Ivanka Trump Meets With Congress to Pretend That Her Father Cares About Children

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Bloomberg reports on Ivanka Trump’s first foray into policymaking:

Members of the House and Senate met with the president’s eldest daughter in the Roosevelt Room at the White House last week to discuss her proposed child care tax benefit, according to a person with knowledge of the meeting….It’s not clear whether Ivanka Trump is finding much appetite on Capitol Hill for her proposal. A deduction for child care expenses is both costly and regressive because it would favor wealthier families with two working parents. The deduction would cost the federal government $500 billion in revenue over a decade, according to an estimate by the Tax Foundation, a politically conservative, nonprofit research group.

Let’s see. It would cost $500 billion and fund a touchy-feely welfare program. On the bright side, it would benefit wealthy families more than the poor. Decisions, decisions….

As for the regressiveness, here’s a quick stylized example for a plan that allows, say, a deduction of up to $5,000 for child care expenses:

  • Income of $500,000, tax bracket = 39.6 percent, total value of deduction = $1,980
  • Income of $70,000, tax bracket = 15 percent, total value of deduction = $750
  • Income of $25,000, tax bracket doesn’t matter because you’re not paying any income taxes, total value of deduction = $0.

Everybody in the world with even a passing knowledge of tax policy is well aware of all this. Tax deductions are next to useless for the working and middle classes. That’s why anyone who actually wants to help the non-rich proposes tax credits with a fairly low income cap.

In other words, this is typical Trump. Launch Ivanka onto Capitol Hill with a high-profile proposal and get plenty of good PR for it. But the proposal itself does little for the working class, and Congress won’t pass it anyway. I think I should start keeping a list of Trump proposals that fit this model.

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