Right in DC Podcasts

Rick Manning: Moving Government Out of DC; Why Paid Family Leave Act Will Hurt Women and Businesses


On RIGHT IN DC today, our guest is my dear friend Rick Manning, the President Americans for Limited Government. A long time public affairs professional, Rick served as the Public Affairs Chief of Staff at the U.S. Department of Labor during the George W. Bush Administration, where he was twice recognized by the Secretary for Exceptional Achievement.

Born and raised in southern California (but don’t hold that against him), Rick graduated from the University of Southern California working his way through school running political campaigns. Shortly thereafter, he became a state lobbyist for the National Rifle Association for nine years responsible for the southeastern United States, Maryland and New Jersey. At NRA, Rick worked closely with local groups to pass the groundbreaking concealed carry law in Florida which has subsequently served as a national model.

A veteran of dozens of corporate communications and grassroots campaigns, Manning has emerged as a leading voice in the conservative community with columns appearing in The Hill, Investor’s Business Daily, FoxNews.com and other major publications across the nation. Rick lives in Chesapeake, MD with his wife and he is active in his local church.

On the show, we discuss:

  • The historic North Korean Summit
  • Why it Is summit consistent with President Trump’s view that America needs to focus on America first
  • Is this the right time to go into the negotiations for this summit
  • The Chinese-Vietnamese nexus in previous negotiations
  • His thoughts on the end of the Mueller investigation
  • Connections between the power players in Washington, DC and how much personal relationships prevent trying to limit government
  • Why members of Congress should spend more time in their district than in Washington, DC
  • The value of the idea of moving the Capitol to different places in America every 10 years
  • Why the unelected staff on the Hill are the real power in Congress and how to stop this
  • The reasons government agencies/departments should be moved out of Washington to different areas in America
  • How electronic voting is rife with fraud and the value of face-to-face conversation
  • Should conservatives engage in a the public debate about socialism
  • His in-depth analysis about the Paid Family Leave Act and how it will be disastrous for small businesses and women

MORE

Americans For Limited Government
https://getliberty.org/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LimitGovt

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AmericansForLimitedGovernment/

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TRANSCRIPT

Gayle Trotter

This is Gayle Trotter, host of Right in DC. Today our guest is my dear friend, Richard Manning. Rick Manning is the president of Americans for Limited Government. A longtime public affairs professional, Rick served as the public affairs chief of staff at the U.S. Department of Labor during the George W. Bush administration, where he was twice recognized by the Secretary for exceptional achievement.

Born and raised in Southern California, (but don’t hold that against him), Rick graduated from the University of Southern California working his way through school running political campaigns. He became a state lobbyist for the National Rifle Association for nine years, and he was responsible for the southeastern United States, Maryland, and New Jersey. At the NRA, Rick worked closely with local groups to pass the groundbreaking concealed carry law in Florida which has subsequently served as a national model.

A veteran of dozens of corporate communications and grassroots campaigns, Manning has appeared as a leading voice in the conservative community with columns in The Hill, Investor’s Business Daily, Foxnews.com, and other major publications across the nation. Rick lives in Chesapeake Beach, Maryland, with his wife, and he’s active in his local church.

Rick, thank you so much for joining us today.

Richard Manning

Thanks for having me, Gayle.

GT

This is a big, exciting week, and it’s not because of the Oscars. We have the North Korea summit news. This is something really revolutionary that no other administration has been able to accomplish. Can you tell us where we are right now in regard to the summit, and what we might expect to see?

RM

The President is in Hanoi, of all places, meeting with North Korean Premier Kim Jong-un. What we’re looking at is this is the second meeting. The first meeting resulted in a cessation of rocket testing being done, the elimination of at least one nuclear site in North Korea, and, quite honestly, the ending of the de-militarized zone between North Korea and South Korea, at least the guns pointed at each other part of it. You still don’t just walk across, but it’s a much more collegial environment. It’s really a lessening of tensions on the DMZ between North and South Korea.

This has been a somewhat intractable problem since the end of the Korean War in the early ’50s. Many administrations have given it the kick-the-can-down-the-road attitude and it’s been President Trump who has made a real effort to try to do something, and largely because the North Koreans have become increasingly aggressive in terms of pursuing nuclear weapons and a nuclearized North Korea is a threat to the entire, not only the Asian Pacific region, but at least to the West Coast of the United States and to Hawaii. The President saw a real existential threat. He’s taken the bull by the horns and in the first meeting we got some progress made.

