As the country honors their male role models on Father’s Day, it’s worth asking if the current president, who is the father of five, is good for dads.
On Policies For Working Fathers
As a candidate, Trump proposed six weeks of paid leave for birth mothers whose employers didn’t offer a benefit. As president, Trump’s proposed budget extends the benefit to cover all gender birth and adoptive parents, which is an improvement over the original.
However, as Fast Company has reported, just offering a benefit doesn’t guarantee that people will use it. Or that the culture–which starts at the top– will support dads taking time off work. In the case of taking time off to care for a child, a leader’s stance can signal their acceptance or denial of the need for such a policy. Just look at the message sent by Mark Zuckerberg when he took full advantage of Facebook’s paid leave, as compared to Marissa Mayer, who went back to the office post haste (no working from home at Yahoo), even though the company’s policy allowed for 16 weeks of paid time off.
The childcare plan proposed by the administration, however, doesn’t offer dads much in the way of relief.
As one of the largest expenses families face, childcare costs continue to contribute to wage inequality. Recent research from the EPI found that while costs vary by state, it ranges between $344 to $1,472 a month to care for one preschool child. On top of that, a recent Department of Agriculture report estimates the cost of raising a child at $233,610 for married, middle-income parents. The cost of childcare is the third largest part of that expense and can be as much as 30% of a parent’s annual income.
According to the Tax Policy Center, families making less than $40,000 will get a tax credit of $20 or less. “Those with incomes over $3.7 million would receive an average tax cut of nearly $1.1 million, over 14% of after-tax income,” the report’s authors write.
We’ve reported that the astronomical cost of childcare is forcing some women to quit their jobs rather than pay for nannies or daycare (since women typically earn less). But it’s also unfair to put the burden of earning solely on one person.
On Setting An Example
Studies have proven that the people best equipped to promote gender and racial equality at work are white men. Is there a more well-known, wealthy white guy with a larger soapbox than Donald Trump?
It starts at home and moves into the workplace. I might never have had the education and career I have without my father’s guidance and mentorship. My dad’s belief that I could do anything I wanted and that I should be paid equally to do it, made me look at a career as a given, not something that I didn’t have a right to.
We have seen Trump give his daughter Ivanka full credit for her work on the initial child care and paid parental leave plan. She, in turn, has staunchly defended his position on gender equality by pointing first to her position in the Trump Organization and now as his advisor in the White House.
However, a recent photo of Trump taken during the signing of several executive orders suggests otherwise. In it, he’s putting his signature to one that removes U.S. funding to any overseas organization that offers abortions, even if the organization provides those specific services with their own funds. He’s surrounded by men, including Ivanka’s husband, Jared Kushner. Such a publicized moment illustrates that Trump’s not as invested in equal representation of women as his daughter might say. Not a great example for the men of this country.
If Trump truly believed in equality and acted on it, it wouldn’t just benefit women and underrepresented minorities. It would be good for men–especially Trump. His proposed budget relies on 3% economic growth, yet is likely to only produce 1.9% as it stands, according to former Office of Management and Budget Director Jim Nussle. Closing the gender wage gap could add trillions to the economy, but at the current rate, it’s going to take more than 40 years to get there.
Trump’s even in a position to change welfare. Right now, only 14% of American workers have access to paid leave. But parents who took leave report lower levels of public assistance in the year following their child’s birth, than those who didn’t, according to a study from Rutgers.
Trump stands to make an enormous impact on these policies if he puts legislative muscle behind them, and by extension, the American workers he’s vowed to support. If he really wants to make America great again, Trump needs to think of the women (and men) of this country and work towards equality.