MAYBE WE NEED...

MAYBE WE NEED A DRAFT. Props to TNR's editors for calling bullshit on "The Mommy Wars." Whatever pitched warfare is raging between mothers who choose to stay home and raise their children and those who decide to work is a minor skirmish, important only because it distracts attention from the real fight -- the one being quietly waged against middle-income families where both parents must work. This is where Republicans show that business profits trump all family values. Bill Clinton's accomplishment, the Family and Medical Leave Act, allows a mere 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the birth of a child or the wreckage of illness. It, too, barely benefits the poor, who often can't afford three months without paychecks. Stronger bills exist, notably from Lynn Woolsey and Steny Hoyer, but they're ignored by the Republican majority, trapped in committee and barred from the floor. And so those mothers -- and fathers, for that matter -- who lack the luxury of choosing their employment status lack any serious protection or compensation for concentrating on the families Republicans claims to value so much. This is the real "Mommy war," and in it, the mommies are losing.

--Ezra Klein

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