Trump Unveils Great Childcare Plan For People Who Can Already Afford Childcare
Are you a rich parent swanning around town with a $1500 Bugaboo stroller? Do you have a nanny to feed your children organic gold-plated chia and kale porridge? Well then! Donald Trump, a person who cares very much about children, has some good news for you! With his great new childcare plan, you will be able to fully deduct the costs of those things from your income tax each April! Nice!
You see, right now, parents can only deduct $6000 worth of childcare costs from their income tax -- but Donald Trump's plan to help people with the cost of childcare is to lift that restriction and make all childcare costs fully deductible so that parents can get a refund on all the money they spend taking care of their kids. You know, as long as they pay an income tax to begin with!
"We're going to help working parents by making childcare payments fully tax deductible. That's new policy."
With this plan, the more you spend on childcare, the more you get back. So if you are a rich person who already has enough to spend on childcare, you get way more money than someone who actually needs money to help take care of their children. It's basically welfare for the rich.
You know who doesn't benefit from this? Working families. Poor and lower middle class people! People who don't pay an income tax to begin with. About 35% of the country, actually! What do they get with this plan, while the rich get their Government Bugaboos?
And it's not even just super-poors who get bupkis; middle-income families get a third of the benefit that rich folks do! Here is a good splainer for that, if you aren't allergic to Twitter.
Even if, somehow, this were to be a thing lower-income families could participate in? It wouldn't actually be that helpful. First of all, because it would come in a lump sum once a year, which isn't all that helpful when you are living paycheck to paycheck. It's really hard to say "OH, ok, well, we can spend this amount and we'll get it back in several months!" when you need literally all of the money you make. Second, because it would involve knowing what you can deduct, keeping receipts for those things, and having the ability to hire a tax person who can figure out all that stuff for you! Which involves a certain level of knowledge about these matters that a lot of people don't have. Do you know allllllllll the stuff you're supposed to be deducting? I sure don't!
Not to mention the fact that poor people rely on government services paid for by tax money more than the rich do, so all that money rich parents will be refunded for the silver spoons they put in their kids mouths will probably not be too helpful to them!
The other part of this plan is to eliminate the estate tax, which Trump and his friends call "the death tax" in order to make poor people think it will affect them as well, when actually it will not. Only people with lots and lots of money (ie: estates) have to pay taxes on the money they pass down to their kids when they die. The end result of eliminating the estate tax is that, eventually, the vast majority of wealth in this country will be held by wealthy heirs who did literally nothing to earn it, and will probably never have to do anything in their lives except just keep on being rich. Which, yeah, is just great for working families.
The thing is, Donald Trump and his economic advisory team of white rich dudes named Steve have literally no idea about what sort of childcare programs would help poor people, because they have literally no idea about how poor people live. It would not occur to them that something like this would only benefit people who can already afford to take care of their children, because they have no idea what it is like to not be able to take care of their children. When you live in a bubble like that, you assume everyone's life is like your life and your friend's lives. We all do it to some extent, but I'd like to think that most of us know we are should not be put in charge of things we cannot possibly understand.
Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse