag

      Your use of the word, “civilized” is so apt.

  • nomoretraitors

    If I were a liberal, I wouldn’t touch the issue of hypocrisy with a 25-foot pole

    • Sand_Cat

      If you had any sense, you wouldn’t touch any issue with the load of ignorance and prejudice you bring to the table.

      More projection; go look in the mirror sometime if you want to see all the things you accuse “liberals” of being.

      • nomoretraitors

        If you feel so inclined to come out of your uninformed stupor, you can read my reply to Nathaniel below

    • Independent1

      As I’ve told you before. It’s a lot better having a liberal nature like Jesus, than being a conservative sheeple of Satan’s party – the GOP!!!

      • infadelicious

        Judge not, lest ye be judged. Don’t hide behind Jesus when it’s convenient. Honest question for you- are you one of those who oppose hearing “Merry Christmas”, yet open up “holiday presents” and take double pay for working or take the day off with pay?

        • Independent1

          I was not judging, I was stating fact. Jesus said several times “I judge no one.” Yet he called the Pharisees ‘Whited Walls’ outright hypocrites. Not because he was judging, he was stating FACT!

          When a party makes it clear that the only thing they really worship is MONEY – which is evident by every action they take. And God clearly said: You cannot serve God and Mammon (money). It is clear that that party is serving SATAN!

          And with respect to Christmas. Those in my Christian denomination do not use the term ‘Merry Christmas’, because it is associated with the debauchery that the world has turned the day called ‘Christmas’ into. Remember, it is not the true date of Jesus birth and his birth should not be celebrated by a consumerist driven orgy once a year. Jesus birth and sacrifice for us should be celebrated with praise for God EVERY SINGLE DAY OF THE YEAR!

          Even Bill Watterson who writes the comic Calvin and Hobes implied what I just said when in the strip for 12/16/13 – Calvin says: “What better way to celebrate a religious holiday than with a month of frenzied consumerism”. When is the world and especially Satan loving Republicans going to wake up to the fact that they’re speeding on their way to damnation???

          Oh and by the way, I’ve been in retirement for over 15 years so I don’t get double pay working at anything. And just for your edification, we also don’t believe it’s appropriate to exchange gifts on just one day a year; our goal should be trying to giving of ourselves to others EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR!!!

          • infadelicious

            Well, that is a nice sentiment.Yes, our goal should be to give of ourselves to others every day of the year. Don’t put people down just because though it is not actually Jesus’s birthday, that is the day they choose to celebrate it. the whole commercial aspect of it does suck. I just wish you wouldn’t lump all conservatives as Satan lovers. Come on! you can’t really believe that only republicans and certainly not ALL or even the majority of them love Satan. People of all political parties do Satan’s work or behave unChristianlike. That is sooo wrong to label them as Republican Satan lovers. Just because you have different political views doesn’t mean that it is Satan’s work those who differ from you are doing. The conservatives have no monopoly on sinning. As for worshipping money, there are just as many sinfully wealthy greedy liberals as there are conservatives. Please don’t tell me that conservatives want to starve children, throw gramma off a cliff , stop women from having “choices” etc etc etc. It is not true. If you believe that and are saying that only yours is the party not speeding to damnation than that is judging and just because you call judging by another name, doesn’t make it so. That is what liberals would call conservatives “bitter bible clingers” And i won’t go back and forth with you anymore about unChristianlike bahavior or unChristianlike policies that are conservative, it is obvious liberals have a few as well. Have a happy holiday……………..

      • Nathaniel


    • Nathaniel

      … BTW, I don’t understand this comment, if you care to detail…?