Second meeting, the expectations are that Kim Jong-un will be given an option on this, an option of two different visions of where North Korea will go. Will North Korea continue to be a place of darkness? A place which will be isolated, and, quite honestly, a place where there’s no real place for Kim Jong-un because his expulsion will be demanded by his own generals who fear United States retaliation if the negotiations don’t go forward properly.

GT

Rick, how is this related to President Trump’s idea that America should not be the world’s policeman? We have problems at home, like illegal aliens who are committing crimes, and we don’t seem to be able to staunch that. He’s had this ongoing battle about funding for the border wall and border security with the Congress. How do you see that this North Korean summit is consistent with his view, that he’s articulated this more than probably any other president in recent memory, that America needs to focus on America first? How do you see that this summit is consistent with that philosophy?

RM

When a crazy person is aiming nuclear weapons at you, you have to pay attention to it. That becomes a primary function of the federal government to protect the homeland. I see it very much akin to the illegal alien problem. It’s just a different level.

North Korea, while being far away, you might ask a question why do we have 35,000 troops sitting on the border protecting South Korea from them? The answer for previous generations was: That’s the way it’s always been, and it appears to be the way it’s going to be forever. What President Trump said was: We have a real problem. North Korea is developing nuclear weapons. They are threatening the entire region. They are threatening the shipping lanes that go throughout the Asian Pacific region. They are also threatening Hawaii and shooting with at least medium-range ballistic missiles and trying to develop long-range ballistic missiles.

At that point, North Korea, when they project the capacity to shoot a nuclear weapon at the United States, it becomes an existential threat to our country. It isn’t just blowing up a city, as we kind of think of in 1940s terms, what we’re thinking about is an EMP.

GT

What is an EMP?

RM

Electromagnetic pulse device, which could be exploded in the atmosphere and effectively shut down the power grid and all electrical operations throughout the country, or at least throughout regions of the country, depending on where it was exploded. That kind of attack would have the effect of threatening hundreds of millions of people’s lives, simply because you wouldn’t have food supplies anymore, you wouldn’t have refrigeration, you wouldn’t have automobiles. You wouldn’t have any of the things we take for granted that all run on electricity. As a result, the North Koreans become an extraordinarily important threat, and we cannot allow them to gain that power.

GT

Liberal critics of President Trump have said that he has imperiled our allies and our alliances, not only with European countries, but even these countries in Asia who are threatened by North Korea’s aggression. He is trying to negotiate with China on trade deals. He’s trying to definitely renegotiate things with our Europeans allies in relation to NATO.

Do you think that this is the proper time for President Trump to continue these negotiations with the North Korean leadership, or is he in a position of weakness in going into these negotiations?

RM

Japanese President Abe just nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize.

GT

On that, there are rumors that the White House got the Japanese Minister to do that. Do you put any stock into that?

RM

It doesn’t matter. The fact is the Japanese Prime Minister, if he did not have a great relationship with the President, would not have. That’s the point. What we have here is a president who can walk and chew gum. We don’t have to sit there and have one topic that he’s trying to deal with over a course of two, three weeks, a month. He’s able to do four, five, six big things at once. He trusts his people to set the stage and then he goes and tries to close the deal. Does it always work? No. You can’t separate the North Korea problem from the Chinese problem.

What people don’t realize, or may not remember, is that previous administrations always relied on the Chinese to deal with the North Koreans. That was part of the deal. We’ll rely on the Chinese to deal with the North Koreans and they forgot the simple fact that the Chinese were using the North Koreans as a probing nation to see how far they can get away with, while the Chinese were building a massive military infrastructure at the same time. The Chinese, it’s never been in their interest to deal with the North Koreans. It’s been in their interest to have the North Koreans be the initial provocateurs and then find out how people will react to those provocations.

What they discovered is the provocations by the North Koreans with this president met a stone wall. He said “You continue this and I’m going to turn you to glass,” and the North Koreans said, “We don’t want to be turned to glass.”  He said, “Then you better figure it out.” That’s where these negotiations came from.

