When talking with the average citizen–be they workers, homeowners, parents, or university students–about the economy it is most likely the responses will differ from the talking points the White House sent to Fox News. For too many citizens low wages, tuition funding, and continuing concerns about the cost of health insurance are the topics that register when talking about the economy.
For parents across the land, there has long been a promise to do something about paid parental leave. Coming into the White House Ivanka Trump had stated she wanted to make sure her father understood the need, along with the policies, required to address this concern. Good intentions, to be sure. The road to hell is paved with them.
Meanwhile, the Trump Administration has done nothing more than pay lip-service to paid family leave. Late last year Congress passed a bill giving the country’s 2.1 million government employees 12 weeks of paid parental leave as part of the defense bill that was signed into law. But the harsh reality is that it leaves about 80% of workers in the nation who work in the private sector with no access to paid family leave.
Like so many other health care and social programs our nation is one of a handful of countries that lacks a federal policy, at least for new mothers, leaving employers to decide whether to offer it. And we know the deep concern most businesses have with the true concerns of their workers.
The statistics are sad to consider. Just 9% of wage earners in the bottom 25% have access to paid family leave, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That compares to 30% of wage earners in the top 25%.
The Trump rallies that are staged in red states show the white males shouting out at the press and past presidential nominees. Trump will steer his most rabid to the shiny object of the moment that has caught his attention. Never has that object been the need of parents to have leave from their jobs so to assist with their families when circumstances demand it.
Meanwhile, the families of America who deal with actual economic concerns are left with mere campaign promises from the Trumps who have never in their lives had to balance a monthly paycheck to meet the bills at hand.
And so it goes.