Yesterday, Ivanka Trump told Breitbart News that the new child care and maternity leave entitlement she convinced Trump to adopt reflects fresh ideas. “One of the great promises of a Trump presidency is bringing new solutions, fresh perspective to the table in a way that unfortunately we haven’t had the benefit of for a very long time,” said the left-wing daughter of the GOP nominee.
If we are going to adopt the economic entitlement and dependency plan of Bernie Sanders, can we at least not refer to it as new and fresh?
In her acceptance speech at the DNC, Hillary Clinton told the Bernie Sanders supporters, “your cause is our cause.” Little would she know that the triumph of Bernie Sanders and economic Marxism would also be the cause of her opponent.
Forget about the Constitution for a moment, which incontrovertibly grants the federal government no authority to redistribute taxpayer funds for the purpose of creating a child care and maternity entitlement. After all, that document, the signing of which we will celebrate on Friday, is clearly not in vogue anymore within the Republican Party. Either way, by refusing to condemn this plan, whether you plan to vote for the man in a binary choice or not, one accepts every tired, old, failed, and hackneyed premise of the Left as it relates to welfare, entitlements, fiscal responsibility, free markets, and debt.
What we are seeing with this new entitlement plan is the complete destruction of an entire leg of the conservative stool. Trump has made it very clear on a number of occasions that he does not plan to shrink a single program or agency within the federal government, aside from the trite establishment talking point of getting rid of “waste, fraud, and abuse.” This plan is no different. According to the press release, “benefits provided by the Trump child care plan are in addition to the benefits available under current law.”
There you have it, folks. This is not even reform of the existing welfare, it’s the consummation and augmentation of the record high baseline of dependency, spending, and officious government bureaucracy under the Obama administration. If you think Trump has any plans to get rid of Obamacare rather than augment it, I have an immigration plan to sell you in Mexico. Maybe he’ll get rid of the waste!
Nothing embodies the folly of Trump’s plan more than the provision to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit by up to $1,200 per family. The concept of refundable tax credits, earning welfare through the tax code, was originally an idea supported by conservatives like Milton Friedman in order to replace the entire welfare system. And that was back when the welfare state was a fraction of its current size. The idea was that funneling the welfare through a tax return of a worker would guarantee that recipients are actually working. In addition, it would cut out the bureaucracy that administers welfare programs.
However, supporters of the EITC warned that adding refundable tax credits aka the “negative income tax” on top of the “ragbag” of welfare programs would make the dependency and fraud even worse. And that is exactly what happened. As welfare programs grew to record levels, so did the refundable tax credits. In 2013, a total of 28.8 million tax filers claimed the EITC, at a cost of $68.1 billion. As late as the first years of the Bush presidency the cost was only about $25 billion.
Far from cutting down on waste and fraud, the EITC is one of the most abused programs in the federal government. According to a Treasury Inspector General’s report, there were up to $15.6 billion in erroneous EITC payments in 2013, accounting for almost one quarter of the program’s cost. Ironically, Trump wants to pay for this plan by rooting out waste and fraud in unemployment benefits, but he is expanding the federal government’s most wasteful program. Has anyone asked what the debt will look like under a Trump presidency and the consequences on interest payments, especially when coupled with some of his other fiscal plans?
Oh, and as an aside, Trump made sure to mention that child care benefits would go to “same-sex couples” as well, thereby consummating the de-civilization agenda of the Left about raising families without a family. No word yet on whether two men would be entitled to maternity benefits. Oops, there goes the second leg of the conservative stool.
“But Hillary is worse…!”
Yes, I know. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t engage in some cognitive dissonance. There’s one thing to vote for Trump in a binary choice, as CR’s Mark Levin has suggested. There is quite another to begin championing his liberal policies like so many of his supporters are doing. The same way conservatives should have never acceded to McCain’s immigration plan just because he was that party’s nominee or Bush’s federalization of education, so too must refuse to acquiesce to Trump’s Bernie Sanders-style fiscal policies.
Here is a good rule of thumb: don’t champion any policy you would have vigorously opposed and ridiculed 12 months ago.
Conservatives do themselves no favors by selling out their views and cheering Trump’s liberal policies, while assuming that some of the conservative advisors around him will clean up the mess. That will destroy any leverage we have to talk him off the ledge.
There is nobody closer to Trump than his daughter. If you think some of the conservative advisors have more clout than Ivanka, you are not paying attention. She is to The Donald what Huma is to Hillary. If he was willing to adopt this plan at her behest, there is a lot more where that came from. And it’s as old and stale as Bernie Sanders.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.