On Wednesday night, Donald Trump did something that sounded downright progressive.
At an event outside of Philadelphia, he proposed a national child care plan under which child care expenses would be tax deductible and all US mothers would get six weeks of paid maternity leave.
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Trump said this is something his daughter Ivanka, herself a new mother, has been begging him to do for a long time.
This is pretty blatant attempt to win over women voters, and critics have been quick to point out that Trump’s plan has a bunch of problems, not the least of which is the fact that its tax credits wouldn’t actually help the people who need child care help the most.
As Simon Maloy, points out over at Salon: “[T]he centerpiece of [Trump’s] plan is a provision letting parents deduct the costs of child care from their taxes. The problem is that people who need the most help affording child care — poor and low-income families — frequently don’t have any federal income tax burden. If they’re already paying zero dollars in federal income tax, an extra deduction won’t do them any good; they’ll still be paying zero dollars.”
There’s also a problem of funding.Trump plans to pay for his six week maternity leave plan by ending unemployment fraud. Now, if that sounds like a Republican gimmick, that’s because it is a Republican gimmick.
What estimates that we do have about the extent of unemployment say it costs the government about $3 billion every year, which sounds like a lot but is pennies in the big scheme of things and hardly enough to pay for a new benefit program that would supposedly cover all US moms.
Just out of comparison, Hillary Clinton’s child care plan, which would offer 12 weeks of paid family leave for new moms and dads, costs about $300 billion.
So yeah, Trump is totally full of it if he thinks ending unemployment fraud is going to be the basis for an effective maternity leave plan.
But anyways even with all these problems, Trump’s plan is still a big deal, if only because it’s being proposed by a Republican nominee for president and because it’s way more than the government currently offers new mothers (zero).
The Republican establishment knows this, and they’re freaking out. For example, during an appearance on Fox “so-called” News Wednesday, arch-neocon Charles Krauthammer accused Trump of trying to “out-Democrat the Democrats.”
Trump has put forward a very, very barebones child care plan that has very real holes in it and would really only help wealthier families, and Republicans can’t even handle that. Even the hint of a new social program to help someone, ANYONE, other than fossil fuel barons has them in a tizzy.
And remember, this is supposedly the party of ideas!
That’s what Paul Ryan has been saying ever since he took over the Speaker’s job from John Boehner.
But the Republican Party doesn’t have any ideas.
It’s still the same-old neo-feudal billionaire cartel it’s always been and it cares about one thing and one thing alone: preserving the power and wealth of the 1 percent at all costs.
Its reaction to Donald Trump’s child care plan makes that as obvious as ever.