Trump’s child care proposals: Who Benefits

Trump’s child care proposals: Who Benefits

Donald Trump on Tuesday outlined three child care proposals to alleviate the financial burden on parents.

His campaign offered more details on a child care tax deduction he’d proposed in August, and introduced two new ideas that he now backs: partially paid maternity leave and the creation of a tax-advantaged, dependent care savings account.

Advocates for paid family leave have welcomed all discussion of the issue by candidates. But they’re not wowed by Trump’s ideas.

Tax and budget experts, meanwhile, have their share of concerns about how the proposals would work, how much the plans would really cost and who’d benefit most.

Here’s a breakdown of what we know about Trump’s plan so far:

New mothers would be guaranteed six weeks of partially paid leave.

Women whose employers don’t offer paid maternity leave could collect six weeks of unemployment benefits when they have a child.

“It’s great to see candidates addressing the need for paid leave,” said Ellen Bravo, executive director of FamilyValues@Work. But, she noted, it’s not just women who are parents of new children. Fathers need time as well.

The campaign estimates the program would cost about $2.5 billion a year, but said it would pay for that by ridding the unemployment insurance system of fraud, which it valued at $3.4 billion.

Economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who runs the right-leaning think tank American Action Forum, worries that this kind of proposal invites employers to drop their paid maternity leave policies and “stick it to the taxpayer.”

If he’s right, that would drive up the cost of the proposal.

Also, stamping out fraud and abuse can be a difficult, even costly process that doesn’t always yield as much as hoped.

The campaign characterized its proposal as only a safety net for women to recover. Companies that want to compete should not “take advantage of the UI system. … We believe that a full family leave program should come from employers in their benefits package as they compete for workers,” a Trump aide said.

Holtz-Eakin, who has advocated for unemployment insurance reform, also said the maternity leave benefit would change the program’s mission but do nothing to improve its performance.

Trump’s aide noted “we’d look for new ways to run the program more efficiently.”

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