What’s important here is the United States is dealing with this negotiation directly, cutting the Chinese out of the process. At the same time, dealing with the Chinese on economic issues that where there’s a lot of imbalance based upon the trade rules that are in place and attempting to re-center the entire relationships throughout Asia in a way that creates a more fair, balanced relationship and also doesn’t put the whole world being threatened by an increasingly volatile military, as well as this North Korean provocateur.

GT

That’s a lot for the president and his administration to bite off. As we were just discussing possible weaknesses that President Trump has going into this negotiation, we have in the backdrop of this the Mueller investigation. There’s a lot of news out that this is going to close soon and perhaps there will be no “there there.” How do you suspect that the Democrats will react to the final conclusions that the Mueller investigation draws? The report, which we may not see, maybe it will get leaked, but certainly not all of it is going to be for public consumption.

RM

The Associated Press had a story out this weekend which laid out the premise that Mueller’s investigation report is effectively sitting out there for all to see based upon the various indictments and prosecutions that he has done and that’s effectively going to be his report.

Quite honestly, that’s what his report ought to be because any report that he produces, which names names and says these people might have done this and might have done that, is really outside the scope of what a prosecutor should do. A prosecutor, if they can’t bring charges, is unethical for them to then make speculation about people and what they could or could not have, might or might not have done. If they have ability to bring charges against those people for doing it, they should bring the charges. If they can’t bring charges, they should shut up because people who get accused in these kind of reports would end up with no venue to defend themselves. They’re permanently found guilty in the public eye with no venue to defend themselves, not even just prove themselves not guilty, but to even defend themselves at all. It’s unethical.

I think one of the critical pieces here is that with the new Attorney General having a very close personal with Bob Mueller, I think Bob Mueller’s independence on this is somewhat been diminished, not because of any pressure by new Attorney General Barr, but because he’s got to submit this report to Attorney General Barr, who’s now his boss. He doesn’t want his boss, who’s his friend, to sit there and say, “What are you doing? You’re violating all of the ethics that we all accepted,” and be rebuked by his own friend. By the way, the Attorney General and Mueller’s wives go to bible study together. They have a very close personal relationship.

GT

I think that’s really interesting because doesn’t that go to the larger issue of the swamp? This podcast is called Right in DC and we talk frequently about the connections between the power players in Washington, D.C. It is hard to live in a community and not be affiliated with the people you live among, even if they’re of different political parties. I think that’s one thing. When you’re talking about actual decisions that are being made, how much do you think these personal relationships in D.C. harm the larger project of limited government versus help the larger project of limited government?

RM

There’s nothing in D.C. that helps limited government. Hopefully, I help limited government, but I make a point of living way outside the city. Apart from you living in D.C., I can’t think of anything else.

Here’s the big challenge, and we all went through the shutdown together, and I’ll make that very clear. I live 35 miles outside of D.C. in a coastal community on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay. I go to church there. That’s where my life is. I knew dozens of people impacted by that shutdown. They were friends, they were people I go to church with. My church ran a fundraising thing to help feed, provide food for people who were affected negatively by the government shutdown.

If you were sitting there and you are a member of Congress or you are a staff member of a member of Congress and you’re pushing for the shutdown to try to get certain things done, what you face is you face the grassroots pressure of everybody who lives on your block are sitting there. They know that you’re the one who’s doing this, your boss is, and they’re sitting there saying, “Hey, wait a second, my son is a contractor. He’s not getting paid.” “My daughter works for the Census Bureau. She’s not getting paid.” You have these enormous pressures because you live in the swamp. As a result, it is everything, everything flows towards giving people raises, because you want to be nice to your neighbors. Increasing the size and scope of government because wouldn’t it be nice if the contracting firm that your buddy works for got a new contract?

All those things flow towards bigger government and very little in the actual stream of consciousness here in D.C. flows towards lesser government, which is why people should be wanting Congress to spend more time back in the districts and less time in D.C. because every moment they’re in the district, they’re talking to you. They’re talking to real people with real concerns. Every moment they’re in Washington, D.C., they’re talking to people whose concerns, completely honest concerns, are built around the bigger government and the focus of government being here in D.C.

GT

I think you raise such an interesting, and little discussed point, that when people discuss the swamp, it can be about corruption, but your point is that it’s not that particular aspect. It is not about corruption. It’s about the natural human instinct to get along with the people that you are in close proximity with to help them. You mentioned that example of you have a buddy who works for a defense contractor or a different contractor, tech contractor, and you would like them to get the benefit of the new business. It’s not talking about bribery or anything illegal or unethical, but it’s just the natural impulse to want to better your community and help those you know. I don’t think that’s discussed often enough.

