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Noah Smith

Government Cash Handouts Won't Strengthen Families

The U.S. should catch up with other developed nations and mandate paid parental leave.
The business end of the issue.

The business end of the issue.

Photographer: Jabin Botsford/washinton post/getty images

Heather Boushey, an economic adviser to presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and the executive director of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, has a plan to help American families while attacking inequality. She wants to require that companies give all their employees, both male and female, paid parental leave.

Boushey’s idea is far from revolutionary. If anything, it's the exact opposite: The U.S. is a laggard in this regard -- all other developed countries now have mandatory paid leave for mothers and some for fathers as well. Paid parental leave falls under the category of “things we should have done long ago.” It’s the kind of smart, well-targeted policy that doesn’t just put money in poor people’s pockets, but strengthens families at the same time.