      • nomoretraitors

        Let’s see, where to begin…
        The same people who howled when Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a “sl*t” were strangely silent when Ed Schultz used the exact same term to describe Laura Ingraham. Nor were there calls for a boycott to get Schultz off the air. The Nation even praised Schultz for his “classy” apology but issued no such praise for Limbaugh’s apology.
        The same people who howled when Phil Robertson expressed his views on homosexuality (after being asked a direct question) are silent about about MSNBC hosting Al Sharpton, who called someone a “punk f*ggot” on TV and claimed during a speech at Kean University that Africans discovered math and philosophy (a suspect claim to put it mildly) long before “them Greek h*mos ever got around to it”
        The left’s Messiah (Obama) calls for more civility in public discourse in the wake of the Tuscon shootings, yet says nothing about civility when Bill Maher calls Sarah Palin a “c*nt” (and refuses to return Maher’s donation to one of his PACs). Nor does he call Palin to express his support the way he did for Fluke.
        The great defender of the female gender — NOW — does not come to Palin’s defense. Can you imagine what the reaction would be if Limbaugh called Pelosi, Hillary or any other Democratic woman that word?
        The great defender of the black race — the NAACP — is silent when Herman Cain is subject to the classic racist smear of the rapacious black man victimizing hapless white women. What would be the reaction if that were done to Sharpton, Jesse Jackson or any other black liberal?
        The left which voiciferously defended free speech for flag burning is strangely silent when the pastor in Florida threatened to burn a copy of the Quran. The same left failed to stand up for freedom of the press by standing by the Danish newspaper which published the cartoons of Mohammed.
        The same left which so voiciferously defended freedom of expression and decried censorship, “book burning,” and “thought police” during the controversy over the movie “The Last Temptation of Christ” was silent when Salman Rushdie was under attack (and the fatwa to this day is still in force) for writing “Satanic Verses” (and where books WERE burned).
        Those who talk about “choice” have no problem restricting the 2nd Amendment, as well as hunters’ rights (see the protests of the recent bear hunt on njdotcom). Furthermore, the new mayor of NYC publicly stated (while public advocate) that an anti-abortion billboard put up in lower Manhattan had “no place” in the city. The late Sen. Lautenberg told Planned Parenthood supporters at a rally that those who opposed federal tax dollars for the organization didn’t “deserve” 1st Amendment protections.
        I could go on but I think this should suffice to explain my position

        • Nathaniel

          …1st off, it really didn’t take a week to put all ‘that’ together did it? Anyway, the point here is…? Your opinion, like those above, is just as important, so don’t assume my position is to shut you or anyone else down. I’m really smarting – severely – that when ‘hypocrisy’, hatred, bigotry, etc., becomes policy. The only ideology so far – in the nation’s history – going ‘that’ far, has been conservatives. I won’t itemize every instance, as they’re all too well known by women, blacks, child laborers, asians, hispanics, poor whites & now, in this age, the poor, working class & ex-Middle Classers, having been ‘thrown’ into the pits of poverty & deprivation, for believing the “lies” of ‘trickle-down’ economics & the litany of right-wing, conservative policies that have doomed another several generations of Americans to the ‘deprivation’ of rights, liberties, opportunities, justice & access to any & all of them, because of American’s who lack the good sense of judgment to ‘not’ vote Republican or T-party, knowing they mean absolute HARM to the nation – the non-wealthy, non-white, non-male portion particularly… American’s, unable to understand, or even vote, off the basis of comprehending the ‘hypocrisy’ written of above, are the real crisis – that of comprehension – being suffered by the nation. This ‘lack’, is based on ignoring realities fundamental to our Declaration, Constitution, Bill of Rights & clarifications articulated in the Federalist Papers…

  • rustacus21

    Of course this article said it all in the 1st 2 paragraphs & could have stopped there. We, of the choir know the facts all too well. Unfortunately, in this upcoming election year, there are still voters who will think all the noise & shrill bombastardry means that they’d better vote for the ‘pro-life’, ‘pro-family’, ‘pro-veteran’, ‘anti-abortion’ & ‘anti-tax’ candidate, even while they forget these are the same legislators that cut their job opportunities & programs, their unemployment benefits, their healthcare, their mortgage relief, their child’s veterans benefits, post injury in 1 or BOTH of the unholy wars of the last decade & feel furious if a Liberal/Progressive wins – even though THAT is the candidate that who fought hardest – historically – for theirs & their family’s & the nation’s BEST interests & WELFARE. Blinded by rage, they seek out even the more extremist (the Pauls, West’s, Cruz’, etc.) & get the feelgood treatment when these people get all hysterical & insane about ‘big’ government. Government reflects, however, the obligations & responsibilities it’s charged w/in being responsive to the will of the voter. Thus, we have the sort of legislation proposed by Gillibrand & DeLauro which, a generation ago, resembled the family leave act, which eased the stress on families during a medical emergency. Liberal/Progressive in their focus & intent, we should be more thankful – & THOUGHTFUL for such. Had we been so back then til now, guess what? We’ve averted not just 1 but 2 wars & the major economic Depression instigated by they & tax cuts exclusively for the wealthy. Thinking these things thru AFTER THE FACT is no time to try getting it correct. Lets agree to do a better job this coming election & help a President now being held hostage to forces hostile to the Democracy that has been MIA since December 2000…

  • Defend The Constitution

    Whether or not someone imposes their will upon another is an issue far different from whether or not we can choose wisely among our options.