RM

It’s actually I think the primary reason why Washington, D.C., the single most important thing you could do if you wanted to reform this system. I have had two ideas and I’m not sure either one are going to fly with anybody, but one of the ideas is every ten years, move the capital. Move the capital. It’s a crazy idea. Nobody’s discussed it, just me. This isn’t something anybody’s actively considering. If we every ten years move the capital, at the very least the decision-makers would get out of Washington, D.C. One decade, they might be in New York; in the next decade, they might be in Omaha, and get a different perspective because of the neighbors that are around them. Quite honestly, and this is pretty important, I think it’s really important that Congressmen, the elected representatives, not actually be living in Washington, D.C. and commuting home and being there on occasion. Instead, living in their districts and spending limited time in Washington, D.C. That’s the way it’s supposed to work, and it’s not the way it does work.

But, Gayle, the last point in that is the committee, the staffs, are the power in Congress, both the Congressional staff, the leadership staff, the permanent-committee staffs. That’s where the power in Congress lies and those people aren’t elected, and you don’t know who they are. Most of the time, you and I don’t know who they are. They are the real power behind most of the decisions that are made. As a result, by moving this around, you get a lot more different blood into that staffing system, drawing from different pools, and you would break up that cycle. That’s the first one.

The second one is to move the agencies out of Washington, D.C. Most of the buildings in Washington, D.C., at least in the central part, are either lobbyists or they are agencies like Department of Agriculture, Department of Justice, IRS, all that, are all there, really pressed right between the White House and the Capitol. The second-best thing is to move all those agencies and say, okay, Department of Agriculture, you’re going to be out in Omaha. Maybe the Bureau of Land Management, Department of Interior, you’re going to be out in Montana. We basically shove those agencies out into the places where they’re most likely going to have their constituents. At that juncture, we disperse the power centers and we disperse the bureaucrats so they’re closer to the people they are actually trying to serve. Hopefully in that regard, they’re getting better service for those people, rather than the current Washington, D.C. bureaucratese where everybody is from here in D.C. We all write memos to one another and we really don’t realize that the rest of the country is burning.

GT

There was a really great OpEd on that exact suggestion. You might remember after 9/11, there was a suggestion to move the agencies out for security reasons so that we wouldn’t have everything so centralized in Washington that makes such an easy target. But then also the idea that their lower cost of living, it would actually benefit the government’s budget in order to move some of these agencies to communities that have a much lower cost of living.  D.C. has one of the highest costs of living of the entire country. There’s really no reason that it all has to be located here to the extent that it is.

I have heard from many of my liberal compadres that why don’t we consider electronic voting and electronic communication for the Congress which rose to my mind when you said the idea about moving the capital every ten years, which I have never heard before. I’m going to always credit you with that idea. But certainly, liberals, leftists have talked about why can’t we have electronic voting? Why do they have to be in D.C.? I think it’s kind of the same idea that you’re saying, but in the flip. I feel like the reason they suggest that is they feel like they could control that better and that somehow would work to the Democratic Party’s advantage. What do you think about that idea?

RM

Electronic voting is a great way to have fraud. Let me tell you a story. I used to lobby in Louisiana many, many, many years ago when I was lobbying for the National Rifle Association. There were about six or seven different candidates running for an open Congressional seat at the time. Two of the candidates were members of the House of Delegates down in Louisiana. They had an ethics bill that was up on the floor. One of the candidates snuck over and voted, the other candidate who was not in the room, voted the other candidate against the ethics bill and tried to get away with it, gets caught, big scandal. It’s kind of funny. Guy came in second, by the way.

GT

So close.

RM

So close. Here’s the thing: In an in-person vote people are attempting to cheat through that kind of thing, imagine the temptation of having this electric system where you’re remotely doing, or you don’t know who’s pulling the button, heck, your cat could be voting. You don’t know who’s actually voting, because there’s no accountability from that standpoint. It becomes, in many respects, an extraordinarily insecure system.

I will give you the other challenge. There is great value in terms of trying to get stuff done in Washington, D.C. of people actually talking to one another, actually explaining “Here, I’m going to vote this way because of X, Y, or Z.” If you’re in the kind of Facebook friend mode with people, you don’t really have conversations by and large. You don’t have proximity to have those conversations. That lack of proximity to have conversations makes it so extremely difficult to get to yes on anything.

