The Trump Plan Will Help ̶W̶o̶r̶k̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶M̶o̶t̶h̶e̶r̶s̶ Rich People
My father wants to ̶e̶m̶p̶o̶w̶e̶r̶ ̶w̶o̶r̶k̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶s̶t̶a̶y̶-̶a̶t̶-̶h̶o̶m̶e̶ ̶p̶a̶r̶e̶n̶t̶s̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶g̶i̶v̶e̶ ̶f̶a̶m̶i̶l̶i̶e̶s̶ ̶f̶r̶e̶e̶d̶o̶m̶ ̶o̶f̶ ̶c̶h̶o̶i̶c̶e̶ ̶i̶n̶ ̶c̶h̶i̶l̶d̶ ̶c̶a̶r̶e̶. win an election by pandering to women with a plan that won’t help most of them anyway.
By: IVANKA TRUMP
For me, motherhood is a gift and a tremendous source of joy. Yet it’s also the greatest predictor of wage inequality in our country. In 2014, single women without children earned 94 cents on a man’s dollar. Married mothers made only 81 cents.
So is fatherhood. But fathers are left out of Trump’s paid leave plan. On the Howard Stern show, Trump said that men who change diapers are “acting like the wife.”
We, ̶a̶l̶l̶ except my dad, agree that women should have equal pay for equal work, but that’s not enough. The lack of quality, affordable child care is one of the biggest challenges facing American parents.
True, but Donald Trump has previously dismissed child care needs saying “it’s a big subject, darling,” when asked about it on the campaign trail, along with suggesting you merely need “some swings and some toys.”
The current federal policies created to benefit families were written more than 65 years ago when dual-income families were not the norm. Today, however, in about two-thirds of married couples, both spouses work.
In addition, 70% of mothers with children under 18 work outside the home; so do 64% of moms with kids under age 6. The number of households led by single mothers has doubled in the past three decades, and the majority of these women work in low-paying jobs without flexibility or benefits.
While she’s on message, she’s co-opting the argument Democrats like Hillary Clinton have been using for decades to make the case for a larger investment in early childhood programs, and sadly low-wage working women wouldn’t benefit from her father’s plan.
My father, in his campaign for president, has proposed a plan to bring federal policies in line with the needs of ̶t̶o̶d̶a̶y̶’̶s̶ ̶w̶o̶r̶k̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶p̶a̶r̶e̶n̶t̶s̶.̶ me and my children.
Part one is a rewrite of the tax code, allowing working parents to deduct from their income taxes child care expenses for up to four children, as well as for elderly dependents. This will be capped at the average cost of child care in each family’s state, and the wealthiest individuals will not be eligible for the deduction. The benefit is structured to ensure that ̶w̶o̶r̶k̶i̶n̶g̶-̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶m̶i̶d̶d̶l̶e̶-̶c̶l̶a̶s̶s̶ my wealthy friends and their families see the largest reductions in their taxable incomes.
This is a regressive proposal designed to funnel more resources to wealthy families like the Trumps. A tax deduction inherently benefits the richest Americans. For every $100 spent on child care, a wealthy family receives about $40 from a tax deduction, while a middle income family receives about $15. Trump is using smoke and mirrors and banking on how confusing our tax system is.
To bring ̶m̶e̶a̶n̶i̶n̶g̶f̶u̶l̶ no to very little assistance to lower-income Americans who don’t pay income tax, the Trump plan will offer rebates on child-care spending through the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
This so-called $1,200 rebate pales in comparison to the $10,000-$20,000 that working parents can expect to pay annually at a child care center. This is even less than the $5,000 child care subsidy that low-income families qualify for today but cannot access because the program is under-resourced. And many low-income families do not have $1,200 in savings that they can use to pay for child care and then wait for their tax return up to a year later.
In a nation where almost two-thirds of mothers with children under age six are employed, child care is an undisputed work-related expense. In business, other such expenditures are tax-deductible. This single reform under the Trump plan will effectively increase the take-home pay for tens of millions of American parents.
Except it won’t because Trump’s plan fails to make child care affordable. If a family cannot afford child care, a tax deduction is irrelevant — a family can’t deduct something that they can’t pay for to begin with.
And what if one parent staying home to raise the children is the best option for a family? This is the praiseworthy choice of many, yet there’s zero value or recognition by our government for this hard and meaningful work. Under my father’s proposal, stay-at-home parents will receive the same tax deduction as their working peers.
