Give them an inch, and they take the whole mile. That's the thing about socialist, nanny-state, entitlement programs. Once people get used to them, not only are they impossible to stop, but they never seem to be satisfactory enough. The underachieving citizens and bureaucrats that depend on them only want more, more, more. Case in point: the UK has been extending maternity leave since the 1980s, from a few weeks to a few months to an entire year. And now, they've really outdone themselves. Starting in 2011, maternity leave will be available to men.
This is supposed to be a solution to the suddenly stagnant job market for women, given that companies that depend on profits are hardly eager to add an unsustainable number of fertile loins to the payroll. After all, why pay two employees to do the job of one, especially when one won't be making a trip to the office for the next 39 to 52 weeks. On the bright side, it probably discourages office affairs.
I suppose there's nothing like collecting a paycheck to do what you're supposed to do anyway. If we're going to have paid mums, might as well have paid dads, paid husbands, paid wives, and even paid dogs. Why just think of the havoc that could be caused by wild animals roaming the streets? Better lobby the government for a check for keeping a pet. Perhaps you'll be eligible for maternity leave when your cat has kittens.
Give men paid maternity leave and that should end the sexual discrimination in hiring. Or so the thinking goes. Maybe companies will just start hiring gay men or singles who don't want kids. Maybe it will come up on the job application or maybe they'll just interview those clearly past their childbearing years. At this point, it's all insanity. But what politician wants to risk suggesting an entitlement cut and being labeled anti-family? Even though such regulations are killing the economy, which is never good for the family budget.
Anyway, I present to you, in honor of the Emmys, our own season premiere of THE SOCIALIST OFFICE:
WORKER: I don't know if you remember, but I'm a dad now.
BOSS: Yeah, congratulations. How is little Brady?
WORKER: Brodie. And he's great. Almost six months old. So great in fact that my wife is talking about going back to work.
BOSS: Good for her. No need to milk that maternity leave for the full 12 months. It's excessive. It's a burden to the company. It's taking advantage of the situation. It's completely self-absorbed.
WORKER: Actually, that's what I wanted to talk to you about.
WORKER: With her going back to work, someone needs to be with the baby. So I'll be taking my maternity leave now. The full six months allowed by law.
BOSS: Six months? Are you insane? We just signed that new account.
WORKER: Yeah, I know but dividing parenting time equally is Gwyn and mine's number one priority. That and making sure Brodie's diet is completely organic.
BOSS: Is breast milk not completely organic?
WORKER: Usually. It depends on what my wife eats. Anyway, keep my office clean and my desk warm and that paycheck coming for the next 12 weeks. I'll be back to catch up in July.
BOSS: July? We could be bankrupt by then, given this recession.
WORKER: Well, you can't blame me then, can you? God save the Welfare Queen.