Ivanka Trump’s promised childcare plan will help no one and go nowhere
You might remember that back in July at the Republican National Convention, Ivanka Trump went out on stage and made the stunning announcement that, if elected president, her father would “make childcare affordable and accessible to all,” to which the conservative audience replied, “Come again what’s that now?” Now Dad is president, and Ivanka (who has no official role at the White House) is trying to move forward with his (her) plan, and it is not going well (it will never see the light of day.)
Last week, Ivanka, whose current job title is “First Daughter,” met with members of the House and Senate and put forth a plan that would not only be inadequate to families who need the most help but would also cost so much money that Republicans will put Elizabeth Warren’s face on the half-dollar before they approve it.
The proposed plan would cost as much as $5 billion (yes, that’s billion with a “b”) over the next ten years, which is a super idea because if there’s one thing Republicans love, it’s spending tons of money on government programs. They are also not known for making the needs of low-income women and children a priority, which Ivanka took care of because her childcare plan would actually provide the most benefit to wealthier, two-income families.
As the great Vince Lombardi once said:
We don’t know, Vince. Nobody knows.
The plan would give individuals earning less than $250,000 a year and couples earning less than $500,000 a year a tax deduction for childcare expenses. This would certainly be a relief to all those people making a half-million dollars a year who worry about how they’ll afford childcare. Do you have any idea how many boats have had to be sold in order to pay for full-time nannies? It’s a disgrace.
But what about all those people who make so little money that they don’t pay taxes? Basically, what we have here is a Catch-22: you can’t get the tax deduction without making the money, and you can’t make the money unless you have affordable childcare through the tax deduction.
Lower-income families are not entirely left out of the plan, however: families that don’t pay taxes would get a childcare rebate that would go toward a larger earned income tax credit. Exactly what the heck that means is explained in an article on Glamour.com, which says that, based on the policy presented by the President in September, “the amount a low-income family would receive through the tax credit would max out at $1,200, [however,] the average estimated cost of child care totals $6,600 annually.”
$6,600-$1,200=$5,400=Still a butt-ton of money.
All of that said, let’s give credit where credit is due. Ivanka has a lot of influence over her father and, bless her, she is using it to try to improve the lives of women in this country. As Sheila Marcelo, the founder of Care.com who attended a dinner with Ivanka last month to discuss women’s empowerment, told Bloomberg, “Ivanka is really pushing that none of [the president’s tax plan] gets passed unless it includes the child care tax plan.”
Kick ass. That’s some solid work. The problem here is that while Ivanka appears to have her heart in the right place, she really shouldn’t be the one in charge of this and the fact that she is shows a lack of seriousness toward the issue on the president’s part. It is clear that what Trump has done is make affordable childcare a pet project for his favorite daughter (sorry, Tiffany.) And now she has proposed a plan that not only favors wealthy families who don’t need government help to pay for childcare but will also never get approved by lawmakers.
To propose a childcare plan that “actually doesn’t help make child care affordable for the vast majority of working families,” as Marcelo puts it, is an insult to the people who really need it. We appreciate the fact that there is a woman the president listens to who openly supports a woman’s right to affordable childcare, but she is fighting a losing battle with an administration that a) doesn’t really care and b) won’t give her the help she needs to put forth a plan that does what it should and has a chance of succeeding.