While conservative stalwarts shuddered at the idea of yet more government intervention into families, Family Research Council's political action group is raving about Donald and Ivanka Trump's child care proposal introduced this week. From Thursday's daily newsletter, FRC Action writes:
Trump and Tax Cuts: Made for Each Mother
The two presidential candidates may not be separated by much in the polls, but they're miles apart when it comes to most policy issues. Yesterday, the Trump campaign unveiled a pro-family revamp to the tax code that goes beyond any policy initiative that we've seen in years. At a meeting outside Philadelphia last night, Donald Trump proved that he understands the challenges of moms with young children by unveiling a proposal that will give families the flexibility they need to care for their own kids.
Spurred on by daughter Ivanka, a successful businesswoman in her own right, Trump set out to show that he has a lot more to offer than the competition in relieving at least some of the burdens parents shoulder in providing for their children. Believe it or not, Ivanka points out in a thoughtful op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, almost two-thirds of moms with kids under the age of six are working outside the home. "And the majority of these women," she explains, "work in low-paying jobs without flexibility or benefits."
Her dad aims to change all of that, as he rolls out a new tax proposal that doesn't just help moms who work outside the home but their stay-at-home counterparts. For years, liberals have implied through that moms who sacrifice and care for their kids themselves are somehow less valuable than moms who work for pay. Donald Trump's plan raises an important point: Why does the tax code have to take sides at all? Why not give parents the ability to decide what's best for their own family? Government doesn't know best — and it certainly doesn't do best when it comes to children. As far as the Trumps are concerned, the child care system is "too expensive, too outdated, and too inaccessible."
Fleshing out some ideas that he's mentioned along the trail, the GOP nominee would rewrite the tax code, giving parents the chance to deduct child-care costs for as many as four kids "up to an amount equal to the average cost of care in their states." Right now, the IRS caps the $3,000 per child tax credit at two children. Based on this new metric, a lot of families would be able to fully deduct the cost of child care from their taxes. Other business expenses are tax deductible, Ivanka argues. Why isn't child care?
The plan would also create a new Dependent Care Savings Account (DCSA), so that families can set aside money to help with everything from medical expenses to education. Those accounts are available through some employers now, but a Trump presidency would ensure that everyone has access whether their company offered it or not. In a big change from the current system, Trump's proposal also lets elderly parents take advantage of the accounts and — much to families' delight — rolls over the funds into the next year if they aren't used (unlike the current use-it-or-lose-it approach).
But for all of these improvements, the most encouraging part of the proposal may be the part no one is talking about! In a subtle, but significant, nod to pro-lifers, the campaign isn't just opening up these DCSAs to born children — but unborn children. That means moms and dads-to-be can use the money for baby-proofing the house, buying diapers and car seats, or whatever expenses crop up before their new addition comes home. It's a small but powerful reminder that every child matters.
And that's not all. The plan calls for six weeks of fully-funded maternity leave (without raising taxes on Americans to pay for it) and incentivizes employers to open their own child care facilities on site. The Obama economy and Clinton agenda have made it very difficult for parents, both for their finances and their ability to start and raise a family. In a world where nations like Italy are so desperate to raise the birth rate that they're sponsoring "Fertility Day," restructuring the tax code is the least America can do to encourage parents to have — and afford — the kids they want. Flanked by congresswomen who understand the challenges better than anyone, Trump reminded people that the family is the single greatest engine for economic growth. Allowing parents to keep more of what they earn to provide for their kids makes immediate and long-term sense. "This is a family issue," Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) told a cheering audience. "We know men always want more money. What do women want? More time… And we are thrilled," she went on, "to finally have a president of the United States who is going to put focus on working with women to make certain that you can achieve your American dream." The idea is as simple as it is effective: Empower families to thrive, and America will thrive.
What about the mothers who want to stay home with their children and raise them. They sacrifice the second paycheck they could contribute to the familie’s earnings in order to do that. This plan will financially benefit women who are getting a paycheck. I read this: “doesn’t just help moms who work outside the home but their stay-at-home counterparts. For years, liberals have implied through that moms who sacrifice and care for their kids themselves are somehow less valuable than moms who work for pay.” But it doesn’t say how stay-at-home moms will benefit financially.
It looks like Mr Trump’s proposals on child care will put a lot more money back into the pockets of the middle class than the current credits which are not refundable and do little for those who qualify for the highest percentage. However, many of those may have a state subsidy in place as well. For many families with multiple children, this will be the difference of thousands of dollars each year. I believe this is going to have a positive impact on the economy as the taxpayers who are saving are likely to spend the majority of it in one form or another.