In our current world, I’m not exactly happy with the ability of the Republicans in the past few years to get anything done, but I do know this: I do know if you’re sitting there and you’re not actually even sure if a person who you’re talking to is pushing their own button, it is a far more difficult task to have a meaningful conversation one on one between members trying to craft the legislation that needs a number of different people’s thoughts and needs. If you’re doing that over conference call, quite honestly, every one of us knows how those conference calls go. Half the people are on mute; half the people are playing Sudoku or doing something else. Nobody’s actually paying attention and you blink in and blink out.

You want real meetings. You want real people face to face, having to confront one another, and have relationships develop and actually be pushed to the limits in order trying to find the right way forward for our country. If we can’t sit down together and do that, if we want to do that electronically, it will all fail.

GT

I assume that’s why they call it a whip, the majority whip, the minority whip? That’s the entire point of why you call them whips.

RM

Yeah, what they physically do, they don’t actually whip people, but they do go in and they say, “Are you going to be with us or are you against us?” There’s a powerful incentive to be with the majority out of a vast majority of things, because, quite honestly, they deliver a lot of the resources to you. But I don’t think that changes much in that environment. I think what changes is the capacity to actually work out differences on hard bills.

I’ll give you an example. Last year or two years ago there was a Puerto Rico bill.  It tried to figure out what to do about how Puerto Rico is bankrupt. What do you do about it? Congress worked through a very, very complicated bill to try to come up with a system for trying to organize Puerto Rico in a way where they can provide the dollars. Remember, Puerto Rico isn’t a U.S. state, but it is a U.S. territory, so we have a responsible to Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico was floundering. They had a lot of problems. We went in and tried to help them fix it. Essentially what we did is we put in a control board that then is making the financial decisions for Puerto Rico while they get back on their feet. Then they had a hurricane which messed it all up.

It’s a very complicated deal. A lot of different people from different perspectives had to be on board. Being able to talk across party lines, across philosophical visions, and to come to a common solution actually worked. They actually accomplished that. I think they came up with a pretty darn good solution that wasn’t a bailout but did in fact start to meet the needs of people of Puerto Rico. Once again, the hurricane disrupted that, but it’s an example of actually legislative success and how legislation should be done.

GT

Speaking of that, there was definitely help given, and we see this over and over again in national emergencies, hurricane strike. There’s definitely a deep sense among Americans that they want to help their neighbors and sometimes the federal government is the way to effectuate that.

We have a huge debate raging in our society right now about socialism, brought to us by, I think, Bernie Sanders’ success in the 2016 Democratic primaries and accentuated by this new Congress representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. There are conservatives who say we shouldn’t engage this, it is pulling the conversation to the left. We are giving these people who adhere to socialism more prominence than they otherwise would have. Which, by the way, reminds me of the argument about Donald Trump, that if CNN hadn’t given him so much free air time that he would not have been as strong in the Republican primaries as he was, but hold that aside for a moment.

I think there’s a very strong argument going on about how to deal with the threat, the intellectual threat, of socialism. I find it really interesting that at the same time we’re having this debate about socialism, our current White House administration is engaged in trying to push this Paid Family Leave Act, which is a government mandate from Washington, D.C. that would affect businesses around the country and limit their flexibility and, I think, would have ill effect, particularly on women, trying to get jobs at different companies, and for women entrepreneurs who have small businesses and a federal mandate from Washington on this paid family leave would harm their ability to direct their resources where they wanted to, where they could help people, if they wanted to and the financial circumstances were right, but with the mandate, they wouldn’t have any flexibility.

Two-part question: Do you think that conservatives should engage the intellectual discussion or argument about socialism? Two, is the Paid Family Leave Act in direct opposition to trying to explain to Americans why socialism is limiting of freedom and opportunity?

RM

First question. It’s a lot of question there. First of all, if we don’t provide America with a moral rationale, a morally certain rationale for capitalism, for free enterprise, for free markets, at least within our own borders, if we don’t provide, not just the outcomes that are overwhelmingly good, but the socialists depend on people focusing on the bad. People focus on the bad. That is the nature of humans.

