What Will Trump’s Child Care Tax Plan Include? The Details Are Scant So Far
After one of the most fraught weeks of his campaign, Republican nominee Donald Trump is scheduled to unveil a new child care tax plan in an economic policy speech in Detroit, Michigan, on Monday morning at 11:30 a.m. local time. What will Trump's child care tax plan include? While his campaign has remained mostly tight lipped about the specific details thus far, the big reveal is that Trump's economic plan would allow Americans to exclude child care from their taxes, meaning that child care expenses would be fully tax deductible.
Trump's economic speech on Monday comes after a near catastrophic week for his campaign, with one unbelievable gaffe after another — from insulting the family of a deceased Muslim-American soldier to accepting a Purple Heart medal in the worst way possible from a supporter at one of his rallies, to dissing then backtracking on his support of key GOP party leaders. While Trump's speech is set to focus on a number of economic issues currently facing the country, the child care tax plan is of particular interest to many, and harkens back to promises his daughter Ivanka made of her father's campaign when she spoke at the Republican National Convention last month in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
In her lengthy introduction at the RNC in July, Ivanka Trump stated that her father is and would continue to be a champion for women's issues if elected president, specifically:
But as the days ticked away after the RNC packed up and left Philly, specifics on exactly how Trump would make child care "affordable and accessible for all" remained scant. In fact, there was no mention of childcare or equal pay — another of Ivanka's policy promises on behalf of her father — anywhere on Trump's campaign website:
Trump "will focus on making quality childcare affordable and accessible for all" -Invanka; his site still no detail pic.twitter.com/FZwOftul2s— David Rothschild (@DavMicRot) July 29, 2016
(It should be noted that since this screenshot was first posted to Twitter on July 28, the entire "Tax Reform" header under his "Positions" section appears to have been removed from the Trump campaign website entirely.)
At the time of Ivanka's speech at the RNC, she painted her father as the kind of family man who really gets the plight of the working mother in America, a man who really understands pocketbook issues of the every day American. It was a surprising characterization, given that his wife Melania does the bulk of the parenting — and the Trumps refuse to use nannies.
On Twitter, Michael Linden, a self-described "budget and econ wonk," shared a succinct run down of everything wrong with Trump's proposed child care tax plan — even before all the specifics have been released:
1. Making child care fully tax deductible is just about the worst possible way to help subsidize the cost of child care.— Michael Linden (@MichaelSLinden) August 8, 2016
2. Roughly a third of households with kids in the bottom 80% have no fed. income tax liability so this policy wouldn't help them at all.— Michael Linden (@MichaelSLinden) August 8, 2016
3. By making child care deductible, you'd be directing larger benefits to richer families than poorer ones. That's the nature of deductions.— Michael Linden (@MichaelSLinden) August 8, 2016
4. For example, a family in the top tax bracket would get a $400 subsidy for every $1,000 paid in child care costs.— Michael Linden (@MichaelSLinden) August 8, 2016
5. Whereas a middle class family in the 15% bracket would get only $150 in savings for the same $1,000 in child care costs.— Michael Linden (@MichaelSLinden) August 8, 2016
6. And of course, it's mostly middle and low-income families who really need help paying for child care, not those in the top tax bracket.— Michael Linden (@MichaelSLinden) August 8, 2016
7. For families paying for child care, making under about $55,000, they spend an avg of about 20% of their monthly income on child care.— Michael Linden (@MichaelSLinden) August 8, 2016
8. For very low income families, that ratio can be as high as 45 percent. A tax deduction for child care doesn't help them one penny.— Michael Linden (@MichaelSLinden) August 8, 2016
9. Child care deductibility also doesn't help families who have liquidity constraints. Child care costs are typically weekly or monthly.— Michael Linden (@MichaelSLinden) August 8, 2016
10. But the benefits of a child care tax deduction, for most people, come once a year. Not much good when you're struggling every week.— Michael Linden (@MichaelSLinden) August 8, 2016
11. If you want to use the tax code to help families pay for child care there are many better ways to do that. Expand and fix the CDCTC.— Michael Linden (@MichaelSLinden) August 8, 2016
12. This is the policy you get when you ask 6 guys named Steve, but no women or people of color, how to help people pay for child care.— Michael Linden (@MichaelSLinden) August 8, 2016
As the election draws closer, Trump's new child care tax plan will be one of many policy speeches voters can expect to see on his campaign trail — as it's time for the GOP presidential candidate to start putting some actual plans behind all his promises.