Opinions

Republican and Democratic stances on child care and parental leave

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Donald Trump’s Child Care Plan

by Andrew Barbin

Donald Trump Gage Skidmore/ Wikimedia Commons

Donald Trump

     As  a Trump supporter, one of the biggest things I love about Trump’s policies is that they are heavily oriented around incentives. From his tax policies to his health care policy to his newly announced child care policy, everything is heavily based on tax deductions, a great incentive for businesses to go the extra mile for their employees and for single payers to get the same tax code benefits as corporations.

     As the title suggests, this is an in-depth take on Donald Trump’s child care policy, which consists of four proposals dealing with the tax code, the creation of a child savings account, incentives for employers to supply child care on site and a plan for maternity leave.

     The first proposal is shaped much like his health care policy in the way that child care expenses are tax-deductible. Essentially how it works is that parents can deduct how much they spent on their children (food, schooling, clothing, etc.) from their taxes. This is capped by the state average cost for child care (likely $1200 per child), is limited to four children and is not available for wealthy families netting over $500,000 per year. This would significantly ease the burden on lower and middle-income working parents and also stay-at-home parents (under Trump’s plan, they are treated equally). Ivanka Trump, co-designer of this plan, created it in order to help mothers (or fathers!) choose their preferred method of caring for their children. She claims, according to her official statement, that there is nothing more important than raising a child, so this plan was created to ease the burden of balancing family and finances.

     The second proposal works similarly to Medicaid and Social Security,  except that it is completely optional and tax-deductible. It is an updated version of the Dependent Care Savings Account, which allows for families to set aside their income to build an account to help aid in fostering their children’s development (child care, after school programs and school tuition).  Not only does this work for children, but it is also available for elderly dependents.  Again, Trump’s plan offers an incentive for employers to provide and pay into DCSA by making it fully tax-deductible (which makes it a no-brainer for the employer to provide this service as a part of their benefits package). Another interesting and progressive part of this plan is that the government will match half of the contribution per year to help lower-income parents.

     The third proposal is still a work in progress, but it is essentially a promise to reform regulations to promote an incentive for employers to supply child care onsite. It promises to create family and community-based solutions for lower-income working parents and minorities.

     The fourth and final proposal is a huge step for the Republican party, as it is a federal mandate that six weeks of paid maternity leave will be guaranteed, which will automatically triple the current average paid leave and will provide maternity leave to blue-collar workers who were never offered the option in the past. Also, maternity leave will be paid through the unemployment insurance that every company is required to provide, which is tax-deductible.

     There are a few more noteworthy items:  the Trump plan recognizes same-sex couples, does not eliminate current child care programs offered by some companies and is a part of Trump’s large scale economic reform.

     In general, this progressive policy is unlike anything we have seen from either party, as it completely takes the burden off  of both families and businesses, particularly from lower and middle-income families. Raising a child shouldn’t be a burden, according to the Trump campaign, so they created a fantastic policy that actually incentivizes having children and provides benefit packages. A paid maternity leave that does not burden the employer (unlike Clinton’s plan) and full financial relief for families (unlike Clinton’s plan) is the future under a Trump presidency. In an America made great again, mothers and children are treated better than ever before.

     Source: DonaldJTrump.com

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Hillary Clinton’s Family Leave Plan

by Gaelan Campbell

Hilary Clinton Zachary Moskow/ Wikimedia Commons

Hilary Clinton

     In a study done by Pew Research Center, among 41 developed countries, the United States was the only country that does not offer paid parental leave of any kind. This is just one problem in which the United States is behind the rest of the world, but it is the one presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has set out to fix with her proposed paid family and medical leave policy.

     It is important to note that the policy put forth on her campaign website is by no means a comprehensive overview of what would actually go into effect during a Clinton presidency. This is not an issue where the president, whoever that turns out to be in January, has a lot of clout. So instead of publishing a piece of pseudo-legislation, the Hillary Clinton campaign website has instead merely laid out its key goals for parental and medical leave policy and explained the methodology behind those goals.

     The policy’s centerpiece is 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave, an improvement on our current system, which only offers unpaid leave under the Family Medical Leave Act. In the modern world, half of all families have both parents working full-time. This policy would provide much needed financial relief to working-class families. One of the features of the policy that sets it apart from her opponent’s is that it covers fathers as well as mothers. Hillary Clinton understands that both fathers and mothers are increasingly sharing child care responsibilities, and her policy reflects this shift in contemporary culture. Children need their parents. Working people have been having children later in life, while some couples are opting out of parenthood entirely. This transformative policy would make having a child easier for young couples out of college and working-class families that rely on hourly wages. On her website, Clinton explains that this plan would aim not to impose extra costs on small business. She would instead fund the paid leave through her tax reform, shifting the tax burden away from the middle class, and onto the very wealthy.

     Now, this family leave plan differs substantially from her opponent’s plan. The Republican candidate’s plan offers only six weeks of paid leave and does not include fathers, which represents a perspective out of touch with what life looks like for modern Americans. It also seeks to pay for itself by closing supposed welfare loopholes and not increasing taxes in any way. I find this to be dubious. Regardless of how you feel about the idea of raising taxes, Hillary Clinton has a tangible way of paying for her family leave policy in her tax code proposals. Her opponent does not.

     Hillary Clinton’s policy proposal follows her campaign’s overall theme of lifting up the middle class and creating an economy that works for everyone. If we want to see change in this country, and we want to get our economy rolling again, this is where it starts. It starts with a newly married couple just out of college. It starts with those new parents getting to see their kids. It starts with giving those kids the care they need and providing them with a solid foundation for their early development. It is for these reasons that I believe Hillary Clinton’s plan for family leave will benefit this country greatly for years to come.

     Sources: DonaldJTrump.com, HillaryClinton.com, irs.gov, Pew Research Center

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