What we need to do is we have to make a case for capitalism. We have to make the moral case for capitalism that the government taking everybody’s stuff and dividing it up among how they feel it should be divided up is not moral. It is theft. We have to make that case. If we fail to make that case, shame on us. When you get below the surface of the terms, America basically agrees with us that you should be able to keep the product of your own labor. They agree with that. Where America will diverge is when you get in the details of, gee, is $10 million enough a year? Is that enough? Somebody makes over $10 million pay 70 percent of their taxes on their $10 millionth and one dollar? That’s a place where you’re going to have some debate. Overall, we have to win the big-picture debate, and the big-picture debate is whether or not you want a collectivized society, or you want an individual society. I think we win that.

Secondly, we have to engage in it to win it. If we’re afraid to engage in it, we want to just get in the details, at that point, you start arguing the details and you effectively lose, because you haven’t set the philosophical framework.

Having said that, on the Family Medical Leave Act, there’s a lot of proposals out there, but I will tell you I’m extraordinarily uncomfortable with the concept of saying if you happen to have a person who is of age to have children that you’re going to now have a risk factor for your company, for your small business in particular, for your small business that makes it so that that person can go away for 8 to 12 weeks, you have to pay them for those 8 to 12 weeks. Then you don’t have the capacity to get any work out of them so you have to replace that work by somebody else, which doubles your cost. Quite honestly, small businesses can’t afford to do that.

What the net result will be is you hire people who are less likely to use that system. You pay money for an insurance policy against that system which you means you’ve got a regular out-of-pocket expense that you wouldn’t have had otherwise. There’s a have and have-not circumstance here. When Ivanka Trump talks about this, she thinks about big corporations. A lot of big corporations already have effectively paid medical leave for their employees. That’s fine. If people want that, go get a job with a big corporation.

The vast majority of people are hired by small companies, small businesses, and small businesses cannot afford that expense. The reason is the market for the product they provide is not elastic. They can’t just raise the price on their product because you can’t just raise the price of your product to cover the cost of your increased labor cost. What you have to do in that circumstance, is you have to get more productivity out of fewer people. In attempting to get more productivity out of fewer people, some of the things you’re doing to build your company, some of the things you’re doing that don’t fit into direct profitability get washed away. The people who end up getting hurt on that are your lower-performing employees. You’re not going to take risk on lower-performing employees because they can’t fill the void in the event of one of your higher-performing employees leaving.

It will become a disaster for people who are on the lower two tiers on the employment ladder, if you put five tiers on the employment ladder. The lower two tiers, it would be a disaster for them. They will end up paying the price. They are the ones who will be laid off to be replaced by a higher productive employees who can fill the gaps. Quite honestly, if you’re thinking, you’re going to be discriminating, even whether you mean to or not, against, particularly women, who are of child-bearing age because if you don’t, you put your business at risk. Nobody’s putting their business at risk. If you’re looking at two equal employees and one puts your business at risk by virtue of getting pregnant and the other one doesn’t, you’re hiring the one who doesn’t, every single time, and it’s not sexist. It’s just the basic practical decision you have to make and it’s just government doing something they think is good that has enormous negative downside consequences. I think once they start thinking about those consequences, they will shove it back it into the box that it belongs in.

GT

Doesn’t that just mean that Republicans are against babies and women? That’s the criticism you’re going to hear now that this idea is out there. If any principled conservatives come forward to object to it, I think you’re going to hear a lot of that. The Democrats were certainly successful with the war-on-women attack during the 2012 presidential election. Does this not just give the Democrats more ammunition?

RM

Yeah, it certainly does. The fact that the administration, through Ivanka Trump, is pushing it and the fact that a number of Republican senators at least are voicing interest to it, it’s going to be pretty hard if they come up with a piece of legislation that they get the Chamber of Commerce and others to sign off on. It would be pretty hard to create rationality in the debate. Fact is, politics plays a role and we discovered this on the jailbreak bill, which was really bad policy in many ways. Fact is, when you have the president and the democrats in alignment, it became very, very difficult for conservative Republicans to win those arguments.

GT

Some of the proposed fixes for this potential legislation is only applying it to larger companies and to making it available for fathers and mothers. Do you think that that mitigates the risk that young women will be discriminated against when they’re applying for jobs? If the legislation also permits young – well, not young, but fathers of any age to take this benefit too, that that would take away the discriminatory effects against women?

