Ethics & Religion
September 15, 2016
Three Trump Ideas
By Mike McManus
In the last week Donald Trump has proposed three ideas that deserve
consideration. First, is school choice. "Millions of poor and
disadvantaged students are trapped in failing schools," he told the
Value Voters Summit of the Family Research Council.
"My goal is to provide every single inner-city child in America...the
freedom to attend the school of their choice." It could be a private
school, a religious school, a charter or magnet school instead of being
forced to attend failing public schools.
"My plan will break the government monopoly and make schools compete to
provide the best services to our children, including every
African-American and Hispanic child in this country."
What's particularly innovative is Trump's proposal that the Federal
Government provide a $20 billion block grant to partially fund school
choice. However, since 90% of education spending is at the state level,
Trump calls on the states to reallocate $110 billion of existing budgets
for school choice programs.
"The money will follow the student to the public, private or religious
school that is best for them and their family," he asserted. He called
school choice a "new civil rights agenda."
In 2002 the Supreme Court affirmed the constitutionality of public
funding for 3,700 low income children to attend private schools in a 5-4
decision. President Bush flew to Cleveland to praise the decision as "a
great victory to parents and students throughout the nation by upholding
the decisions made by local folks here in Cleveland."
One result of that decision is the growth of the "charter school"
movement. There are now nearly 6,000 charter schools compared to 99,000
public schools. However, ten states and many cities have none.
Therefore, Trump's proposal will be of keen interest. The dysfunctional
monopoly in inner city schools continues due to the power of teacher
unions - who fervently support Hillary Clinton.
Two additional Trump proposals are to provide six weeks of paid
maternity leave and expanded tax credits for child care. No other
Republican Presidential nominee ever made a case for either.
"Those in leadership must put themselves in the shoes of the laid-off
factory worker or the mom struggling to afford child care," Trump said
at a rally in the Philadelphia suburbs on Tuesday. "Child care is such a
big problem and we are going to solve that problem."
He argued that affordable child care "should not be the luxury of a
Standing next to him as he spoke was Ivanka Trump, his daughter and a
mother of three who pushed her father to take this stand. In fact, she
introduced him by noting that "Today child care is the single greatest
expense of families - exceeding housing in much of the country." She
also charged that the U.S. is "the only country without paid maternity
Her father asserted, "We need working mothers to be fairly compensated
for their work and to have access to affordable, quality child care for
However, her father erroneously stated, "My opponent has no child care
plan of her own and never will." In fact, Clinton issued her plan for
maternity leave more than a year ago, and it guarantees up to 12 weeks
of paid maternity leave for a new-born - double that of Trump and also
offers leave for a sick relative. And it is financed by higher taxes on
the wealthiest Americans.
By contrast, Trump said his six-week maternity leave would not cost
taxpayers anything because it is supposedly to be paid for by
eliminating fraud in unemployment insurance. That's a pie-in-the-sky
scheme. It suggests that Trump is not making a serious proposal.
Trump was more specific about how his child care plan would enable
parents to deduct the cost of child-care expenses from their income
taxes. He would allow parents to deduct the cost of up to four children
at the average cost of care in that state. Lower income parents who do
not pay taxes would get a child-care rebate of $1,200. Critics noted
that $1,200 would not go far toward the often $10,000 cost to care for
Some conservatives were pleasantly surprised that Trump also proposed
the tax benefit for stay-at-home mothers. Tony Perkins, president of the
Family Research Council, asserted. "It is innovative" to acknowledge
"the contributions of stay-at-home parents."
Long after the election, regardless of who wins, school choice,
maternity benefits and expanded child care will be viable political
Copyright (c) 2016 Michel J. McManus,
President of Marriage Savers and a syndicated columnist. For previous
columns go to
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