A stay-at-home parent might be a great option for many families, but the reality is that most cannot afford that choice. But as Ivanka noted, the overwhelming majority of women with young children work and their families depend on their income — mothers are the primary breadwinners or co-breadwinners in nearly 2/3 of American households with children.
The plan’s second part is the establishment of Dependent Care Savings Accounts, created to aid families who can already afford child care and to save for emergencies, in setting aside extra money to foster their children’s development and offset elder care for adult dependents.
This is essentially a tax shelter for wealthy individuals, who could put up to $2,000 each year into such accounts tax free.
These accounts will operate like Health Savings Accounts, with tax-deductible contributions and tax-free appreciation year to year. When established for a minor, funds from a Dependent Care Savings Account can be applied to traditional child care, after-school enrichment programs and school tuition.
Also nannies, private tutors, horseback riding lessons — things that benefit families like Ivanka’s, but leaves out millions of Americans.
To help lower-income parents, the government will match half of the first $1,000 deposited each year. Balances in a Dependent Care Savings Account will roll over from year to year so that a substantial amount of money can be accrued over time.
This is clearly a benefit for the wealthiest individuals. Most low-income people don’t have thousands of dollars laying around to put in a tax shelter: 46 percent of Americans don’t have $400 to cover an emergency.
When established for an elderly dependent, a Dependent Care Savings Account can cover services like in-home nursing and long-term care. The ability to set aside funds will be particularly helpful to women, low-income workers and minorities, who are statistically more likely to reduce time working outside the home in order to provide unpaid care.
The third part of the plan will address the federal regulations that currently discourage informal child-care — such as a mom watching her own kids and a few others in her home. Arrangements such as these are not now given fair consideration by our federal bureaucracy, which is biased in favor of institutional care. We need to create a dynamic marketplace to offer solutions and give parents greater freedom of choice.
Government standards for child care are minimal when compared to other industries and neutral toward home-based and center-based care. They are needed to protect children in child care and ensure they are safe. Children have died in unregulated child care.
Consider parents who work part-time, on a night shift or on call. The standard model of institutional care doesn’t serve these workers: How many day-care centers are open at night? It takes even less account of parents who live in low-income and rural communities.
The fourth part of my father’s plan will add incentives for employers to provide child care at the workplace. Breakdowns in child-care networks cause employee absences that cost U.S. businesses billions each year. On-site child-care centers help resolve avoidable employee absenteeism, in addition to saving time and helping companies retain valued staff.
Despite claiming to offer child care to his employees, Trump actually provides it for his hotel guests.
Finally, under the Trump plan, the federal government will guarantee, for the first time, six weeks of paid maternity leave. This will be done by amending the existing unemployment insurance that companies are required to carry. The enhancement will triple the average paid leave that new mothers receive, and it will do so without raising taxes.
By only focusing paid leave to birth mothers, Trump’s leaves out millions of caregivers who need paid leave, and risks incentivizing discrimination against working women. “Amending” ie raiding unemployment insurance funds — which are already stretched to the limit to pay for the policy, which states could simply refuse to adopt. It's also not clear what Ivanka is trying to say re "tripling paid leave" - the average number of days of leave (paid and unpaid) women take after having a child is closer to 8 weeks. The median number of days of paid leave women take after the birth of a child is in between 7 and 8 weeks.And while the policy wouldn’t raise taxes, cutting unemployment benefits would have a negative impact on vulnerable families — and could costs us a lot more, as an economy in the long term.
At the heart of this policy is the belief that every parent should have the freedom to make the best decisions for his or her family. My father is prepared to chart a new course that promotes strong families and celebrates their individual needs; one that honors, respects and empowers both working and stay-at-home mothers and caregivers. Together, we will take a stand and enable ̶t̶h̶e̶ American ̶f̶a̶m̶i̶l̶y̶ families who are already well-off, like mine, and the modern workforce to thrive.
Then why doesn’t Trump offer paid maternity leave at his hotels? But this policy only applies to birth mothers, meaning that fathers, adoptive parents, and other caregivers would not have access to the paid leave they need to make the best decisions for their family, or to care for sick family members. By “new course” she means promoting traditional gender roles and runs the risk of discrimination against women of childbearing age. And a modern workforce requires policies that enable parents and caregivers of all genders to manage demands from work and family. Trump’s child care plan simply does not and his “paid leave” plan risks incentivizing discrimination against working women, and puts vulnerable workers further at risk by slashing unemployment insurance.
Ms. Trump is executive vice president of the Trump Organization and CEO of the Ivanka Trump Collection.
*This op-ed ran in the Wall Street Journal on September 13, 2016 at 5:46 p.m. ET