Last night, Paul Ryan announced that he’d run for Speaker of the House if his Republican colleagues met a list of demands. Among them: insisting that time Ryan spends with his family not be sacrificed.
Ryan, whose wife and three young children reside in Janesville, Wisconsin, flies home for a visit every weekend. That’s nice. If only he believed that other Americans deserved the same.
In 2009, Ryan voted against a bill that would have given federal employees four weeks of paid paternity leave. ThinkProgress additionally notes that Ryan proposed cuts to child care subsidies for poor parents:
The sky-high cost of child care in the U.S. can dwarf a parent’s income, particularly a low-income parent. Child care subsidies help defray that cost, allowing a parent to find a place to leave their children while going to work and knowing that they don’t have to rely on family members or unsafe, unstable arrangements. Without them, however, poor parents can face a tough choice between continuing to work and simply staying home because the cost is too high.
At the same time, however, he’s often said that more poor people need to be in the workforce and combat what he sees as a “culture problem” where they don’t value work.
And, as the Huffington Post’s Amanda Terkel points out, Ryan’s GOP caucus blocked President Obama’s attempt to mandate paid parental leave in both the public and private sectors here in the US. We’re one of only three countries in the world that doesn’t guarantee new parents paid time off from work to care for their offspring.
And we certainly don’t have any enshrined rules that guarantee fathers time away from work to spend with their 10-, 12-, and 13-year-old children. Perhaps if Paul Ryan hadn’t spent much of his political career fighting laws that promote realistic work-life balance for parents of all socioeconomic levels, asking for family time would make him look more like a hero and less like a hypocrite.
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