Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan is taking stick from the Perpetually Aggrieved for negotiating a family-friendly job description despite opposing federal imposition of family leave on employers.
Ryan also is revealing himself to be a hypocrite of the first degree. The congressman has authored several policy and budget proposals that would directly and negatively impact working parents, especially those in lower income brackets.

He's taken direct aim, for instance, at funding for child care subsidies. Given the skyrocketing costs of child care in this country, the subsidies are a vital resource, especially for lower income parents, who can use them to help defray the costs of finding a good place to leave their children while they go off to work — instead of having to rely on family members or potentially unstable arrangements.
Never let logic get in the way of a good vent. Cheap day care is probably unstable or hazardous, and if you think good day care is expensive now, just wait until it's subsidized. But I digress.
Frankly, when it comes to ensuring that we all have the opportunity to balance our work and life choices without having to make significant and often damaging sacrifices, for the vast majority it's no laughing matter. And it's not something about which most folks can currently make any demands without fear of losing everything.
We're all underemployed compared with our great-grandparents. And people have ways of negotiating for less burdensome job descriptions.  In conditioning his acceptance of a thankless job on fewer burdens, Representative Ryan is serving as a role model.
Paul Ryan was asked to take a job he does not want. At all. He is happy with his current job and the family time it affords him. In the current climate of division among the various Republican caucuses, this new job will be thankless and presumably terrible. And, if Ryan has any presidential ambitions, this job is almost always a politician's final resting place (save for the lone exception and everyone's favorite speaker-turned-president, James K. Polk).

But because he knows that House Republicans are desperate, Ryan has made the smart calculation that he can make some demands if he is to consider assuming this new role that he does not want.

This is what a job negotiation looks like between a person who has made himself invaluable and an employer in a bind. Ryan's boss -- in this case, House Republicans -- are free to refuse his requirements and consider another candidate for the job. Or they can decide that his demands are reasonable and that they are willing to meet them.
It's one more margin along which employers can optimize. And the norms of employment can evolve accordingly.  Hint: that's likely to be different from what a federal mandate specifies.

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