Subject requires further analysis

Regarding your editorial on the Family Medical Leave Act, “Boosting the middle class”: You began your editorial with an apt question: Who benefits? You should also have asked and analyzed the questions:

Who pays?

Why should they — or should they not — pay?

How much will it really cost?

It would have been best to ask the three questions separately for each of the bill’s benefits: up to 12 weeks paid leave for 1) care of a newborn, 2) recovery from a serious illness, and 3) helping a dying family member.

For all the proposed benefits, the editorial does briefly touch on the “who pays?” question: the employer, and the entire body of its employees would pay. When an employee received the newborn care benefit, s/he would not have to rely on personal savings to cover up to 12 weeks of not working; rather, the employer and all the other employees would — collectively — pay for that.

If you had pointed this out, a discussion of the third question would naturally follow. Why should the employer and the other employees pay — or not pay — for such an employee’s non-working time? One of your quotes happened to provide one answer: social justice. But you did not offer any real analysis. I would be more interested in your analysis than in brief quotes from others.

Another component of the “Why should they pay?” analysis should have been whether alternative support mechanisms already exist. For example, do existing temporary disability insurance plans cover recovery time for serious illnesses?

As to the last question, while you quoted someone’s estimate of a very low employee cost for the program, you did not explore its accuracy or the possible consequences of actual costs being significantly higher over time.

I hope you find my comments on your analytical approach useful for future editorials addressing government project and program proposals, which I look forward to reading.

Richard E. Potter


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