When It Comes To Child Care, Donald Trump Is A Blockhead

In Donald Trump's mind, child care is something he wants for the well-off parents who can afford rooms at his luxury resorts, but not for the people who work so hard to make those families comfortable.
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Donald Trump says it's easy to provide quality, affordable child care.

According to the AP:

The billionaire real estate mogul, who previously voiced his opposition to government-funded universal pre-K programs, said in Newton, Iowa, in November 2015 that he had visited many companies that offered workers on-site child-care centers -- and added that he offered such programs himself.

"You know, it's not expensive for a company to do it. You need one person or two people, and you need some blocks, and you need some swings and some toys," Trump said. "It's not an expensive thing, and I do it all over. And I get great people because of it. Because it's a problem with a lot of other companies."

All you need is some blocks. Maybe some swings and toys--and voila! Problem solved.

Except... as the AP story continued,

Trump went on to describe "a room that's a quarter of the size of this. And they have all sorts of -- you know, it's beautiful -- they have a lot of children there, and we take care of them. And the parent when they leave the job -- usually in my case it's clubs or hotels -- when they leave the job, they pick up their child and their child is totally safe."

"They even come in during the day during lunch to see their child. It really works out well," he said.

But the two programs Trump cited -- "Trump Kids" and "Trumpeteers" -- are programs catering to patrons of Trump's hotels and golf club. They are not for Trump's employees, according to staff at Trump's hotels and clubs across the country.

In Donald Trump's mind, child care is something he wants for the well-off parents who can afford rooms at his luxury resorts, but not for the people who work so hard to make those families comfortable.

"No, there's no child care," said Maria Jaramillo, 36, a housekeeper at Trump International Hotel Las Vegas, where workers have been pushing Trump to sign a union contract.

Jaramillo is a mother of four children who has worked at the hotel for nearly eight years.

"It would make it much more easy to take our kids to day care at work," she said and laughed when told of Trump's comments from Iowa about child care. "If they have child care, at least they should tell us."

Now, Donald Trump wants to give wealthy parents a break in paying for child care not only when they're on vacation at one of his properties, but in their own homes as well. A New York Times story titled, "Inside the Failing Mission to Tame Donald Trump's Tongue" (great headline) took readers through the process by which Trump arrived at his recently announced tax plan.

Before delivering a policy speech in Detroit on Monday, he delegated the formation of an economic plan to a few conservative economists outside his campaign, who consulted him from time to time and ultimately haggled over the details in his office as he followed their conversation.

At one point, Trump finally did offer an idea of his own.

At the last minute, Mr. Trump interjected to direct his advisers to incorporate a tax deduction for the cost of child care in his economic plan. The issue, which Mr. Trump had not discussed on the campaign trail, is a favorite of his daughter Ivanka.

Child care is one of the largest expenses a family can incur. A study from the Economic Policy Institute this year found day care costs more than college in 23 of 50 states.

But the Trump plan gives the wealthiest families big tax deductions for childcare, while leaving little or nothing for the women and their families who need the most help.

According to the Center for American Progress, families of four living at or below the federal poverty line of $24,000 spend 36 percent of their income on child care. Trump's tax deduction gives them nothing because their income is so low they pay low or no income taxes.

It get worse. Moms (and dads) struggling with poverty wages often work 2 or even 3 jobs just to make ends meet -- which only intensifies their need for quality, affordable childcare. Federally subsidized programs can help. But Trump's plan would effectively choke off resources for federal subsidies by giving wealthy families even more tax breaks than they already have.

Hillary Clinton's plan to make child care affordable couldn't be more different. Secretary Clinton wants

  • a system of subsidized child care and refundable tax credit so that families up and down the income scale can benefit, leading to
  • a cap on child care expense at 10 percent of a household's income, and
  • child care facilities in community colleges, because a leading reason for students dropping out is lack of safe, quality child care. (According to the American Association of University Women, more than 4 million women attend community colleges, and more than 1 million are mothers.)

What's more, Hillary Clinton has called for higher pay for child care workers, whose median wages are just $10.31 across the country (nearly a quarter less than what they could make in other jobs) and nearly 15 percent of whom live in poverty. Secretary Clinton supports the Respect And Increased Salaries for Early Childhood Educators, or RAISE initiative, based on pilot programs in several states in order to improve retention and providers' qualifications.

And she proposes doubling federal funding for the "home visiting" program, formally known as the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Initiative, in which nurses or social workers visit low-income parents in their homes during pregnancy and a child's infancy.

Hillary Clinton is a strong supporter of universal pre-K for every 4-year old in the U.S. She knows that this is an urgent necessity, particularly for African American families that are especially hard hit by the twin evils of rising childcare costs and a gender-race wage gap that leaves African American women paid just 64 cents to the dollar paid to white men.

In short, Hillary Clinton has developed broad-based, inclusive solutions for childcare that respond to the lived realities of different families in different communities.

And Donald Trump? Well, what do you expect from a man who feels his masculinity threatened by the very thought of changing a diaper?

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