An Objectivist friendly friend took me to task over Trump’s Child Care plan. The central thesis of the argument is that child care is not a national obligation. It is a personal responsibility. The secondary criticism is that Donald Trump is not merely giving tax cuts, but giving cash to “low income families,” whatever that means. Also he wants to include employer “incentives” which sound close to mandates, to grant child care or dependent care leave. Finally, the “higher pay” and “equal pay for equal work” language is liberal speak for pandering promises of entitlements.
I understand all that.
I have three responses:
- These are *better* options than expanded welfare programs. Reducing taxes is better than promising free stuff, creating new bureaus, and regulating people and businesses.
- This will encourage intact families, instead of breaking up families.
- This gives stay-at-home mothers a reward for staying at home. It mitigates what feminism has done to child-rearing.
Objectivism is an idealist philosophy, but we are a damaged society that is still burdened with the legacy of 100 years of progressive policy. If this aids all families with small children equally, is it not an acceptable compromise?
Update, September 15, 2017:
Ivanka Trump has been pretty quiet on the child care tax credit and paid-leave program since her father was elected President. She has been pushing, but has been met with polite resistance, even from supporters. I have the sense that this “feel good” proposal was mostly a sop to the moderate liberals to get them hop on the Trump train and to keep Ivanka busy. It is obvious that she is just one of many promoting yet another child care program, but she is not empowered to do much more than lobby, and doesn’t carry a suitcase full of 100-dollar bills to make it happen. Her connections to her embattled father, The President Donald, doesn’t seem to get her much more than an audience with a senator or two. Evidently, the $500 billion this plan would cost is not attractive to the Republicans who are looking to rein in the budget, not expand it out even further.
Still, don’t expect this issue or Ivanka to go away any time soon. She is just waiting for the right time to make her move. Like everything else, she is a pawn on the great chess board of American politics.