Donald Trump tackled an issue that most Republican candidates don’t really broach and that is child care. As I read through his plan it mostly deals with tax deductions and credits which is where I think this discussion primarily belongs in terms of policy.
His plan offers tax deductions for child care costs, as well as, costs for elderly dependents. It extends the earned income credit for lower income families. It would create pre-tax child care savings accounts, and reduce regulations that would allow for more community and family-based solutions for child care.
He states that stay-at-home parents would benefit from the same tax deductions although I’m not exactly certain how that would happen. There are no details on exactly what expenses are deductible so it is hard to see how this benefits families that have one parent who stays home.
In terms of the savings account, I like that idea, but Trump’s plan also includes providing $1000 for low-income families as an incentive to start an account.
How will he pay for that?
His plan also addresses a tax credit for employers who provide on-site child care for their employees. Trump states his plan would increase the cap associated with this tax credit, shorten the recapture period, and devise ways for companies to pool resources in order to make the credit more attractive.
Ok, how is he going to pay for that?
His campaign says it will be offset by additional growth in a detailed tax reform plan he’s going to promote later this week. All right we’ll have to see.
I’d prefer to see it offset by additonal spending cuts rather than the promise of increased economic growth.
Trump then says he wants to guarantee mothers will have six weeks of paid maternity leave. The Family Medical Leave Act already requires employers to allow up to six weeks of unpaid leave. Some employers offer paid maternity leave, most don’t. This is a stance that Republicans typically do not take because mandated maternity leave is seen as a job killer.
Trump wants to provide paid maternity leave through the Unemployment Insurance that employers are required to have.
Trump’s campaign says this will be paid for through program savings by eliminating improper payments (i.e. fraud). Really?
Yes this is a better idea than mandating maternity leave for employers. They say this will only apply when employers don’t provide maternity leave, but what’s to stop some employers from dropping their plan in favor of this? Did Trump forget that Obamacare put some employers into a position that they dropped covering medical insurance?
It’s the unintended consequences that plans like this often miss. Are there some free market approaches that can be considered that also encourages personal responsibility? The discussion is worth having, and some of the ideas are good. Perhaps through that discussion some of these ideas can be improved upon in a way that respectful to the American taxpayer and not hinder job creation should Trump win the presidency.