RM

I have seen it as broad as being covering healthcare concerns, covering the need to care for a child. They need to care for a parent in a long-term, sustained level. I have seen it expanded in a lot of different ways. That’s why it’s difficult to talk about it. Every time it’s expanded, the costs of it go up, as more and more people are covered under it.

Effectively, what they’re attempting to do is they are trying to make certain you have to hire five people to do the work. That is essentially what this is designed to do. That trick rarely works. If they allow for, as you stated, men to be part of the parental leave, that would certainly mitigate against the woman argument. However, it would still have the net effect of having an anti-millennial bias. It’s a whole lot easier to hire somebody who is 40 who has a work ethic, than it is to hire somebody who is 20 who doesn’t.

GT

Isn’t this another example of an unfunded mandate from Washington? We hear a lot of Washington efforts that create unfunded mandates for states, but can you imagine if we have a debate in the halls of Congress talking about whether or not the government should pay for this kind of leave instead of putting it on the employers?

RM

I think if the government was paying for this kind of leave, I guess we would have the same fight, but putting it on the employers they’re always more than willing to make it so it’s somebody they shuffle costs off on to other people, and that’s what they are doing here. Unfortunately, many people view the current full employment, almost full employment, situation as being an opportunity to create these mandates.

The irony to that, Gayle, is that if there is a demand for this kind of family medical leave, what you will see is that companies have grown as they’re trying to attract good employees, attract labor in a tight labor market, will be offering more and more benefits on their own as a result of that. They may make a choice between are we going to offer an IRA retirement where we give three percent as a match to a 401(k) or are we going to offer Family Medical Leave knowing we have to put that 3% aside for future people taking advantage of that? By taking advantage, I mean using it, not taking it as a means of being unfair.

The business then will make a decision about what benefits make the most sense. Do we offer a less beneficial health plan? Do we throw people off onto the Obamacare plan while we then fund this FMLA kind of program? Businesses will make decisions based on their own capacity to have cost and they will rob Peter to pay Paul in terms of this system. When they do that, we will find that other things that businesses used to offer, become less and less prevalent, like, for instance, providing matching funds for a 401(k), which some small businesses do provide. That will go by the wayside and instead you will have this other benefit that will take its place because that money will have to be pulled out and be used for something else.

That’s the way it works. Unfortunately, at least in my world, running my little association, I don’t have a fixed amount of money, but I do have a pretty good idea of how much money I can expect to have come in and I know what my cost can be to be able to meet the needs. If I don’t meet the cost, I don’t get paid. I take it pretty seriously when I expand my costs overall. That’s what individual businesses will do, and it will then do cost shifting, and that cost shifting will change what benefits employees get. Quite honestly, a lot of the employees, who currently are benefitting under the current system, won’t be very happy by the shifts that occur naturally with an imposed system from Washington, D.C.

GT

Rick, thank you so much for joining us today. We had a broad discussion, from North Korea, to the Mueller investigation, to the Attorney General, and to the idea of socialism and how conservatives can engage that in the public sphere. If people want to read more about your organization and efforts that you are undertaking, where can they find you?

RM

You can find us on web, www.getliberty.org , or you can go to @LimitGovt on Twitter, or you can look at Americans for Limited Government on Facebook. We’ve got about 130,000 followers. Feel free. We have a daily send out we do. It’s free and you get the latest thoughts on different issues, and a lot of times at the cutting edge, beginning stage of those issues before they become really big deals in the national media. So Getliberty.org is where you sign up. Hope to have some of your listeners join us.

GT

Rick is definitely a D.C. insider without being of D.C. We are so thankful that you joined us today, Rick.

RM

Thank you, Gayle.

GT

This is Gayle Trotter. You can like me on Facebook. You can follow me on Twitter. You can follow me on Instagram. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel. You can subscribe to this podcast, Right in DC, on iTunes and you can leave a review. Most importantly, you can support this podcast on Patreon. We have great new T-shirts as gifts for patrons, courtesy of Hardhits Custom Apparel. We would also like to thank Trio Caliente, a local D.C. group, for the music on our podcasts. This is Right in DC.

 

About the author

Gayle Trotter

Gayle Trotter is a columnist, political analyst and attorney who regularly appears on TV, such as Fox News Channel, contributes to The Hill, The Daily Caller, Townhall and other well-known political websites, and is a frequent guest on radio shows across the country providing an insider’s view of Washington, DC. Read More